At 69, Morris Hires has overcome many obstacles in his life, including some health issues. A cancer survivor who is diabetic, Morris has high blood pressure and survived a severe bout with COVID-19. Morris credits the team at WellMed at 9th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, Florida, not just for improving his health, but for his life in general.
“They came through for me. I was having a real rough time. The place I was living in had a lot of issues, and the people I lived with weren’t clean,” Morris said, referring to the boarding house he lived in a few years ago.
It was while living there that Morris got COVID-19, which put him in the hospital.
“We were really worried about him,” social worker Alison Kimball said. “He was in a coma for basically a month.”
After his release from the hospital, Morris found a better place to live and received in-home physical therapy to help him recover. He sees his doctor, Valdeline Muehl, MD, about two times a month so she can keep an eye on him.
Morris was referred to WellMed by his Medicare Advantage insurance company in 2018 and has never looked back. Dr. Muehl, has successfully worked with Morris to get his blood pressure and A1C, or blood sugar, levels under control. The clinic also calls Morris regularly.
“Liz makes it her business to call me once a week to check on me,” Morris said, referring to clinic health care manager Elizabeth Jones. “They make sure I’m staying focused.”
Muehl also referred Morris to Alison, who works out of the clinic to provide patients support and resources.
“Morris is very goal oriented, positive and focused,” Alison said. “But he needed help.”
Alison walked Morris through the steps to apply for more benefits and addressed his housing situation. Though he lost his first housing voucher when he got COVID, he eventually found a place recommended by someone he met while in rehab.
Now Morris is doing so well, he has started taking classes at Post University, where he is studying for a degree in management and accounting. He received his associate’s degree from Independence University before the COVID pandemic shut it down.
He turns 70 soon, but isn’t slowing down. Not only does he plan to open a bookkeeping business after he gets his degree; he also wants to help out kids growing up in the neighborhood he grew up in.
“I want to make a place where the younger kids don’t have to worry about getting shot or bullied,” he said. “I can show them an example of my life and what I’ve been through. With God’s help I can do that.”
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