Health

Resident shares story of unknown sickness

After numerous attempts, he was unable to be tested for COVID-19.

Adam Hill, 30, was out shopping with his wife and daughter, when “this 12- or 13-year-old kid walked right past us and dry coughed without covering, and I felt the air on my hand from it,” he told BenitoLink. The family went to the restroom and washed up immediately.

Hill, who lives in Hollister, knew the dangers of the coronavirus. His wife is a registered nurse working at a quarantine unit for COVID-19 patients (he requested that BenitoLink not disclose his wife’s name or place of work). She goes through a strict routine of cleanliness throughout her workday and her family follows suit. Social distancing and constant washing were and are still part of their daily routine.

A few days after the shopping trip, Hill said his three-year-old daughter fell ill on March 11.

“She had a fever, cough, sore throat,” he said, sharing his thoughts in a Facebook post. “So we self-isolated her and kept her home.” Hill’s wife picked up the bug on March 13, and on March 14, Hill woke up with a sore throat.

“On Tuesday evening I finally began to get hit hard by this virus and two days later I am still in rough shape with a fever, head congestion, aches and pains, runny nose and a pounding head.”

Hill said he suspected he had the virus right away, but didn’t expect the sickness to be so severe.

“I have been wanting to find out if this illness is in fact the coronavirus, because I want to inform co-workers, family members and anyone else that we may have had contact with,” he said. “I have not been able to get the answer.”

Hill’s employer told him to see a doctor and get tested, but Hill found it is not quite that easy.

“I had done plenty of research through the Hazel Hawkins website, a local news article about Hazel Hawkins coronavirus testing and the CDC website,” said Hill. “They are all saying the exact same thing: that they will not test unless you meet the criteria to be hospitalized.”

Hill drove to Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital anyway. He called from the emergency room parking lot and staff asked him a few questions such as his age, if he had been out of the country recently, and if he had any underlying medical conditions.

He gave his answers, and the hospital gave theirs: Hill did not meet the standard for testing.

“I explained that my wife is working at the quarantine unit at a hospital in direct contact with coronavirus-positive patients,” Hill said. “I had some hope that I might be tested because of the connection to the virus, but in short, the answer was ‘no.’”

Hill did not give up. “I even tried to get a doctor to get me a referral to the Stanford drive-thru testing, but none of the doctors in San Benito County within my ‘in-network’ medical insurance is accepting new patients,” he said.

Hill was sent home and told to self-isolate and treat it like the flu, with fluids and Tylenol for fever.

“They will not test unless you meet the criteria to be hospitalized because they do not have enough supplies and tests to test non-critical patients, especially younger than 60 years old.”

Though frustrated at being turned away, Hill said he still supports the hospital, nurses and doctors fighting COVID-19.

“I honestly believe it is out of their control right now, so there is nothing that I hold against them for not testing me, says Hill. “It does bother me about all the reporting numbers we are seeing on the news networks because people who have the symptoms are being told to go home and treat it like the flu, and we might never know if I had the virus or not. That is concerning to me because it makes me wonder how many other people have symptoms and cannot get tested.”

For every one person who is confirmed with the virus, there are 50 who do not know they have it, according to Harvard Medical School.

Hill said he still does not know if he has the coronavirus.

“I do know that this is way way worse than any flu I have ever gotten,” he said, “and it is also a long recovery process. My daughter, who was at her worst last week, still has a cough. My wife is still recovering slowly. This is taking us beyond a week to come back from.”

Hill had this to share regarding the shelter-in-place order and self-isolation.

“Wash your hands, clean heavily touched objects often, and assume everyone has the coronavirus,” he said. “Protect senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions. They are trusting you to help keep them healthy and if you are not helping, you are hurting. Self-isolate, wash your hands often, and assume everyone who isn’t showing symptoms is asymptomatic. Think about your grandparents, the seniors in your family. We all need to be selfless here.”

 

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Robert Eliason

I’ve been a freelance photographer since my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. My dad taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.   I have had gallery showings and done commercial work but photojournalism is a wonderful challenge in storytelling.   The editors at BenitoLink have encouraged me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  It is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community.