Originally published April 7, 2020
Three weeks after first falling so ill that I knew I became another statistic, I finally have the strength and clarity of mind to contribute an article to the Queens Jewish Link. My experience with coronavirus will go down as a minor one, as I, thankfully, did not require hospitalization or assistance in breathing. However, I share my story because those who are afraid to get the disease should know someone who had it, and those who have it should know there is an end in sight.
On Sunday, March 15, I began to feel lightheaded and had a slight cough. Had there been no global pandemic, I would have thought nothing of it, but I immediately feared the worst. Unfortunately, my fears were confirmed when I awoke on Monday morning with a 103.5-degree fever. I immediately quarantined myself from the rest of my family in a spare bedroom, and had the good fortune of a wife who was well enough to care for me and our three children.
I called the New York Department of Health hotline, which was just set up, and they were already overwhelmed. It took them ten hours to get back to me with a testing time and location, which was the next day. (I was told that at this point it takes days to even get a testing appointment). I was too weak to drive, so my wife packed our three children into the car (with my mouth and nose covered) and we all went to Jones Beach, where the National Guard set up a drive-through testing facility so people wouldn’t have to leave their cars. It was reminiscent of a movie where aliens land on earth and they have to ensure that everyone who enters and leaves the Restricted Area doesn’t have space radiation. We were flabbergasted by what was going on in our country. It took them nine days to inform me that I was positive for the virus.
After the test (which felt like they were trying to grab a piece of your brain through your nose), I went back into quarantine, where I was slowly losing my mind. Isolation is a terrible thing, as everyone is finding out during these trying times. It was especially hard because I had to lock my door to keep my small children out, who only wanted to see their father. I realize that I was extremely fortunate. I have parents in the neighborhood who brought food, a wife who was strong enough to care for everyone, and a spare bedroom to isolate in. Others who have coronavirus are not as lucky.
I felt better by Thursday, March 19, which was my birthday. I decided to join my family for a birthday cake that my wife made for me. It was at that moment that I realized that I lost my sense of taste and smell. I couldn’t taste any food for days, but I was so delirious I didn’t even think about it. I couldn’t stand being apart from my family over Shabbos, and I felt I was over the worst of it, so I decided to rejoin everyone for Friday night. That was a tremendous mistake.
When I got out of bed on Shabbos morning (March 21), I collapsed. Thankfully, I did not lose consciousness, but I was so weak that I couldn’t even drag myself back to the spare bedroom. I spent the day in a fever dream, barely remembering what was happening in my house. When my wife came to check on me, it took me a moment to recognize her. That night, I was strong enough to go back into isolation, where I stayed for five days. I was delirious, feverish, and withering away. I lost over ten pounds in as many days, and some days I couldn’t leave bed.
It is now a week and a half later, and I feel back to myself, mostly. I still don’t have my senses of taste and smell, and every so often I have a coughing fit. However, I am able to take care of my children, which is good, because now my wife is ill. I’ll never be able to care for them the way she could, but each day is a little easier than the day before.
Now, as a political analyst, I have been attempting to pay some attention to the news while I was sick, with a futile hope that during these unprecedented times there can be some unity. California Governor Gavin Newsom, affirming that this pandemic is an opportunity to bring about a “progressive era,” is disheartening. Senator Chuck Schumer sniping at President Trump, saying there is a “federal leadership void” while obviously ignoring the steps that the federal government has taken, and Trump firing back, is demoralizing. Countless news outlets blaming President Trump because an Arizona man died from drinking fish tank cleaner, because he thought it would prevent him from getting COVID-19, left me wondering if there’s a single honest outlet that can convey a positive message at this time.
The problem is that the country is shut down, and the only way to bring it back is by working together. I have not been outside my property in over three weeks, and the hopelessness and despair still managed to penetrate my walls. People need to take a moment and not allow their blind hatred of the current Administration to prevent them from being part of the solution. There are legitimate criticisms of the Trump administration, specifically a lot of the rhetoric coming from Trump himself, but now is not the time to score political points. Tens of thousands, if not more, are going through “mild” cases of coronavirus just as I did, and they deserve for everyone to put aside their hatred for each other for a few weeks and attempt to unite the country for the first time in a long time.
Moshe Hill is a political analyst who has written for The Daily Wire, the Queens Jewish Link, The Jewish Link of New Jersey and JNS.org. He is regularly featured on ‘The Josh M Show’ podcast. Subscribe to aHillwithaview.com for more content from Moshe Hill. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/ahillwithaview and follow him on Twitter @TheMoHill.