HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is not just the elderly and those with medical conditions who suffer from the highly contagious delta variant of COVID; Healthy, younger people are also being impacted.
Doctors have been telling the State for weeks that they are seeing more and more younger patients in their hospitals.
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Oahu resident John Lane went to Mexico and Las Vegas with his friends in early August. He said he tested negative for COVID four times before coming home to Hawaii but came down with symptoms a few days later.
“I ended up having so much breathing difficulty that I went to the emergency room at Pali Momi,” he said.
“The scary part was as soon as I got to my room, they assigned an infectious disease specialist to me, a COVID specialist doctor, and he was monitoring my oxygen levels and my breathing, all my test results, they took blood and all these things; and right off the bat, [the doctor] just straight up, he’s like, ‘I might have got you too late, I don’t know, if you’re going to make it,’ he’s like, ‘you have a fight, it’s kind of on you.’”
Lane said he was shocked to hear that and started having a panic attack.
The 43-year-old thought about the life insurance policy he took out a month earlier for his young two kids and how he tested in the 99 percentile for being healthy.
“I was just shocked that this thing could hit me like that,” Lane said.
For weeks he was in the ICU. At one point it got so bad he asked if he could go on a ventilator.
“It’s really exhausting, it kind of feels like you’re drowning a bit, so at some point, I was like ‘hey doc, you might have to put me on his ventilator because I don’t think I can keep doing this, I’m exhausted, fighting for breath like this,’ and he said, ‘we can do that, and you’ll live through tonight if we put you on the ventilator, but I don’t know, I can’t guarantee you’ll live past that,” Lane recalled.
Lane said the doctor told him it was a big risk going on a ventilator and did not recommend it unless he felt like he could not fight anymore.
“I was not vaccinated, I was holding off, because there’s so much information out there,” Lane said. “And, it’s tough for a normal person or business guy, not in the medical field to know what’s accurate and what’s not accurate and who to believe, so I was just kind of holding back,” Lane said.
He said he was not anti-vaccine, but also was not in a rush to get it and said he was waiting on FDA approval.
“I feel lucky,” he said. “There were about 20 people on my floor, which was the COVID floor at Pali Momi and when I was there, I know there were about three or four people that didn’t make it.”
He said he will get the vaccine once his doctor gives him the okay.
“He recommends I get vaccinated about a week or two after my follow up, and one reason why I’m going to do it, too, is because when I needed help when I got sick, and I couldn’t breathe, and, I needed help; I had to go seek professionals, that’s why I went to the hospital and once you’re there, and in their care, they’re honestly very, very sick of non-vaccinated people, like they’re at a point where they don’t really want to help you,” Lane said of the tired nurses. “They’re exhausted, they’re tired, and they’ve been dealing with this for a year and a half or two years.”
“This really humbled me a lot and I realized that this infectious disease doctor, this is what he does for a living and studies, and you know, whatever he says I’m just going to do it,” Lane said.
A 29-year-old Oahu woman did not get as sick as Lane, but broke out into hives and rashes after contracting the virus.
Doorae Shin does not drink, smoke and she is an active, healthy vegan. She believed COVIDonly impacted people with underlying issues or the elderly.
“I’m 29, I eat organic, I’m vegan, I exercise every day, I’m happy, you know, I’m just a very healthy person,” she said.
Her boyfriend returned from a trip to Connecticut. They believe he caught the virus on the airplane because they came down with symptoms the same day.
“Pretty much every single day was a new symptom for me it was like leg soreness, chills, headache, and then experience kind of these really bad hives,” she explained.
Her fever got up to 103.
“It’s terrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone,” she said. “I could barely get up, barely eat food, I felt nauseous.”
“I think admitting that I was wrong is was an important journey for me to say ‘yeah, I was totally wrong about how healthy I was and how safe I thought I was,’” she said.
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“You’re definitely not immune to getting really sick, she said. “And I just think getting vaccinated is a really important tool we have and it’s something that I wish I had done, and maybe I can encourage others to do it.”