Lt. Col. Eli Adams, wife, children continue to recover after battling ‘one nasty bug’
An Engineer Soldier and his family stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, are on the mend as they continue to recover from COVID-19.
Lt. Col. Eli Adams, the branch chief for Infrastructure and Engineering in the US European Command J4 Logistics Directorate there, shared his story with the GUIDON shortly after his family ended their period of isolation a few days ago.
“Everyone in my family is feeling much better,” Adams said, noting, “Personally, I feel that it’ll be a few weeks before I’m 100 percent again.”
As an Engineer Soldier, Adams is very familiar with Fort Leonard Wood, having completed the Officer Basic Course here in 2002, the Captains Career Course in 2009 and the Pre-Command Course in January.
Adams’ coronavirus story began March 19, when he got a call from his doctor confirming that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He had been feeling sick for four days before that, fighting a fever, cough, a sore neck, some nausea and lightheadedness. Once the diagnosis had been confirmed, he and his family, including his wife, Jana, and three daughters, including a 6-month-old, were quarantined for the next 14 days.
“It’s an understatement, I know, but this is not just another cold or flu,” Adams said when asked to describe the symptoms of COVID-19. He noted that the day of his diagnosis, he became increasingly short of breath.
“(I was) very dizzy — almost like altitude sickness,” he said. “I had no problems drawing breath but felt like I was not getting enough oxygen. My eyes and sinus also began to feel sore.”
Adams said he kept his health clinic Liaison phone number handy for a couple of days because he worried he might need hospitalization.
“Fortunately, after another day of resting and drinking water, the sensation of altitude sickness passed. At eight or nine days after my initial fever, I felt my symptoms were pretty manageable.”
‘One nasty bug’
In the weeks prior to Adams’ diagnosis, he said he had “been as alarmed as anyone” watching the pandemic unfold through news reports. But it wasn’t until his symptoms appeared when Adams learned that a co-worker had also tested positive, which gave him a first-hand example of how contagious the virus could be. “I could not have appreciated just how important all the restrictions (had) become,” he said. “I considered that my exposure was relatively light. I had been washing my hands, too. So, I can attest this virus is one nasty bug!”
It also proved to be contagious at home, as well. Although he “immediately started practicing social distancing from my family” once symptoms appeared, within a few days, his wife and children exhibited similar symptoms.
Fortunately, Adams said, within another few days the entire family began to recover, something he attributes to his wife’s efforts.
“All in all, I’m incredibly thankful,” he said. “First, my wife, Jana, has been awesome. She continued to take care of a 6-month-old, two school-age kids and one laid-out, sick husband even when she got sick herself. Despite being alarmed by what’s going on, my daughters have remained resilient, too.”
“We know it could have been a lot worse,” he added.
Military training helped
COVID-19 has affected almost everyone in some way. But according to Adams, being a service member, and more importantly, being part of a military family, helped his family weather the crisis.
“I’ve come to appreciate two things,” he said. “First, having been through a few deployments, numerous PCS moves and other challenges, my family has grown together in resilience, adaptability and patience. We know times can get tough, but we also know we can take measures to cope and support one another.”
Adams has also been inspired by the messages of hope and words of encouragement from family and friends while he and his family were under quarantine, including a call from a post chaplain and what he calls “a true act of kindness” from a friend who delivered food to the family.
“Everyone has really pulled together and there’s been no shortage of help,” he said. “I imagine a few neighbors might’ve been alarmed at the sight of one of our friends driving up to our house and dropping off a large dish of lasagna at our doorstep while wearing surgical gloves.”
‘Take safety measures seriously’
Adams said if he had only one piece of advice he could give, it would be, “Take the safety measures seriously.”
“COVID-19 is very contagious,” he said. “Though I distanced myself in my own house at the first signs, it was probably too late by then to avoid passing the virus to my family. The virus also affects everyone differently. We know healthy, athletic individuals who contracted the virus and were hospitalized for difficulty breathing. At the same time, two of my kids bounced back fairly quickly and one child barely got a runny nose. We also know people who tested positive for the virus and displayed no obvious symptoms. While asymptomatic individuals might not be at risk personally, it’s hard to say how others might be affected. So, everyone has to be mindful of the impacts that their actions have on others.”
Life after COVID-19
Although no longer in quarantine, like most Americans right now, Adams and his family still have restrictions on where they can go in Stuttgart but can leave the house for essential items and for physical fitness, which they recently enjoyed.
“Having spent two weeks in the house, my family went for some exercise and hiked in the nearby woods,” he said. “It was a sunny day, and we enjoyed spotting deer, seeing other members of the community — at a distance — and taking pictures.”
Ultimately, Adams is grateful to all those medical professionals on the front lines and said he hopes everyone will continue to do their part in the fight against COVID-19.
“Our thoughts are prayers go out to everyone at this difficult time, including the health care workers, those with lost loved ones, those requiring intensive care, and those losing their jobs, too,” he said. “We are aware that the worst is yet to come for many communities. No one can deny it’ll take time to recover. Fortunately, after witnessing many acts of selflessness, I’m optimistic that our nation will come out of this crisis stronger and better prepared for future crises.”