BRAWLEY — Imperial Irrigation District Director Jim Hanks was in Fresno when he experienced a shooting pain in what he called the floating rib area on his right side. After that he was only bothered by it if he bent over or moved in a certain manner. On returning to the Valley an x-ray revealed a collapsed lung.
That was when he got a text from his cousin, Mike Franks, asking how everything was going.
“Cleo (a family name for Hanks) said he was going stir crazy staying at home because of the pandemic. He told me about his collapsed lung and about getting it inflated again,” Franks said. “We talked about family and he mentioned his son and grandchildren had COVID-19, but the kids were completely asymptomatic, and his son recovered quickly.”
Soon after, Hanks fell ill and was tested for the virus. As he waited for results, he continued to deteriorate. By Friday, with or without test results he knew he was infected and took himself to the hospital.
“The symptoms were too strong to be anything else,” Hanks said.
He spent the night in the hospital and Saturday morning the emergency room doctor informed him they were sending him to the temporary hospital at Imperial Valley College.
“I might have been really sick, but I’m a fighter. I said that was not a temporary hospital, but a temporary morgue. I refused to go,” Hanks said. The hospital was sending him home with a prescription for Amoxicillin — an antibiotic.
He called his cousin and told him what was going on.
“So, I get a call from Cleo that he is in the hospital’s emergency room,” Franks said, “and he has been diagnosed with coronavirus and was refusing treatment at the tent at IVC. He asked about Dr. Fareed because he had heard of his successful program, plus the doctor had treated his late wife and had been so caring and helpful.”
Franks called Dr. Fareed, asking for his help. Franks, too, heard about Fareed’s successful track record with COVID-19, plus the two had been good friends for years. He relayed what happened with his cousin and what the staff had done.
“I’ve known Dr. Fareed for a long time. I have never seen him angry. Listening to my tale about my cousin, he was getting very angry. Fareed answered me saying, ‘We have to get better control. They shouldn’t be doing that. I’m getting right on it.’”
Soon a conference call between Hanks, Fareed, and Franks occurred with Fareed asking for blood oxygen levels. Dr. Fareed called in a prescription and Hanks’ daughter picked it up. She became his primary caregiver, staying at the Brawley Inn to keep from taking the virus back to her family in Calipatria.
Hanks, who is in his mid-seventies with a collapsed lung and other medical issues, was a compromised patient. He said he knew he had to keep his fever down, which hit 104 degrees at its highest. He kept Tylenol on his nightstand, taking it regularly and keeping his house cooler than normal. His oxygen level at its lowest was 88.
Fareed called him three times a day, checking on his progress, making sure his numbers were improving. After five days on Fareed’s hydroxychloroquine cocktail with recovery happening slowly but surely, the doctor added a nebulizer several times a day.
Franks said he eventually got a call from Fareed. He told him his cousin was much better and on the way to recovery. His oxygen level was up where it should be.
"For a while I couldn’t get out of bed without falling," Hanks said. "Now I am sturdy, I can get into the kitchen and the shower. I’m still on oxygen and I still have the collapsed lung.”
Hanks said, “People in the US don’t have to die because others hate the President. I can’t say enough about Fareed. I am living proof his protocol works, and I took it late. In prescribing the medications, Dr. Fareed explained precisely how they would affect me and when I should start feeling better. He was spot on, including oxygen levels and body temperature."
Hanks commented that the week's dose of the prescribed medicine cost him $37.