Curve slopes down for BC couple
Last updated 4/14/2020 at Noon
Photo: Phillip and Janice Todora of Bridge City have been quarantined and are recovering at their home since late March after learning they both tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
RECORD PHOTO: Dave Rogers
For The Record
Phillip Todora, the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Bridge City, has made no secret of his identity.
âThirty minutes after my doctor called me with the test results, my daughterâs boss told her she had to go home because somebody who lived on her street had COVID-19.
âThatâs how she found out. How did the people at her job find out? This is Bridge City.â
Todora said basically the same thing on Facebook shortly after he shared the news with his family.
âRight after my daughter was sent home, my neighbor called and asked, âIs it true?ââ
But in the Todora household, that was the just the first shoe to drop.
His wife, Janice, found out the next day she had tested positive.
And Phillip jokes he got COVID-19 from his wife.
The couple was smiling Easter Sunday, confident they are about to be moved over to the ârecoveredâ column on the countyâs daily release of statistics.
âWeâre just waiting on the procedure for the release,â Phillip Todora said by telephone. âIâm trying to shake off this nagging cough, but sheâs doing fine.â
But husband and wife arenât the half of it in the Todora household.
The couple has three adult children who live with them. They, too, have had to be quarantined since Phillip got his test results from Dr. Calvin Parker March 30.
Orange County confirmed its 47th case of COVID-19 Tuesday evening, with 13 each listed in the Orange area and Vidor. A total of 362 people in the county have been tested with results still pending from 100 of those tests.
âWeâre quarantined until weâre released,â Todora said of he and his wife. âAnd once the last one of us is released, the kids have to quarantine for 14 more days.â
Itâs been a rough few weeks for the family, but they seem to have made the best of it, according to Phillipâs social media feed.
Friends are always checking in on the longtime residents. Phillip finds the funniest things to post. And the youngsters even threw a Facetime Bingo game for Janice, joining in from their corners of the house.
But it hasnât always been laughs.
Phillip, in his early 60s with a history of health problems (heart attack in 2010, COPD despite never having smoked, high blood pressure and diabetes), was initially diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung and bronchitis in his left lung back in Marchâs last full week, he said.
He was given a Zithromax Z-pack to fight infection in his lungs and a shot of antibiotics and sent home.
A week or so later, while working from home for his socially distancing company.
âI thought I was having another heart attack,â he recalled. âAs the day wore on, it seemed like the world was getting dark.
âIt was like somebody threw a weighted cloak on me, like an elephant was standing on my chest on top of a bed of nails.
After a steroids injection and a half-day at the hospital, he was released.
Thatâs the first time, Phillip Todora went to the hospital.
It was at that time Janice Todora thought she was suffering with the flu.
âShe experienced coughing and nausea,â Phillip said. âShe was tested for the flu initially. When it came back negative, Dr. Palmer sent her to Legacy in Beaumont.â
The best he can figure, his wife was tested at Legacy for COVID-19 a day before he was tested at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.
âThey sent her test to the West Coast and mine was sent to the Northeast the next day,â Phillip said. âMy test came back in two days. Her took four.
âThose two confirmed cases that are showing up in Bridge City, thatâs her and me.â
While Phillip Todora was tested and confirmed to have COVID-19 in late March, his problems didnât stop there.
He said three days after receiving his test results, he landed back in the hospital, this time staying overnight.
âI was feeling real bad. Dr. Palmer said, âYou need to go into the hospital.â That time, they were waiting on me.â
At the hospital, he was administered hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug boosted by President Donald Trump.
Todora says his wife âhad a persistent cough for a week or so. Then it went away. She kind of shook off all the symptoms.â
The couple are required to fill out a chart twice a day recording their temperature and any coughing, aching or fatigue.
âWhen Dr. Palmer called me up and told me I tested positive, that kind of rocked my world,â Phillip Todora said.
âBut everythingâs been good. Iâve had a lot of positive support.â