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Survival Story: Longtime professor at UH Downtown has near death COVID-19 experience

HOUSTON – There was a time where professor Hank Roubicek wasn’t sure if he would survive his battle against the coronavirus.

The longtime educator and communication professor at the University of Houston-Downtown became ill on March 13. Three days later, he was rushed to Houston Methodist Hospital.

“I had lost 20 pounds, I had a fever of 103 and I couldn’t stop coughing," Roubicek said.

He said he could barely breathe and was almost put on a ventilator.

"I closed my eyes and I saw a flickering of blue lights and people who I didn’t know but yet I knew them. I don’t if that was a near-death experience but it was frightening,” Roubicek said.

Eventually, he was prescribed an anti-Malaria drug called Hydroxychloroquine.

“I don’t know if it helped or not the virus dissipated after a while but I’d like to think that it did help," Roubicek said.

After several days, he was cleared to go back home to his wife who was also diagnosed with the coronavirus.

“It was relatively mild, she was quarantined for three weeks and then she was able to venture out,” Roubicek said.

Roubicek said it’s been 8 weeks since he first became sick and he is now just starting to feel like himself. He is still under quarantine but has resumed virtually teaching his storytelling and radio production classes. Roubicek said he is hopeful his story serves as a cautionary tale to those not taking the virus seriously.

He believes social distancing is still needed and doesn’t think it Texas is ready to reopen.

“I respect our governor and all leaders of the world but he’s wrong. There is no other way to phrase it, he’s wrong,” Roubicek said. “We cannot get out there and live a life like we did a few months ago.”