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Last Updated

09 Nov 2002

Source: The Winchester Star (Virginia), November 9, 2002.

Anthrax Victim Back in Hospital

Hose Suffering From Pneumonia

By Dan Telvock, The Winchester Star

The Winchester man who contracted anthrax last year is back in the hospital.

David Hose (case 20), 60, is in critical but stable condition with pneumonia, his wife said Friday during an interview at Winchester Medical Center.

He is expected to recover.

Connie Hose said her husband was transported by ambulance to the medical center on Oct. 29.

Days before the hospital admission, she said, he was sleeping for long periods, turning pale, and was having trouble breathing.

Now, heís heavily sedated and is being fed through a tube in the hospitalís Intensive Care Unit.

Connie Hose and her daughter, Terri Chrisman, said the hardest thing theyíre dealing with right now is that David Hose canít speak to them.

"We stand there and touch him and massage his hands," Connie Hose said. "We let him know weíre there."

They blame his new ailment on his anthrax exposure, although doctors have not made that connection.

David Hose is expected to be in ICU for another four to five weeks.

As a supervisor for a diplomatic mail facility in Sterling, David Hose contracted anthrax in October after handling a contaminated letter at his job. He was admitted to Winchester Medical Center on Oct. 24, 2001.

The letter he handled was addressed to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Connie Hose said. The letter was not supposed to have been delivered to the Sterling facility.

"The last number in the zip code got messed up," Connie Hose said.

"He really feels bad," she said about Leahy. "He blames himself for it, and David told him (during their first conversation), ĎItís not your fault.í He didnít put this madman out there."

Leahy, when reached by phone Friday night, said he read about David Hoseís condition on the Internet and decided to call him.

"I told him that I was very concerned that he became the accidental victim of something that was obviously intended for me," Leahy said. "He was a man doing his job and doing it the right way, but he ends up getting severely injured by somebody who was trying to attack me as they were Tom Brokaw and Tom Daschle."

Brokaw, an NBC news anchor, and Daschle, the Senate majority leader, were also targets of anthrax letters in October 2001.

Other than Leahyís words, the Hose family said they really havenít received much support from the federal, state, or local government. No calls. Not even a card.

"Iím just amazed that has happened," Connie Hose said.

"Iím very angry," Chrisman said. "I mean financially, my father should not sit home and worry and be sick all the time. I think the state and the government have definitely ignored him."

Chrisman said she has called various government officials but their response is, "Write us a letter."

"That is their standard procedure," she said. "Well, why donít you come talk to me? Heís too tired and sick to fight. I just want him to be taken care of."

"Iím not really angry," Connie Hose said. "Iím just more disappointed."

Leahy, who said he was also disappointed when told about the lack of support, recommended the Hoses contact their senators and congressmen.

"Iíd be happy to assist them to put them in contact with them if they would like," he said.

But right now, the family is too tired to fight the government.

Connie Hose has been a makeshift nurse for her husband ever since he returned home after those 16 days of hospital treatment for anthrax exposure. She cooks, cleans, watches her husband, and helps him move around.

"I do it all," she said.

Thatís because David Hose never fully recovered from his bout with anthrax. Memory loss, joint pain, ulcers, and asthma are just some of the things he has been dealing with during the past year.

Life has not been the same for the Hoses, but they pray often and dream of the day when everything returns back to normal -- if that day is ever to come.

"Nothing is like it used to be," Connie Hose said. "We hardly ever go outside Winchester. He just gets so weak."

David Hose has never returned to work, mainly because he has therapy three times a week that exhausts him.

Time spent on his hobbies -- making gemstone jewelry, building furniture, and collecting stamps -- has diminished with his strength.

"He wants so bad to be able to do things he likes to do," Connie Hose said.

Dealing with the ramifications of the terrorist-fueled anthrax attack -- and now David Hoseís pneumonia -- is taking its toll, but the support from family and friends has gone beyond the Hosesí expectations.

"You just keep going," Connie Hose said. "Day by day. You never know how heís going to feel."

David Hose has talked to two of the six people who survived last yearís inhalation anthrax exposure. Connie Hose said he speaks often to Norma Wallace (case 11), a woman who contracted the disease in New Jersey, and it helps him feel better.

But Connie Hose doubts her husband will ever work again, mainly because of the scarring on his lungs that was recently discovered.

The family remains optimistic, though, and has high hopes that David Hose will return home soon after conquering pneumonia.

"There are just so many prayers, he has to get better," Connie Hose said. "He has to get better."