Your Voice on COVID-19 - Virus confusion leads to dangerous side effect for Sumter resident


All our coronavirus coverage is free to the public. It’s the right thing to do as a public service to our community. If you find this article helpful or informative and want to support our continued coverage, please support us with a tax-deductible donation.

To find all our coronavirus coverage, including helpful local resources and website links, click here.


We’ve been asking our Sumter Item community to share their stories surrounding COVID-19 and the pandemic’s impact on you, your family and friends, work, etc. We want to tell the stories of the people in our community, putting names and people to statistics and trend articles.

To share your story and read other submissions, go to or email if you want us to send you a questionnaire. You can also call (803) 774-1235 and leave a voicemail either detailing your story or a callback number.

*Editor’s note: While we read through and edit these reader submissions to ensure they adhere to our publishing policy, we cannot fact-check all of these personal experiences. The Sumter Item does not endorse opinions that may appear in Your Voice.


Jackie Hughes is a Sumter resident and 23-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and Army, having retired as a master sergeant.

She got tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing site before getting sick, and she said she was otherwise healthy until two weeks ago. Her test was negative. She had been keeping busy out of boredom - she is usually active in the community and attends school board, local government and military and veteran meetings and events - by working in her yard and around the house.

This is what she wrote.

On Friday, May 8, at about 1:15 p.m., I started feeling this tightness and terrible discomfort under my left rib cage. I didn't think a lot about it and figured it would go away. It didn't. It got worse. Since it was Friday afternoon, and since we've been told not to go to the hospital if we are sick, I waited for it to get better.

I made it through Friday and Friday night. Now, it's Saturday, and I'm feeling even worse. I don't even have the energy to go out and get my mail and newspaper. I haven't had anything to eat or drink since Friday morning since I felt too sick to do so. I made it through Saturday and Saturday night just because time passes.

Now, it's Mother's Day, and I am sicker with even more discomfort across my stomach. Fast forward, my cousin and sister took me to the VA Hospital in Columbia at about 5:30 p.m. I had a CAT scan, X-ray, blood test and urine test done. I was on antibiotics plus something for my heart, which wasn't working like it should.

I ended up at Lexington Medical Center at midnight on Mother's Day. I was there until the following Sunday afternoon, being released at 12:30 p.m.

This is what ended up being wrong. I had an AFib, when the heart is not beating as it is supposed to. Because of my heart, I had blood clots in my spleen and at least my right kidney. I also had a UTI, and my white blood count was way up.

After four kinds of medications, and two IVs, and more tests, plus blood being drawn every four hours around the clock, I started getting well. My heart was shocked on Friday morning because the meds couldn't do the job.

Today, I am at home recovering. I'm wondering when I will be back to normal. Although COVID-19 didn't cause my medical situation, I blame it for me not knowing what to do or where to go. God took care of everything, and I still have my spleen and everything else. I didn't need surgery. I realize it could have been a lot worse if things didn't happen the way they did. I also realize that Friday at 1:15 p.m. wasn't the real beginning of this event, but it was the straw that broke the camel's back.