Yamhill County, OR – A 95-year-old World War II veteran has survived his battle against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
“I survived the foxholes of Guam, I can get through this [coronavirus] bulls–t!” Bill Kelly said after falling ill on March 15, according to a Facebook post by his granddaughter, Rose Ayers-Etherington.
Kelly, who has underlying medical conditions including high blood pressure, congenital heart disease and stage three kidney disease, lives with Rose, The Oregonian reported.
Rose’s husband, Isaac, her mother, and her 5-year-old and 11-month-old children also live in the home.
Isaac, who has tested negative for COVID-19, works as a medical evacuation pilot and has been flying potential coronavirus-infected patients, The Oregonian reported.
So, when Kelly began feeling ill and developed a low-grade fever on March 15, his family wasn’t taking any chances.
Kelly spent the night in the hospital, but was feeling much better the following day and was released to self-quarantine at home.
On March 17, the results of his COVID-19 test came back positive, The Oregonian reported.
The family remained self-quarantined for the next two weeks, and no one but Kelly ever experienced any symptoms of the virus.
For the first week of the quarantine, Kelly had to primarily remain alone in his bedroom, separated from his family.
He wore a surgical mask anytime he emerged from the room, and everyone else had to avoid him and clean the surfaces he had gotten close to, The Oregonian reported.
“It was seven days where we treated the poor guy like a leper,” Isaac told the paper.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Rose agreed. “We were just drinking hot tea all the time. Taking zinc. Washing our hands constantly.”
Kelly’s family kept him comfortable, provided him with a lot of fluids, and made sure he stayed rested, The Oregonian reported.
“Grandpa Bill is as tough as nails,” Rose wrote in the post. “He lived through the Great Depression and was amongst the first boots to set foot in the South Pacific during WW2…He has strong mental resolve. He has seen tough times and knows how to get through them.”
In addition to watching old movies and praying, Kelly also found “blasting that polka chicken dancing song from his room over and over again” to be a good coping mechanism, Rose said.
“Grandpa Bill’s pretty hardcore,” she noted.
On Monday, Kelly successfully wrapped up his recovery period and his 14 days of home quarantine, The Oregonian reported.
“We’re doing just fine here. We’re toughing it out,” the war veteran told the paper. “I’ve got two great-grandsons to keep me busy. I’ve been very fortunate.”
In her Facebook post, Rose also shared a bit of her grandfather’s advice about forging ahead in the face of adversity.
“Always be grateful. Thank God continually for what he has blessed you with,” Kelly said, according to Rose. “Don’t get caught up in the peripheral things of this earth, because everything can disappear, just like that. Family is most important. Stick together, take care of each other.”
Rose said that she believes that her grandfather’s recovery is a beacon of hope in the midst of the devastating pandemic.
“I know this has been hard for so many people,” she told The Oregonian. “I hope that Grandpa Bill can be a source of hope and inspiration.”