94-year-old World War II veteran from Temescal Valley shares story of surviving COVID-19

TEMESCAL VALLEY (KABC) -- When a 94-year old Temescal Valley man was diagnosed with COVID-19, he knew his chances weren't good. But Norman McArthur is also a veteran of World War II, and he knew he had to fight.

"I'm very lucky," said McArthur, who then jokingly exaggerated about the strength of his recovery not long after getting out of the hospital. "I might ride a motorcycle tomorrow, what do you think?"

But McArthur's wife knew the situation was no laughing matter. The World War II veteran had been hospitalized with the coronavirus for 11 days.

"He was in very poor condition," said Shirley McArthur. "The doctors said he might not get through the night. For about three or four nights they called, and they wanted to know what we wanted to do. He was in bad condition."

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But just as McArthur emerged victorious during World War II, he defeated COVID-19 as well.

Family members think they were exposed on a trip to San Diego on Oct. 29.

"We probably got a little complacent because we were so strict ever since March," said Janine Bills, whose husband and sister also contracted COVID-19 on the trip. "We probably thought, 'Oh, San Diego, it's OK. We're with our group.'"

"But it doesn't matter. You really have to be vigilant. And we let it slip," Bills said.

Bills said she lost 12 pounds. Her symptoms included extreme body aches.

"I've never taken two Tylenol, hardly ever. And I was tempted to take three of them every four hours," she said.

They are all hopefully on the road to recovery. They want people to take the coronavirus seriously as hospitals and ICUs are getting overwhelmed.

"When you're dealing with your fellow human beings, and you have a chance to do a small thing and wear a mask or social distance, just to be part of humanity, it doesn't hurt. It doesn't need to be political. It just needs to help each other be safe," Bills said.

Bills is also mindful of the pain and suffering so many other families are experiencing but wanted to share their story to give people hope.

"I do realize that there are family members out there who have lost loved ones. It's hard to spread our great news when we know so many people are suffering and their news is not great.

"But we've experienced a miracle," she said.
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