Huntington Beach couple in their 90s survive COVID-19, urge people to take virus seriously

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Huntington Beach couple's wedding vow of loving each other "in sickness and in health" was put to the ultimate test after they both came down with COVID-19 and survived.

Sam and Edith Gollay are back to enjoying life at their senior community after enduing one of the most challenging chapters of their 71 years of marriage. They both survived severe cases of COVID-19.

"He was so very sick. He almost didn't make it," said Edith.

Edith is 92 and her husband Sam is 98, which means they are both in the high-risk category for serious illness.

She was first to get sick with a cough and fever, then Sam developed a cough. Once they tested positive, they were both hospitalized.

"I was coughing quite a bit. They put me on oxygen, gave me all kinds of pills. They checked my pressure every 15, 20 minutes. They had to check my oxygen and actually they thought I wouldn't make it," Sam said.

The couple was separated at the hospital, which made it hard on Edith knowing she was recovering faster than Sam, saying he was more gone than alive.

"I was in another room and I told them to put me downstairs to be with Sam (because) I wanted to make sure he was well taken care of," she said.

Miraculously, the World War II veteran made it through. And despite Sam surviving cancer five times, Edith calls this the worst thing to happen in her life.

Now they're hoping people take the virus more seriously.

"People aren't listening. They've (got to) wear masks," she said.

"If people were to mask and stay away from crowds, we'd be (at) half the cases now," he said.

As some of the oldest survivors, they're now able to continue their 71 years of marriage.

"I was told a long time ago, let your husband think he's really smart and let him be very important and then you have to be a little bit ahead of him," Edith said.

"Always be good to your wife and listen to her cause she's smarter than you are," Sam said.

Sam says Edith saved his life so many times, he owes her a debt of gratitude. That includes this time, when she made sure he was receiving the best care, even while she was hospitalized.
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