A 90-year-old Washington woman is crediting God, her family and her homemade potato soup for helping her beat novel coronavirus.
"I beat the coronavirus," Geneva Wood, of Kirkland, Washington, told "Good Morning America." "I have a lot to live for, and God gave me the strength to do it."
- 1March 30, 2020
Wood, a mother of five, lives on her own in an apartment, but spent the first few months of 2020 recovering from a stroke at Life Care Center, a nursing facility in Washington state that earlier this month became the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak. Thirty-five residents of the facility ended up dying from coronavirus.
Just days before she was to be discharged from the facility, Wood fell and broke her hip on March 4. Two days later, on March 6, she was diagnosed with COVID-19, according to one of her daughters, Cami Neidigh.
"With her stroke, she lost all ability to take care of herself and at Life Care Center they taught her how to live again," Neidigh told "GMA." "And then we got that [COVID-19] news and we were like, ‘Are you kidding me?'"
Neidigh said at one point she and her brothers and sister got a call from their mom's doctors that she may only have 24 hours to live. The family rushed to see her but, at first, could only see her through a window as the nursing facility instituted safety precautions.
"She was crying out and trying to reach out to us through the window," said Neidigh. "At that time, we were one of the lucky families who could suit up and go in one-by-one and hold her hand, but not hug her, and she could talk to us."
"She was telling us her goodbyes on the 10th and the next day, on the 11th, the rules changed and she was in total isolation," she said.
The family saw Neidigh on March 11 from a distance as she was taken to a local hospital, where she continued to be in isolation.
"There was a small waiting room about the size of a closet and the rules were that only one visitor per patient was supposed to be allowed in the hospital," said Neidigh. "We felt that she knew that someone was in the waiting room so we stayed there all day."
Neidigh and her siblings also brought a homemade batch of Wood's favorite potato soup that the hospital kept in a refrigerator. A nurse would come out to the waiting room and tell the siblings their mom was requesting soup and they would heat some up for her and bring it to the door of her hospital room.
"She had gone about a week without eating and once we were able to get her some soup and once she was able to see us through the window, she really rallied," said Neidigh. "It's her comfort food."
"Mom has told me that her mother taught her to make it when she was a kid," she said. "Anytime she gets sick, what she survives on is her potato soup. It has protein and everything she wants and it doesn't upset her stomach and calms her down."
Last week, Neidigh and her siblings got the news they had been waiting for: their mom was clear of COVID-19.
"They called, said we could come up and give her a hug," said Neidigh. "She gave me the longest, hardest hug that I've ever had in my life."
"It was just pure joy," she said. "She still has a long way to go, but to be able to give her a hug and touch her face, it was amazing."
Wood could not return to a nursing facility because of her brush with COVID-19, so Neidigh and her siblings are currently providing around-the-clock care for her mother at her home. She has a residual cough due to damage to her lungs, but is otherwise healthy and on the road to recovery, according to Neidigh.
"She understands what she's been through," Neidigh said of her mom. "She said she fought hard for her family and God has given her strength for the fight."
"Right now she just wants to send a positive message out to people who are fighting [coronavirus]," she said. "Just don't give up, there's somebody out there to fight for."