NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (WYTV) – After fighting COVID-19 for a month, one North Jackson veteran is talking about winning his battle with the virus.
As a Vietnam veteran and heart attack survivor, and after being told he’d never walk again after a motorcycle accident, David “Stubby” James is no stranger to battles.
Now he can say he also beat the battle with the coronavirus.
“It’s real, but fight it,” he said.
On March 23, his wife brought him to the Louis Stokes Veterans Hospital in Cleveland.
“I tried talking to him and he wasn’t sure what time it was, where he was at,” said Patty James, Stubby’s wife.
His temperature was over 103 degrees and he was struggling to breathe.
The next day, he tested positive for the coronavirus and was also diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs.
“The worst part, I think, was the 30 days of not being there to hold his hand, to talk to him,” Patty said. “When he became a little irate when he came out and off of the vent, I couldn’t be there to calm him down.”
For Stubby’s first few days at the VA, there were no signs of improvement but four days after entering the hospital, his vitals were stable enough to try another experimental treatment.
Over those next few days, he improved and on April 9, he was taken off the ventilator.
“I’m laying in bed and I see these doctors and nurses going back and forth, and they’re pointing at me and I can hear them saying, ‘There’s our miracle patient,'” he said.
Stubby once again beat the odds.
“I asked the one nurse what they meant and he says, ‘Oh, you’re not supposed to be here. You weren’t supposed to make it.'”
Stubby is now at home, recovering. He was greeted by family and others in his North Jackson community when he returned.
“I have too many things to do yet,” Stubby said. “I have a great-granddaughter coming in July and I gotta be here.”