91-year-old and 92-year-old best friends survive COVID-19

Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 11:10 AM EST
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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two Midlands seniors in their nineties seem to have beaten the odds, overcoming COVID-19.

“I’m sure there are others out there that have survived this, and we are two of the lucky ones that are included in that group,” said 92-year-old West Columbia resident, Mary Louise Lucas.

Lucas met her best friend, 91-year-old Alma Gates, in 1940 during their seventh-grade tumbling class.

“We were very close, and we went to Columbia High School and graduated in 1946,” Lucas explained. “That was a long time ago, and here we are.”

For years, they’ve done everything together, and now, they can add surviving coronavirus to that list.

Gates was diagnosed with the virus in July. She was already high risk for her age, but she also suffers from congestive heart failure and diabetes.

“The Lord didn’t promise us a life without pain,” said Gates. “I didn’t think about dying. I just wanted relief from the pain.”

Gates spent five days at Prisma Health Baptist Hospital and six weeks recovering at home.

“I worried myself sick about her,” Lucas explained.

But she eventually got back up on her feet, and she and Lucas resumed their regular visits.

“I would sit in the car, and she would sit in the carport,” said Gates. “We wouldn’t get close together.”

Those visits continued until early January when Lucas was admitted to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. She received convalescent plasma and steroid treatments, but she had trouble breathing.

“I truly never thought about dying,” Lucas explained. “I trusted the Lord. I knew that He was going to take care of me and the ones on my COVID ward at Lexington Medical Center.”

Lucas was released from the hospital after a week, and she knows she was one of the lucky ones.

“I had asked one of the nurses how bad some of those people were, and she said they had some really sick patients,” Lucas noted. “I said prayers for those people.”

Lucas still requires supplemental oxygen, and she has strict orders from her doctor.

“He said I was not allowed to talk much, and I am a talker,” laughed Lucas.

The two best friends are busy planning for the day they can get back to their lives before COVID. They’re excited to shop, visit their families and sing at church.

“I just can’t wait to get in my car and go,” said Lucas.

“She thinks she can still drive,” teased Gates. “I’m not riding with her.”

While COVID-19 has changed life so much, the bond between these two best friends has remained the same.

“I love love love you,” Lucas told Gates.

They both ask that everyone wear their masks, social distance, and get a vaccine when you can.

Alma recently received her first dose, and Mary Louise says she will be the first person in line on April 1 because her doctor told her she must wait three months after testing positive to get the vaccine.

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