“I Ain’t Hurtin’ Nowhere” – 100-Year-Old Survives COVID-19
RAEFORD, N.C. — Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen how senior citizens are especially vulnerable to infection.
Nursing homes have been hot spots, and many elderly patients have died.
But a North Carolina woman, who’s lived through a lot in her century of life, says she wasn’t about to let COVID-19 have the last word. NBC’s Brian Mims spoke with the COVID-19 survivor.
The back door creaks as Lena May Shaw grips her walker.
Nice and easy, she steps toward the chair under the pecan tree.
Loud and clear:
She says she feels all right.
“They said I had that virus.” COVID? “Yep, I ain’t hurtin’ nowhere!”
“Ain’t hurtin’ nowhere,” just to be clear.
Given she was just in the hospital for more than four days with COVID, I’m talking with her across the yard, recording her voice on speaker phone. I asked if having the virus scared her.
“It didn’t scare me nowhere,” Shaw said. “God was with me. Nothing but god. I ain’t been sick nowhere.”
Still, she’s very much in that high-risk age group. She turned 100-years-old in February. A couple of weeks back, her great niece, Cori Walker, noticed that she sounded:
“Weaker than she normally does,” Walker said. “She wasn’t as loud and boisterous like she normally is.”
Miss Shaw was running a fever and feeling awfully weak. She was tested for COVID-19. The result: just what her great niece dreaded.
“Terrified,” Walker said. “Terrifying.” “Not good. I was panicky. I was calling 9-1-1 to come and get her.”
The family figures she got it from one of her home caregivers, who also tested positive. An ambulance carried Miss Shaw to Moore Regional Hospital. Her family couldn’t help but think that they might lose her.
“I did,” Walker said. “She’s the matriarch of the family. She’s the only living sibling.”
But the way Lena May Shaw sees it, good livin’ and hard prayin’ go a long way.
“God,” Shaw said. “Nothing but god. I’ve depended on god. He brought me too far to leave me. Brought me too far to leave me.”
She still lives in the same house she’s called home since the 1930s. Never had kids. Her husband passed away 55 years ago. But she’s never gone lonely, which is why she says God has kept her around so long.
“The love I give people, taking care of children, cooking, taking care of all my nieces and nephews,” Shaw said.
She still fries cornbread. Still cleans house.
“I can’t sit still now,” Shaw said. “I can’t sit still now. I’ve got to be doing something.”
“She’s an amazing woman,” Walker said.
The back door creaks back open.
Go on in, Miss Lena May Shaw. So much yet to do.
Miss shaw’s family says she never suffered any severe symptoms. She came back from the hospital a week ago, and loved ones say she’s back to her feisty self.