Vietnam veteran out of the hospital after 2-month battle with COVID-19

Alvin Ordiway was hospitalized for 54 days
Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 00:12:18-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- A Vietnam veteran survived COVID-19 after fighting the virus for nearly 2 months.

Alvin Ordiway said he was not feeling well in July. He lost his appetite.

"He had gone about three to four days with not wanting to eat," said his wife Rita Ordiway.

Ordiway also had a fever. He was admitted to the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa on July 4.

He spent time in an intensive care unit and on a ventilator.

His family said he received convalescent plasma therapy, blood thinners due to a blood clot and hydroxychloroquine.

"There was one morning around 6 a.m. and the hospital called me and was telling me he wasn't in good condition. I said, 'Is it time for me to call the family?' He said 'Well, you might want to,'" recalled his wife.

Ordiway beat the virus and was released from the hospital on Thursday.

A hallway of healthcare workers applauded his recovery.

"When I got downstairs out of the elevator, it was just one monster roar of people clapping," said Ordiway.

During his hospital stay, Ordiway said he missed his wife of 22 years and his daily Coca-Cola.

He dropped 30 pounds while in the hospital. He stopped at McDonald's once he was released from the hospital.

Elaine McMullen is a staff nurse at James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital. She was one of many nurses and doctors who cared for Ordiway.

"It was a pleasure for all of us to get to care for him and to see him walk out under his own power, I hope he's enjoying his time with his wife and his dogs and his cat. Hopefully, someday, he can walk through the unit and just say hi. We'd love to see his smile," said McMullen.

The 70-year-old said he is so grateful he survived COVID-19. He hopes more patients are like him because he is very, very lucky.

Ordiway's last 20 days were spent in rehabilitation where staff helped him overcome the damage caused by the virus.