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Local couple's COVID-19 battle hopes to inspire others to share their own fight

Posted at 11:22 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 23:33:39-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The McGreal’s learned all they could about COVID-19 and did everything they could to stay safe. But despite the extra precautions they took, they still fell ill.

“No matter what you see, read, listen to, it’s when it happens to you it’s like you turn the next page and it’s blank because you just have no idea and it’s different,” said Steven McGreal.

They said they learned they had the virus after someone at a small gathering of people they were close with, who they trusted and were just as careful with them, had tested positive.

“Everybody who was at that gathering tested positive,” Barbara McGreal said.

The couple described symptoms like coughing and fatigue, but no fever.

“Instantly want to go back to sleep. That was the worst was constant fatigue,” Steven McGreal said.

While they shared some symptoms, they said others were totally different.

“We both got it we both had different symptoms. She couldn’t taste or smell, I could,” said Steven McGreal.

“It’s been scary it’s been hard it’s brought us closer because we’ve tried to laugh and we cried a lot wondering are we doing the right thing by staying at home and not going to the hospital,” said Barbara McGreal.

They had their oxygen measured at home.

“I know our symptoms and what we went through isn’t as bad as everyone but it was sure bad enough for us,” said Baraba McGreal.

They said they found a silver lining in being able to go through it together and looked for encouragement. They found it in the Solc’s story.

“What was positive what gave us hope is they wanted us to have hope,” said Barbara McGreal.

Zunya and Helaine Solc both fell ill. Zunya fought for his life in a hospital before he was able to finally reunite with his family in the spina. The family told ABC Action News they wanted their story to give others hope.

“It just touched me to think okay they went through it and they’re all back together now so you can get this you can be extremely sick and for the love of God, we make it. So it really was touching to me to see that story,” said Barbara McGreal.

The McGreals shared their story in hopes of inspiring others, too.

“Here we are elderly, underlying issues. The statistics were not on our side at all. We battled it. It was a hard hard battle. It wasn’t any fun. But we want people to take it seriously and to know it is real it isn’t a joke and we all just need to be respectful of the other,” said Barbara McGreal.

Now the McGreals said they’ve turned a corner and are doing better.