Don Garling has survived a lot in his life.
The 90-year-old Mont Alto resident overcame a fight with colon cancer more than a decade ago, is constantly managing diabetes and suffered a heart attack last year.
Soon he hopes to add conquering COVID-19 to that list.
Thursday, Garling was discharged from WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital while being celebrated by his caregivers and hospital staff as he continues to recover from COVID-19.
"What Mr. Garling has overcome so far is nothing short of amazing," said Sherri Stahl, WellSpan Health’s Senior Vice President of Hospital Services.
"This is one of those moments during our COVID-19 journey at WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital where we can pause for a minute and celebrate a huge, positive step forward for one of our patients."
Garling was admitted to WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital on Sunday, and tested for COVID-19, which was confirmed with a positive result that evening.
Teams within the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit kept a watchful eye on him around the clock as he continued to show signs of recovery. Garling did not need a ventilator.
"It was really good. Everyone went above and beyond to help me," said Garling, a former heavy equipment operator who will turn 91 on May 28. "You just have to take things one step at a time, one day at a time."
According to Garling’s daughter, Donna Henderson, her father began to develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the late stages of last week.
What appeared to be a head cold last weekend developed into Garling feeling sweaty and clammy on Sunday morning. Still, the family wasn’t certain it was COVID-19 since Garling was also showing symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
The family patriarch overcoming COVID-19 is no surprise to Garling’s family.
Henderson said that she lost a sister, Teresa, in a car crash in April 2009 and her mother passed away the following month. She credits her father for always leading the family through tough times.
Around the same time as the pair of family deaths, Garling was overcoming colon cancer.
"He’s the Rock of Gibraltar for all of us," Henderson said. "I always tell him that he is like a cat with nine lives."
Henderson added that her father missed being at his home the most during his 5-day stay in the hospital.
"I’m just so thankful that I came out of this the way that I did. The nurses were wonderful," Garling said.
He will be self-quarantined at home as he continues to gain strength and recover from the disease.
"I am just happy to promote something that may help someone else," Garling said.