Portrait of Recovery: Dunmore family shares coronavirus story

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DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As we continue to look at the growing number of cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania, it’s important to also recognize those who recover from COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has swept across the commonwealth and Lackawanna County is no exception. One man has gone up against the virus and won, but it’s been a family affair in Dunmore.

“I never thought it would come to Dunmore, ever ever. It’s so much worse than the flu,” Gigi Muracco-Hessmiller, Bill Hessmiller’s wife said.

Early March brought concerns for Hessmiller and family.

“Last time I got sick enough for a doctor was when George Bush Senior saved Kuwait,” Hessmiller said.

Jokes aside, the symptoms started piling up. Fatigue, persistent coughing, loss of appetite and the struggle to breathe.

“Just not going away. It just seemed like it was never going away,” Hessmiller said.

Enough was enough. Hessmiller’s wife stepped in.

“Gigi just realized that I had more than just a cough. Thank God she called Dr. James McKenna, who literally saved my life,” Hessmiller said.

From there, Gigi took every precaution while she and Bill’s daughter “Freckles” stayed home to give care.

“I Cloroxed everything. Every second the poor guy would be trying to sleep and that but no matter when he came out we Cloroxed head to toe,” Muracco-Hessmiller said.

While the Hessmillers hunkered down for the fight, the family came through in different ways.

“So right off the bat, it was ‘what do you need? What do you need us to do?’ We started taking turns going to the grocery store,” daughter Nicole Finnerty, said.

“We had a lot of Facetime videos going. This way the kids could see,” Muracco-Hessmiller said.

“I still miss my grandkids so much. I want to hug them. Gigi says she’ll hug me in a few years. I don’t know how it’s going to be but it’s been really hard,” Hessmiller said.

With constant communication and support, Hessmiller is still with them today.

“I feel for people that have to go longer than I, but this is the closest I’ve been to these folks in a while and it’s great,” Hessmiller said.

While Hessmiller’s grateful to still be around for his family, he says his thoughts and prayers go to the families of those who’ve lost loved ones in their fight against COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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