One Shoals man shares his story of surviving a 40-day hospital battle with Covid.
Larry Freeman said he's a walking miracle. He was on the ventilator for 28 days. In total he battled the virus for 51 days including his hospital and rehab stays.
Freeman was released from Russellville hospital in February.
"I'm thinking I'm going to another room out of ICU, and they surprised me and said, no, you are going to rehab. So, they got me this T-shirt," said Freeman.
Doctors and nurses who cared for Larry Freeman all have the same shirt "Team ICU." It represents a bond they share.
"I pray for them each and every day, and some of the doctors and nurses I don't know but a special shout out to Dr. Decker at Russellville Hospital," said Freeman, as he gave a thumbs up.
The day Freeman left the hospital everyone lined the hallways. They waved and cheered as Freeman wiped away tears. He said he was feeling so thankful at that moment.
"Just thanking God that he brought me through it. Prior to me being sick I lost one of my brothers to the virus," said Freeman.
Seven months later, Freeman is back taking courses at Northwest Shoals Community College. He said getting to this point was not easy and recovery from Covid takes time.
"I wasn't able to hold food up at one time without my nerves being so bad. Later on it affected my gallbladder and I had to have it taken out as well," said Freeman.
Freeman said when he got sick the vaccine wasn't available and he hopes sharing his story of survival gives people hope and makes them think about taking the vaccine.
"People come up and tell me you know you are the reason I got the shot, because looking back at how you were sick encouraged me to get the shot and do it. That made me feel good that something positive can come out of this virus and encourage other people to get the shots," said Freeman.
Freeman had to wait a few months to get vaccinated because he already had antibodies but the day he could he got vaccinated. Freeman prays with families who have loved ones fighting the virus and still drops by Russellville Hospital to encourage healthcare workers.