COVID survivor beats the odds, shares his journey

LEXINGTON, Tenn. —What if you were told that your chance of living was slim to none, or that you’d never be able to walk again? Those are a few things that were told to one local COVID survivor.

A perfectly healthy man, involved in church and the community. Billy Bray was always a light that shined bright on others, until things took an unexpected turn.

Doctors said it was a one in a million chance of survival. But Billy Bray beat all odds.

“I was at home when they told me I had it, and I felt bad two or three days. I kinda laid around and one night I told Pam, I couldn’t go any further and I didn’t go to bed,” Bray said.

On January 25 Bray was diagnosed with COVID-19. After days of experiencing severe symptoms Bray quickly needed to go to a hospital.

“I think I laid there 2 or 3 nights and I was running a fever, and I told Pam, I’ve got to get help! I’ve got to have a thermometer, so I can check my temperature, I didn’t know what I was running,” Bray said.

Running a fever of 106 degrees, he soon went to the hospital in Lexington. Two days after admission they, transferred him to the COVID floor at Jackson General Hospital.

“That’s the last I remember. Of course, I got to Lexington. I don’t know if they gave me something to knock me out or what. I never did, but I remember, I may have come in and out of it, but I don’t remember,” Bray said.

Bray was on the COVID floor for two weeks struggling with low oxygen levels. Days after leaving the floor, he was admitted into the ICU due to collapsed lungs; which caused him to be in a coma for 5 weeks and on a ventilator for 16.

“The doctor kept telling me, he’s a very very sick man but we’ll do what we can. And I knew through the medical field that’s what they were seeing, but we were trusting in the power of God for a miracle healing,” said Pam, Bray’s wife.

And a miracle is what happened. After waking up from the coma, Bray could only respond to small commands which soon led him to become unresponsive. Remaining in this state until the end of March.

“I didn’t think I’d ever walk no more. I didn’t think I’d ever do nothing. They said I’d be a vegetable. I couldn’t even think for myself, but the good Lord come in on that picture. And I do think myself, anything I want to do the good Lord, let me do it,” Bray said.

Brain scans showed little to no progress. From there, there was nothing much the hospital could do. From April 1 to June 22, Bray was sent to a long term therapy facility in Knoxville in hopes of weaning him off of the ventilator.

“He was very weak, could not sit up. Even when he came home, he had to have an assistant helping him sit up. It was definitely a test in our faith in the Lord and we just kept the faith. We knew that God could and we were just trusting that he would,” Bray said.

After spending 5 months total in the hospital, he was sent home on June 23 and continues to improve his health every single day.

“I was thrilled to death! I found out I was over it and that I was gonna get to come home, couldn’t hardly wait. I work, peddle around. I don’t work on the job but I work around the house, peddle around to get out and do things. I put a battery on my truck the other day out there, just little stuff and I love it,” Bray said.

Throughout Bray’s physical therapy he regained his strength and not only is able to walk but also run.

Now Bray continues to share his story and encourages others to never lose hope.

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