HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) – A rollercoaster fight with COVID tore Ben Traylor away from his family for more than two months. During that time, he missed the summer, Father’s Day, his 52nd birthday and spending time with his family.

Traylor spent six weeks on a ventilator with everything that could have gone wrong. He and his family said this all could have been prevented if they got vaccinated before coming down with COVID. They weren’t opposed to getting the shot, they just wanted to wait until it was available a little longer.

“I was cutting the grass the day before I was in the emergency room,” Ben said. “It hit me like a ton of bricks.”

The Traylor family came down with COVID around Memorial Day. Ben was the last to get the virus, but his fight changed everything.

“My wife was told I may not live, and she had to come home, put the kids to bed with the best smile she could muster, all because I didn’t get a shot,” Ben said.

Donya Traylor, Ben’s wife, spent every night going back to the hospital to check on him, reassuring him that everyone was safe. She and the kids just wanted him back home.

“It was very scary to not know what’s going to happen and what I would do,” Donya said. “Several doctors and nurses have told us that it wasn’t looking good and it’s a miracle that he’s here.”

The road to recovery is a long one. Ben has limited mobility especially in his right leg. Right now, he has in home physical therapy until he is mobile enough to visit an outpatient clinic.

“When you’re in a coma for so long you lose all your muscles,” Ben said.

Ben said it was a struggle to pick up the call button to ask for a nurse in the hospital once out of his coma. He still has battle scars from where he was hooked up to the ventilator. His COVID fight kept him away from his family for 70 days.

“To miss all that time, I haven’t dwelled on it too much,” Ben said. “I’m more dwelling on what I’m going to do with the time that I’ve got because it really is a blessing.”

Taking everything in baby steps is how the Traylor family copes with this fight. They’re steps that brought Ben back home.

“Just like you would buckle your kid in a car seat, get your vaccination, wear your mask,” Donya said. “It can’t hurt anything, and I do think the survival rate is so much higher if you do take those precautions.”  

Ben said everything changed. His last memory before waking up from the coma was having his kids watch him being taken away in an ambulance.

“They’re stuck with that memory, I wish I could take it away from them,” Ben said. “I’m just glad to be home, glad to be able to put my arms around my kids and tell ‘em I love ‘em.”

Ben said if you don’t you plan on getting vaccinated to have a checklist of important bills, passwords or anything your loved ones may need if the virus takes your life because it almost took his several times.