After 11 weeks apart, a Windsor Locks man finally got to hug his wife and come home. The father of two fought for his life after contracting COVID-19, but he didn’t fight alone.
With a little dance and a lot of humor Jerry Blais showed friends and family he's back. Loved ones waited outside Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford with signs, happy just to be near him.
But it's taken a lot of time and hard work for Blais to stand in front of everyone. In late March a fever and difficulty breathing sent him to Saint Francis Hospital and on a ventilator. For nearly 40 days Blais doesn't remember anything but says his bride of 39 years never gave up. She had thousands of people praying for his recovery.
"I didn't fight that hard because I guess she fought for me," said Blais.
In May, Blais moved to Gaylord Hospital for rehabilitation. His recovery was just beginning.
"The first day they brought me here, they tried to sit me up, and I literally went like that and almost to the floor. So they couldn't sit me up even," said Blais.
Day by day Blais improved. Short walks led to longer ones, and the staff and visits from loved ones through windows boosted his spirit.
"I call these people here cheerleaders because I had a whole group of cheerleaders. All the therapists, even the lady who came and cleaned the room was cheering me on," said Blais.
Finally on Wednesday Jerry Blais left Gaylord to the sound of cheers from staff. He stood up out of his wheelchair and walked out, straight to his wife.
"I don't even have words really. I'm just so happy," said Karen Blais.
"It's just so cool to be out in the air, for one. And to see my wife, and not see her on Facetime, but to feel her, kiss her, hug her. And I'm so grateful to God and to all my friends and family who have been so supportive," said Blais.
With hugs and laughs, Blais thanked everyone for their love and prayers. He hopes his story helps others and pushes those currently fighting not to give up.
"Keep praying because it's really the power of prayer that brought him through. We had thousands of people praying for him, and I don't think he would have made it if not for that," said Karen.
"It was just step by step, little by little. That's all I tell people here that are just starting. Don't give up because every day is a brand new day and you get so much better," said Blais.
Blais says he's grateful to the workers at Gaylord and Saint Francis. The first thing he said he was going to do when he got home was eat the lasagna his sister made for him. He wants to relax on his deck and spend as much time as he can with family.