Travis Brown, age 52, is a hardworking man from Bowling Green, KY. He enjoys spending time with his loving and supportive wife, Sherry, and their two sons. They all like to stay active in the community through their church, Woodburn Baptist Church. Travis also loves Alabama football, Harley motorcycles, and making knives. His fulfilling life took an unexpected turn when he became sick with COVID-19.
At first, Travis experienced symptoms including extreme sinus pressure, chills, fever, and loss of taste and smell. After five to six days, his shortness of breath worsened. Sherry ordered an oxy meter and his stats were in the 75-80 range. She was so thankful that she ordered it because without it they wouldn’t have known his oxygen levels were so low.
Despite the low levels, Travis was still able to dress and walk into the ER that day. When he arrived at the Medical Center at Bowling Green, his oxygen levels were at 50%. After a series of x-rays and scans, he was unable to receive the antibody infusion due to blood clots in his lungs. They also tried the V60 but were not successful.
A little over a week later, Travis’s nurse FaceTimed Sherry and explained they were putting him on a ventilator. He didn’t really know what that entailed as far as sedation, etc. He explained, “I just wanted to stay alive. It’s like sleeping but then I woke up, and two months had gone by.”
About a week after Travis went on the ventilator, his physicians informed Sherry that he was suffering from kidney failure and that his lungs would never recover. They offered the port but cautioned his family that there was a possibility his heart would stop. Sherry talked over the options with their family before making any immediate decisions. They all decided to try the port since it was the only option they had left. They weren’t ready to give up on him. The port was placed eight days straight with dialysis, taking five liters of fluid off of him each day.
At this point, Travis’s condition required pretty much everything including a tracheostomy, catheter, feeding tube, and ventilator. The pulmonary physician became concerned with how Travis looked so they ran a test. The test revealed Travis had a stroke that affected the left side of his brain and two smaller strokes affecting the right side. When he stabilized, his nurses made sure to FaceTime his family regularly so they could talk and pray with each other. Sherry often referred to Psalm 23 when talking with Travis.
After over a month on the ventilator, Travis was completely weaned, only having to use oxygen at night. At this point, his family was able to visit him and Travis would whisper to Sherry, “I love you,” during their visits.
Towards the end of his critical recovery, Travis transferred to Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital for more intensive therapy. This brought him one step closer to being home with his family. After lying in bed for so long, he couldn’t walk and was extremely weak. He couldn’t even sit up on the side of the bed.
With the support of his family, friends, and care team, Travis worked hard and started to see progress each day. He used an AFO brace for his left leg. His taste and smell returned, but he is still unable to hear out of one ear. He lost over 60 pounds during his time in the hospital, so he loved when Sherry brought him KFC mashed potatoes. He said, “This was the only thing I could taste at the time.” His family also brought him cake and balloons on his birthday.
When asked what got him through his journey with COVID-19, Travis said, “The good Lord above worked through me and worked through those doctors and nurses. I’m a miracle. I would not be here if it was not for the Lord, my family, and friends praying for me. It’s scary, it’s real – don’t take it for granted. There’s no rhyme or reason with this virus. COVID-19 leaves those marks just like cancer.”
Travis has come so far in his recovery and has an upcoming procedure to help him get closer to his prior level of function. He will continue his recovery through outpatient rehabilitation at SKY. He looks forward to seeing the same therapists that were with him from the start. Travis said, “A special thank you to Leslie, Alexsey, Tes, Christy, Haley, Clint, and Nicole. Y’all got me home. These therapists encouraged me every day!” After leaving SKY, Travis was able to receive his vaccine.