Oklahoma COVID-19 survivor shares story of faith after surviving on ventilator for two weeks

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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – “I’m thinking, ‘Why did this happen to me? God why?'” said Charles Clemons. 

It was a long journey for the Clemons family, one they never anticipated taking. 

“It was really, really hard,” said Charles’ wife Edith. 

Charles first got sick in early March. 

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Charles Clemons

He went to work as an instructor at Tinker Air Force Base to teach a class, hoping what he had wasn’t too serious. 

After four days of feeling bad, he made his first trip to Mercy Hospital. 

Charles was sent home, only to return two days later. 

However, this time was serious. 

“Never did I imagine that I’d get a phone call that he would be in the ICU and that he died basically,” said Edith. 

Days later, Charles flatlined. 

“When you flatline the doctors only have ten minutes… ten minutes to bring you back,” said Charles. 

Charles helps run an inner-city youth football league, so in his mind, those ten minutes equal one quarter of a game. 

“That one quarter could’ve actually been God saying, ‘Chuck, it’s over. You played a good game,’ but instead, He said, ‘Son, lace it back up, you’re back in the ball game.'”

Doctors were able to revive him, but his “game” was far from over. 

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Charles’ medical situation turned critical.

For 13 days, he was hooked up to a ventilator. 

The machine left scars on his face. 

“It was pretty rough,” he said. “They pumped 12 liters of fluid off my lungs.”

Charles was unconscious, but his younger brother, Dr. Kelvin Pollard, a doctor in St. Louis, kept up with his charts and kept the family updated. 

“He kept everyone together,” said Charles. 

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One day, Edith got the phone call that Charles was waking up.  

“He had some times where we doubted… we doubted that he would make it,” she cried. “He pulled through.”

Charles couldn’t walk or talk, so the first thing he did was ask for a pen and paper. 

“The first thing I wrote… was ‘I love you,’ the second thing I wrote to her was get me ‘outta here now!'” they laughed. 

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Charles and his family

Now, Charles is sharing his story of faith. 

“I just thank God that he gave me the opportunity to have a second chance at life,” he said. 

The couple is hoping their struggle with COVID-19 motivates people to get vaccinated. 

“It’s not a black thing. It’s not a white thing. It’s not a republican, democrat, independent thing. COVID is real,” said Charles. 

The couple was also able to share their story with their pastor,  and Fifth Street Baptist Church community and you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exNF2vCAoqQ

They also wanted to thank the team at Mercy Hospital, calling them “the best ICU team in the world!”

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