Harnett County man leaves hospital after battling COVID-19 for 7 months


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Revonda Ballard glanced at her husband, Frankie, with tears and a smile.

“I’m just thankful that he’s here,” she said wiping away tears.

That’s because there was a time she didn’t think he would make it back home.

“Oh, that was a tough road,” mentioned Frankie Ballard.

It was a tough road that Frankie Ballard didn’t see coming back in February.

“We had some neighbors over [on a Friday night in February] and I told my wife I feel like I’m having chills. After they left, I went to bed and that’s the last I remember until July 7,” he explained.

Frankie Ballard was admitted to the hospital just two days before he was supposed to get his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

He would eventually bounce around to seven different hospitals getting treatment.

At one point he was in a coma with a slim chance to make it.

“Then on Good Friday, he actually opened his eyes,” said Revonda Ballard.

In August, he began in-patient rehab at Duke Regional Hospital in Durham.

“When he came to us, he was very weak. He had the little tremor in both arms and both legs from just being so weak,” explained Dr. Jairon Downs with Duke Health.

After months of work, last week, Ballard finally was able to go home. He also celebrated his 46th wedding anniversary.

“I couldn’t buy her presents so I just said, here I am,” Ballard said laughing.

As he settles in at home, Ballard’s message to everyone is to get vaccinated.

“You don’t need to go down the road I went,” he stated.

Ballard said he was able to get his first COVID shot recently and said he will get his second shot next week.

Downs said Ballard will continue with in-home therapy for the next two months then work to the point where he doesn’t need oxygen.

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