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23 year Ala. law enforcement veteran released after more than 260 days battling COVID

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:56 AM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 9:13 AM CDT
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - After spending 269 days in the hospital battling Covid-19, Craig Pruett was finally able to return home to his family.

Robert Abernathy, Pruett’s friend of more than 30 years says this all started last August after the pair traveled to Nashville to perform. On the way back Pruett began to complain about not feeling well. Abernathy says they had no clue what would happen next.

His family says he was rushed to the hospital on August 11, 2021, and placed on a ventilator on August 22nd.

“I was scared,” says Pruett. “There were times I was like I’m going to die.”

He’d spend 213 days on a ventilator.

Pruett says he doesn’t remember much, it felt like he was in a dream he couldn’t wake up from. He says it seemed like there were signs that the end was near.

“There were articles on the walls like written about me,” Pruett. “I couldn’t see well enough to read them but it was articles about me and like career and stuff. And it was almost like a memorial. It was freaking me out.”

His family was told to say their goodbyes in September and he coded and had no pulse for almost five minutes in October.

Pruett says this all felt like a video game he had no control of. He says the nurses at Riverview Medical would share encouraging messages from his wife, Sara.

“I went through that so long,” says Pruett. “I couldn’t pause. I couldn’t restart the game. I couldn’t stop it. I got so tired of being stuck in this game that I started giving up. In the dream, I wanted to just stop breathing. Because I wanted it to end. It was literally like being in hell. I just wanted that dream to end. But Sara kept encouraging me every time. I remember everything she was telling me.”

Pruett says once he was able to have visitors his wife never left him. She spent months beside his hospital bed. Now he’s excited to be reunited with her and the rest of his family.

Pruett has spent 23 years serving in law enforcement. He plans to retire in June from with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

“I always wanted to go home,” says Pruett. “I want to go home to my family. I’m going to fight to do that. that was my subconscious in the hospital. you better bring everything you’ve got if you don’t want me to go home. Because I’m going to give you my favorite movie tombstone. You tell him I’m coming but hell will be coming with me.”

Pruett says he doesn’t know how he made it but he knows it was God and the support from his loved ones.

He will spend the next several months in physical therapy and learning to walk again. His wife is unable to work due to caring for him. The family has a GoFundMe set up and if you’d like to help visit https://gofund.me/791e7879

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