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'I wouldn't wish this on anybody': Colorado man hospitalized for months with COVID-19

James Salazar didn’t have a chance to get the vaccine before he got sick. He hopes his story changes other people's mind.

FORT LUPTON, Colo. — A Fort Lupton man is finally home after he said he was hospitalized for more than half a year because of COVID-19.

James Salazar didn’t have a chance to get the vaccine before he got sick, and he hoped his story will change other people's mind.

“I wouldn't wish this on anybody,” he said at home on Saturday. “I pray nobody else gets it like I did.”

Salazar said he didn’t realize how much time he would lose when he went to the hospital for COVID-19 last November. Turns out it was about 10 months. He said he got home on Aug. 13.

For more than half a year, he said, he fought through a coma, surgeries and therapy.

“It was pretty sad because I missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Easter,” he said.

Now he's battling longterm complications at home. He said he can’t walk without his walker.

“I used to do mechanics, plumbing, carpentry. You name it, I did it,” he said. “I can't even lift a hammer to swing it to drive a nail right now.”

The vaccine wasn’t available to him when he caught COVID-19. He decided to get the shot soon after he left the hospital.

“Please go get yourself vaccinated,” he said. “Because I don't want to see anyone go through what I went through."

Being home is bittersweet. His wife of more than 20 years is still trying to beat COVID-19. Salazar said she has been in the hospital since March.

“It's hard because we have done everything for each other,” he said. “We do everything together, and we almost died together.”

Salazar said he’s diabetic. He believes that contributed to the severity of his case.

He still needs physical therapy twice a week.

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