By Brad Edwards

CHICAGO (CBS) — A healthy father of five who says he has never been sick before until he was on his deathbed is home for the first time in three weeks after surviving COVID-19.

It was like they welcomed their soldier home Friday. He had been through his own war.

“I thought it was over,” said Ike Williams. “I’ve never been sick in my life, and I don’t have any ailments.”

But then he started feeling sick a month ago.

“Initially when I started feeling like I have a fever I was gonna take some medicine and shake this off,” he said. 

A week later, the Joliet barber couldn’t shake it. He was so shaken he went to the hospital.

“They said that they wanted to put me under,” he said. “So I’m like, ‘Put me under what?'”

He went under and then on a ventilator for 13 days.

“I’m 35 years old, like I said, and with no ailments and was on my death bed,” Williams said.

His family was faithful but unable to see him. They wanted to know what room he was in. His nurse asked for pictures of him and his kids to humanize him.

“She put yellow hearts in the window,” Williams said. “So they’s know which window to pray towards when I was under.”

The yellow hearts mean new beginnings.

The nurse’s name was Sonya. He says his care at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in Bolingbrook was outstanding.

According to the family, Williams was the first ventilated COVID-19 patient at that hospital to survive.

A fundraiser for Williams and his family can be found here.

Brad Edwards