DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A North Carolina man who has been in the hospital for more than two months has finally been released and reunited with his family.
Ollie Hendricks, a 58-year-old U.S. Army veteran, caught COVID-19 in early April. He said he felt body aches for a few days before waking up with a fever of 103.9 degrees Fahrenheit. He has fought a long, difficult battle with the virus.
"Probably about a month and a half ago, things didn't look good for me," Hendricks said. "It's really hard, to be honest, it's hard."
Durham VA Healthcare System said Hendricks went through several stays in the intensive care unit. He also needed in-patient occupational and physical rehabilitation.
"Four weeks ago, I couldn't do nothing for myself," Hendricks said. "At one time, I had doubts in my mind, 'would I ever walk again?' When you have doubts like that, the only thing you can do is pray. The only thing you can do is pray to God. And I prayed to God, and I'm here today."
Durham VA medical staff organized a special farewell Friday to celebrate his discharge from the hospital.
Doctors, nurses and other staff members gathered around the hospital's entrance. They showered the patient with balloons and cheers as he made his way out of the hospital and into the arms of his loved ones.
Hendricks was surpised with a hug from two of his family members, including one of his 10 grandchildren.
Now that he is able to go home, Hendricks said he planned to spend the Fourth of July holiday barbecuing with his family and making his special ribs.
More than 57,000 people in North Carolina have contracted COVID-19 since it first made its way to the Tar Heel state in March. In those three months, the virus has killed more than 1,200 people in North Carolina, more than 124,000 in the United States, and approximately 500,000 around the world.
"Corona, people need to start taking it seriously, because--I'm going to live, but it can kill you," Hendricks said. "I stared death in the face, but by the grace of God, I am so blessed."