RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – After spending last Christmas unconscious in WakeMed’s COVID-19 intensive care unit, a Johnston County man is grateful to be home with his family this year.

Greg Driver is grateful — grateful to be working, grateful for his family, grateful, he says, “for every breath I take.”

This time last year, he wasn’t breathing on his own. He was in WakeMed’s COVID-19 ICU.

When he came down with the virus in November 2020, he didn’t worry. He’s in his early 50s with no medical conditions.

“Honestly, I didn’t get sick most of my life,” he said.

This time he kept getting sicker. Within about a week, he was in the hospital.

“I could see the nurses’ faces, and they were worried, so we had a conversation that I might not make it,” he recalled.

He never allowed himself to think the worst, even though he ultimately needed a ventilator

“My faith is strong,” he said.

He was unconscious for nearly a month. When he woke, he was thankful to be alive, but his body was weak.

“We take for granted getting up and walking. I couldn’t walk when I got up,” he explained. “I couldn’t talk either.”

He spent more than three months in the hospital, from November 22, 2020, to March 3, 2021.

“We didn’t have Christmas until I got home in March, so they still had the trees up,” he said. “They kept the faith the entire time.”

This year he’s looking forward to celebrating on Christmas Day.

“All those things we take for granted, Christmas is a good time to recognize those. Those are blessings,” he said.

While he’s grateful to be home from the hospital, he goes back often to thank the nurses and doctors who cared for him for all that time. For them, the battle against COVID-19 isn’t over.

“They give it all they have; they fight hard,” he said. “They’re part of our family now.”