ST. LOUIS ( -- A 29-year-old was released from the hospital after months of medical care for COVID-19 complications. Joshua Miller has been near death and hooked up to a machine for weeks. He finally said goodbye to St. Luke's Hospital staff in west St. Louis County on Friday.

"One day I caught a fever and a week later I was in the emergency room ... and life forever changed," Joshua Miller said.

Miller and his wife Brittany moved to St. Louis from Arizona in November and "within two days of living in our big empty house I was dropping him off at the hospital," Brittany said. 

Joshua Miller was close to death was put on an ECMO machine which basically takes over for your lungs. "There is no better word to describe this than terror. Just sheer terror," Brittany Miller said. 

St. Louis Officer Dave Tenorio was on the same machine last year. Tenorio was on it for 10 days. Joshua Miller was on the machine for 60 days. It's been a very rough ride and to boost his morale, Tenorio would visit Joshua Miller.

"[Tenorio] was able to take some of that hopelessness and to give me hope that my life will go back to normal," Joshua Miller said.

Tenorio was among the well-wishers as Joshua Miller left the hospital Friday. "I was just very grateful I was able to talk to him a little bit," Tenorio said. 

Months in a hospital bed near death - often cut off from family - the little things in life became big things like a simple visit from one of the family dogs.

"They walked her to the door and I started crying like crazy just because I missed my dog," Joshua Miller said. "There are very few things in this world that brings you more comfort than your dog."

According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, more than 18,900 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from local hospitals. 

"To see somebody that everybody was rooting for and so young, to see them get through something like this is a major morale booster for all the staff," Jeremy Leidenfrost with St. Luke's said. 

"After everything that's happened, being able to spend even one more minute with my loved ones is the greatest gift in the world because I was this close to not having that any more," Joshua Miller said. He will now start on physical therapy.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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