Barrie man's challenges one year after surviving battle with COVID-19

One year ago, Brian Gillespie beat the odds and left the hospital after a gruelling three-month fight with COVID-19.

The Barrie man survived a 45-day coma, a heart attack, and his lungs collapsing four times for a second chance at life.

"I was very optimistic leaving the hospital because, in a very short amount of time, I come from a person who couldn't move at all to a person that could stand and walk," he says.

His wife, Jill, says she will never forget the day he left the hospital.

"When he came out of the hospital in his wheelchair and being able to touch him for the first time, that was the best feeling ever," she recalls.

While Gillespie is grateful to be alive, he says his life is different after his battle, with unexpected challenges.

"I'm learning, first off, that I have much more limitations than I did in the past."

He explains not being able to lift anything heavy or walk for more than 20 to 30 minutes without feeling exhausted.

"My lungs are damaged for life. They will never be what they were. My breathing ability is pretty limited."

His life-changing experience with COVID-19 has impacted his mental health as well.

"Depression has become a bigger part of my life than it's ever been," he admits. "I don't meet the challenges that I anticipate that I should be able to meet."

But Gillespie remains determined to get his life back to a sense of normalcy.

"I've even started going back to work on a limited basis. I work from home," he says.

The Barrie man plans to head back to work in the office when he's able and looks forward to spending in-person time with friends and family.