ST. LOUIS — Three miles.
That was the distance James Ross was trying to work his way back to.
And he's done it.
"I'm doing my walking," Ross said. "I got my friends I walk with every other day."
It's been a little more than a month since Ross last spoke with 5 On Your Side, just days after being released from the hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19.
"I was having nightmares when I first got out of the hospital," Ross said. "I would always dream of me pulling the tube out of my throat."
Ross, who was intubated for several days, nearly lost his life to COVID-19 after mild breathing troubles convinced him to get tested for the virus. Since his recovery, he said his gratitude has only grown.
"I've had eight people die from COVID that I know personally," Ross said. "When the doctor told me that my lungs were in such bad shape and asked who I wanted to call to administer my last rights, that sticks with me. I think about it every time because, like, when my friends and people I know died, it makes me ask 'God, why me? Why did your grace come to me?'
In the month since he returned home, Ross said he's sheltered in place and wears a mask while practicing social distancing for the few trips he does make out of his home.
"Going through it and coming out pretty good on the other side," Ross said. "I'm just not going to take a chance."
Ross also donated his blood to the hospital where he was treated in north St. Louis County.
"The hospital called and said they would like for me to donate blood because my plasma would be a great opportunity for someone who's going through COVID," Ross said.
Ross said he battled with the decision because of his faith. He said he's heard many faith leaders deem blood donations as "not Biblical". However, he said he is a Christian and made his decision after thoughtful prayer.
"I really want to treat people right and I want to of service and I want to help," Ross said. "That was the reason why.”
Despite feeling well physically and even being able to help others, Ross admits COVID's impact on his life is far from over.
His son is a graduating senior, and like thousands of others, will have to adjust his plans to celebrate.
"It's jacked up," Ross said. "As a parent, I was looking forward to seeing him walk across the stage."
However, Ross said his son is handling it well.
"He's real cool," Ross said. "He's been kind of nonchalant about it. He just kind of says it is what it is."
As St. Louis and St. Louis County begin re-opening Monday, Ross said he plans to keep doing what he's been doing.
"I'm going to Schnucks to buy me a pack of Bologna and I'm coming home and to cook myself," Ross said. "I'm not going anywhere.
Ross said he isn't sure how long it will take or even what he would have to see or hear to feel comfortable.
"I'm messed up right now," Ross said. "I think I'm messed up for some years."
Ross, who's YouTube channel highlights footage and interviews with celebrities and musicians who perform in St. Louis, said he has some hesitations about going back to work when performances resume.
"I'm afraid, when concert season is back, how I will react," Ross said.
While Ross said he doesn't feasibly see large-scale concerts and entertainment venues going back to normal in the foreseeable future, he said he would need to be able to stay at a comfortable distance while he is working to feel safe.
"As afraid as I was when I first went in, I'm not taking any chances," Ross said.
As he continues to use precautions and urge others to heed warnings from officials about virus, Ross said his focus is on supporting his son and continuing to grow stronger and healthier.
Which, of course, includes hitting his three miles as much as possible.