When Paddy-Joe Lynch went into hospital almost two weeks ago, he had convinced himself he wouldn't be coming back out.
At 82, with several underlying health issues, he was well aware the odds were stacked against him. He had tested positive for Covid-19, a virus that does its worst when it comes for the elderly.
"I was convinced that it was it for me," he told the Irish Independent.
"I can't tell you how afraid I was. When I was told I had tested positive I couldn't believe it.
"I was on the ward and the next thing they covered me up and brought me up to the isolation unit. I didn't think I would make it. I said: 'That's it, this is the end of the line now for me.' I prayed a lot and I had a lot of people praying for me."
It's been almost two weeks since Paddy-Joe, a retired farmer and builder from Ballinameen, Boyle, Co Roscommon, first started to feel unwell.
He had taken his tractor to the bog to collect turf when he started to experience pains in his chest. After returning home to the house he shares with his daughter Nicola and her husband Johnny, things started to get progressively worse. What followed was a serious of frantic calls between Nicola, her sister Connie and their niece Anne.
"Nicola called Nowdoc and an ambulance was sent immediately," said Connie.
"Daddy was taken into hospital that night and immediately isolated. He had a temperature and chest pains and he told me he had never felt pain like it in his life.
"The doctors treated him like he had the virus straight away.
"He was tested and the result came back several days later saying he was positive. We were extremely concerned at that point."
Inside Sligo University Hospital, while being cared for by a team of "fantastic" nurses, Paddy-Joe began to contemplate the battle he was up against with the virus.
"I was thinking about dying in there alone," he said.
"That was really worrying me because you die on your own with this. Your family cannot see you, they can't be with you in the end.
"You can't have a proper funeral and all those things were going through my mind when I was lying in there.
"I said to the doctor: 'I'm finished now.'
"Everything had been going well before for me you see. I had been doing bits of work here and there and then this came on to me and I thought: 'Right, my time is up.'"
While the nurses at Sligo University Hospital did all they could to reassure him, back at home Paddy-Joe's family circle rallied to improve morale.
"He had the conversation about dying with me," said Connie. "I knew he was scared and worried. All we could do was try and keep his spirits up with the calls and the texts and the visits in through the window. Every person in the family played a role. I have six siblings, one of whom passed away last year, and we all did our bit between visits and calls.
"Daddy's seven grandkids and three great grandkids rallied as well. It was so important to keep him positive."
As the days went by, Paddy-Joe, although extremely weakened, continued to put up a brave fight. "It really floored me," he said.
"I slept through a lot of it because I was so weak, and I thought I was coming near the end."
On Wednesday morning, the Lynch family received news they had been hoping for, but were surprised to hear.
"He rang me at around 9.30 and he said: 'I'm getting home'," said Connie.
"The past few days the doctors had said he was doing incredibly well. They said he was fighting it off like a teenager, but he still couldn't believe it when they told him it was safe for him to go home."
In a triumphant exit from hospital on Wednesday, Paddy-Joe was pictured being wheeled through the exit doors of the hospital by a nurse, his hand held high in the air as he celebrated.
"We couldn't be happier, more thankful, or prouder," said Connie.
"We are so thankful for the healthcare staff who helped him beat this virus. He's back home and he has HSE guidelines to stick to so he's staying in his own corner.
"He is so happy to be back in his own space. He said he has his electric blanket there and he is happy to be in his own bed.
"He lives in the country so he can go out and sit in his garden to get some fresh air and he is so relieved.
"He has a smile that goes right up to his eyes and it's back."
For his granddaughter Anne, a frontline worker in University Hospital Galway, Paddy-Joe's return home has an added poignance.
"I've seen first-hand how bad things get with this virus," she said.
"For him to beat it, at his age, with his underlying health issues, is nothing short of miraculous.
"He is a tough man, a hard worker and he is always on the go, but he was frightened by this and so were we. We are just so glad that he is home, that he is in better health and we want him to continue on that path."
Back home in Ballinameen, Paddy-Joe was last night enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
He dabbles in writing and hopes to get back to writing poetry in the comfort of familiar surroundings.
"I'm beyond delighted to be home," he said.
"I just want people to know there is always hope. I know a lot of people my age are awful worried about this.
"They are frightened because they think if they get it, they will die.
"When I first heard I had this virus, I never thought I would live to tell the story of how I beat it. I did beat it and there is no better feeling in the world right now."