6 July 2021

Living with long covid

Follow the story of Shirley, mum of three and grandmother to seven who has been treated in hospital for 158 days:

My birthday was on 12 February, and I was so happy as I had just had my first Covid-19 vaccine after shielding for a year.

I had been feeling a bit short of breath, and on 14 February I was rushed into the General Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Catch up with Shirley on BBC News

“I was diagnosed with double pneumonia and a chest infection, and after two and half week, we discussed this was caused by coronavirus.

I was placed in an induced coma for five weeks. The staff told me that I died twice, and they had to save my life.

One thing that I do remember, is that you can still hear while in a coma. The nurses put the phone to my ear and my daughter Jessica was on the other end. She said to me ‘Mum, you’ve got to fight this, we can’t lose you’.

And that stuck in my brain and got me through. My love for my children, because they are my world and I could never leave them behind.

When I woke up I was attached to so many machines. I couldn’t speak so the nurses had to lip read, and the physiotherapists had to teach me how to walk again.

I was lying in the bed unable to move, but thanks to the physiotherapists, who have been absolutely amazing, I can now walk unaided.

I want to thank all the staff here from the bottom of my heart.

They are like my family now. Everyone, from the doctors, nurses, physios, technicians, speech therapists, tracheostomy teams, kitchen staff and health care assistants have all been so wonderful to me and nothing is ever too much.

I’m planning to walk 5km for Southampton Hospitals Charity to give back to the NHS. If it wasn’t for the staff, I wouldn’t be here. There is nothing that I can do that will ever be enough to say thank you.”

Catch Shirley’s full story on BBC News on 6 July 2021, 6.00pm.

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