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Keith's Story

Keith’s Story

I began to feel unwell on the Monday, needing to sleep on and off throughout the day. I was slightly short of breath but failed to see any connection as I had been triple vaccinated. By Thursday went shopping and was hardly able to make it back to my car.

Come Friday afternoon my breathing had become much worse so I phoned NHS111. I am immune suppressed because of medication for arthritis, the call handler said she was arranging for an emergency ambulance. The ambulance crew done all the checks required and I was blue lighted to hospital.

Upon admission I was moved straight away to the high dependency unit and received oxygen therapy at 60% and told if it dropped any more intubation would possibly take place, I was asked at that point if I wanted to sign a DNR.

I don’t remember much of the following five days apart from being disturbed regularly for blood tests and vital checks. Toward the end of those days my oxygen was gradually reduced and daily chest x rays were carried out, when I was weighed I had lost almost three stone.

A week after admission I was moved to another room on the unit and no longer connected to the large monitor just one giving my pulse and oxygen saturation. The final x ray was done exactly a week after my admission and the doctor saw me on the Saturday to say the covid cobwebs in my lungs had grown in both. This was devastating news as my daughter was visiting at the same time, she looked shocked. However my latest blood tests showed the viral load had in fact reduced even though breathing without oxygen was not possible.

I had hardly eaten for a week but by the Monday I began to feel more like food, even though taking off the mask to get a mouth full is very difficult. The following day I was put on nasal cannula oxygen at 20% and able finally to use the toilet rather than a bed bottle.

My discharge was planned for the Wednesday but on that morning I had breathing problems once again and oxygen upped again. By the evening things had settled down and oxygen was removed, breathing difficult but just about possible.

My son picked me up from hospital on the Thursday afternoon I had serious doubts that it was too soon. I have now been out just over a week and things have not really changed, fatigue, breathing and always tired, I have poor sense of taste and smell. The fact that I have underlying health issues and at seventy two years old I was told my recovery is likely to be a long one.

In total it is four weeks on from the initial infection and I can say in absolute honesty I have never felt so sick, I was so close to death it’s frightening.