By Liz Crudgington
‘A million pounds would not be enough to thank the NHS staff who saved my life.’
So said great-grandmother Jean Williams, who spent six weeks at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate with Covid-19.
The 74 year old was also found to have a potentially life-threatening blood clot caused by the virus, but is now recovering at home in Westgate with husband Peter.
As well as thanking the staff from East Kent Hospitals who cared for her, particularly on Fordwich ward, she has a message for people who are reluctant to follow the rules and guidance designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
She said: “I cannot fault the staff. They were absolutely wonderful, they really were, and they were the ones who pulled me through. If I had a million pounds, I don’t think that would be enough to give them to say thank you.
“I wish people who don’t want to wear a mask, who don’t want to do as they are told, could go in and see what happens on the wards, and to have a go at wearing the CPAP masks (continuous positive airway pressure).
“Try it on and see how it feels to be confined like that. Watch what happens in the ward. Then they might see how silly they are being and that they are spreading the virus and more people will end up getting sick.”
Jean, who has three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild, does not know where she caught the virus.
Although Peter also tested positive, he was fortunate not to become seriously ill. But as Jean’s condition deteriorated, her GP advised her to go to the hospital.
She said: “I don’t remember a lot of the first few days. It was difficult not being able to see my husband and family but I knew they were willing me on.
“But the staff were absolutely wonderful, and were so encouraging. They made us feel good for every tiny achievement.
“When they told me my latest blood test results meant I could come off the mask, a cheer went up around the bay I was in.”
Sadly, some patients in Jean’s ward did not recover, despite the best efforts of the hospital staff – a fact that makes her even more grateful that she was able to go home.
She said: “There is nothing I can say to reflect how much their care meant to me. They work tremendously hard, they are always on the go, but whatever you want they will go and get it for you – even if it’s the middle of the night.
“I still need 24-hour oxygen but I feel a lot better in myself and I am so pleased to be home.
“I am walking around the flat with a walker; they have said it is going to be a long recovery but I will definitely get there.
“I won’t sit about and vegetate, I shall carry on doing my craft and I will get back to my old life in the end.”
Jean is one of more than 4,600 people who have been discharged from East Kent Hospitals after being treated for Covid-19.