By Liz Crudgington
A Ramsgate carer who has spent more than 150 days in hospital after developing Covid-19 is one step closer to going home.
Alan Finch has finally been discharged from the intensive care unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, and transferred to Harvey Ward at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital for rehabilitation.
It marks the next phase of his recovery, which has seen him battle sepsis and pneumonia, and spend two months in a coma.
Alan’s partner Claire Wickham said: “The hospital and the whole NHS has been amazing. Twice we had to say our goodbyes but twice they got him back.
“The difference in him now is fantastic. From being in a coma and so poorly, then being unable to speak or move, he can now talk to us and we almost have the old Alan back.
“He still has a long way to go, and he needs to work on his lungs and his mobility, but it’s fantastic to see the progress he has made and he is so positive about his future.”
Alan, who celebrated his 49th birthday in hospital, was first admitted in January after the couple both fell ill with Covid-19.
While Claire recovered quickly, Alan’s condition suddenly deteriorated and, just one day after being taken to hospital, he was moved to intensive care and put in an induced coma.
When he came round, two months later, staff had to wean him off the ventilator and teach him how to speak, swallow and move.
She said: “The staff couldn’t do enough for him and we are so thankful.
“Seeing Coco really helped, and when the restrictions were lifted I was able to see him for an hour a day.
“I travelled in the ambulance with him when he was moved to the Kent and Canterbury and it was very emotional saying goodbye to the QEQM team. They have been so amazing and they saved his life.
“Now he has to do this next step and hopefully then he will be able to come home.”
Claire, who works in retail, was comforted by the story of Jim Beverton, who was also transferred from critical care to the rehab ward at Canterbury, and is now continuing his recovery at home with his family.
She said: “Alan has been in hospital longer than Jim was but they have very similar stories and it’s lovely knowing he was able to walk out of hospital.
“The past six months have been so hard but I think you just go onto autopilot to survive.
“My mum and dad have been brilliant, as have our friends, and everyone has been willing Alan to get better.
“We can’t thank the whole hospital team enough for everything they have done to get him to this point.”
Alan is expected to spend several weeks undergoing intensive rehabilitation before he is able to go home.
Claire said: “No one knows exactly when he will be able to come home but they are doing everything they can and he is so determined to get better.
“I can’t thank the staff enough for their kindness – they always go the extra mile and never mind explaining everything to me, no matter how many times I call.
“Everyone wants him to get better so he can come home.”