After almost three months in Walsall Manor Hospital Covid-19 survivor Keith Holland is looking forward to going back to “my own space” and he finally went home on Saturday.
The Engineering Director was taken ill on 26 March following a normal working day.
“My temperature kept spiking around 39/40 degrees and paracetamol wasn’t helping so my wife Carol called NHS 11 who advised an ambulance was called,” he said.
Keith ended up going into hospital on 30 March and was in the Acute Medical Unit before being moved to the Intensive Care Unit.
The 67-year-old who spent his June birthday in hospital, had seen media coverage of patients on ventilators and became really scared when the critical care team advised that he would need to do so too.
“I really did not want to be put on a ventilator; my first thought was that I’d never survive because the media coverage had been so scary and depressing. But I was told this was going to be the best treatment for me because of how serious my condition was, I was struggling to breathe. About half way through that time my wife received a phone call where she was told I wasn’t expected to live because my condition was so poor. I am very pleased to have proved everyone wrong!”
When Keith had a tracheostomy he remembers waking up with his head on a nurse’s lap, looking up at her. She started to cry as she was so emotional at seeing him come round and Keith says this is just one example of the compassion shown and how dedicated staff were during the pandemic.
“I was cared for by so many good staff and that day, when I saw the nurse in tears it made me realise that not everyone comes round and not everyone is going to make it. The psychological effect of this virus needs to be understood as well as the physical aspect. I must have been hallucinating or imagining things but on one occasion I can remember seeing my son, so vividly, with a trolley. I know now that didn’t happen but to me it was so clear. The rehab team are helping me with the psychological part of my recovery and the physios have been fantastic at helping me to stand and walk.”
Keith has some weakness on his left side and has been cared for on Ward 15 for the last few weeks. He also received care on Ward 17 earlier in May following a short, second spell in ICU. While he was disappointed to be back in ICU from a recovery point of view staff moved his bed outside for a short period so he could see his family which was a real tonic.
“My wife Carol, daughter Steph and her husband Rob, son Dave and daughter-in-law Louise have been such a support and I am really looking forward to being back at home with my family, in my own space, my own surroundings. I’m also really looking forward to seeing my grandchildren Amelia and Toby. I know it’s going to take a while to get back to normal but I’ll always be grateful for all the care I’ve had to get me this far.”
Keith particularly wants to thank Xana Marriott from Critical Care Rehabilitation, physio Ellen Wright and Ward 15 Sister Becky Plant as well as all the staff involved in his care over these past weeks.
His wife Carol added: “I don’t know what I’ve have done without Siobhan Rudd from ICU who acted as family liaison. She was a lovely person and really helped me to understand what was going on at the worst point in my life. That link between the family and the hospital when you’re unable to visit is so important.”