A COVID-19 patient who was seriously ill has received the best Christmas present – he’s going home this evening after 120 days in hospital.
Vic Sharrard, 69, has spent four months at Walsall Manor Hospital, during which time he was in a coma for over six weeks.
The grandfather of two from Hednesford admits he couldn’t have wished for anything better after being poorly for so long.
“I can’t wait to go home,” said an emotional Vic, who used to be a goalkeeper for Willenhall Town, Stourbridge and Chasetown after starting and finishing his career at Hednesford Town. “It really is the best Christmas present I could wish for.
“I’m looking forward to seeing my family and neighbours. It will be wonderful to catch up with them again.”
Vic and his wife Pat will be spending Christmas Day with son Liam and his wife-to-be Aimee.
Pat said: “It couldn’t be a better day for Vic to come home – he loves Christmas. The care he has had, especially on ICU, has been absolutely exceptional.
“As a family, we could not have got through this without their professionalism – it’s been absolutely superb.”
The retired lorry driver, a father of two, was admitted on 26 August with a chest infection which developed into pneumonia before he contracted the virus.
Vic, who has underlying health conditions, was soon transferred to intensive care. He has also been on a ventilator and had a tracheostomy and believes if he hadn’t been double vaccinated he would have died.
After waking from a coma, he finally started to improve. Recently he had a visit from son Liam’s French bulldog Ralph who he and Pat take for walks three times a week and has even been treated to a Kentucky Fried Chicken takeaway meal as he started to regain his strength and an appetite.
After so long in a hospital bed, Vic had to undergo physiotherapy to learn to use his arms and legs again and is indebted to the care he has received. After stepping down from ICU he went to Ward 17 where he has been supported by the outreach team which has seen him every day.
It’s all a far cry from Vic’s footballing days, when he was goalkeeper for Willenhall in arguably their biggest ever game, the FA Cup first round against Crewe in 1981.
Former team-mates John Winwood from Hednesford and Brian Fox from Willenhall have co-ordinated goodwill messages for him, and another old footballing connection helped keep him going too.
Vic is godfather to Daniel Peck, the son of one of his old Willenhall team-mates Bob Peck, and Daniel, who works in theatres at the Manor, used to visit him in ICU in the absence of family being able to see him and provide updates for the family.
“I think I ‘died’ once or twice and up to three weeks ago I was still flat in bed and couldn’t raise my arms,” he recalled. “Thankfully after a week I could raise my arms right up.
“Everyone has been great to me – I can’t thank them enough, especially ‘Pink Hair’ (Senior Sister Critical Care Rehabilitation Xana Marriott) and the two ladies who gave me a kiss when I was still on ICU! Everyone has all tried their hardest to keep me alive and look after me the best they can.”
He added, holding his hands about four feet apart, “If I had to thank everyone, I would have a list this long.”