NHS angels saved me from coronavirus

Medical personnel in protective suits await arrival of possible Covid-10 infections (Jewish News)
Medical personnel in protective suits await arrival of possible Covid-10 infections (Jewish News)

I survived the virus.

Late Sunday evening after having difficulty breathing for a number of days, Suzie called the ambulance. When it arrived, two very special and very brave men entered our home.

They carried out as many tests as they could and immediately felt that the virus was attacking my lungs and that I needed to be immediately hospitalised.

I was taken to Watford General at speed with lights flashing as we quickly weaved our way through Watford at 1am and into an assessment ward full of other patients like me where nurses and doctors were wearing full PPE including gowns; double thick gloves; head covering; masks and goggles.

They were protecting themselves, rightly so, from this deadly virus and people like me.

I had a chest x-ray; ECG; bloods were taken and oxygen was provided all from the bed I was laying on.

None of this moving you around and queuing. No time wasted here. There was an emergency and the NHS staff were fully prepared for it.

I am sure that there have been frustrating times for them awaiting protective equipment or being short staffed but none of that showed through to me as a patient scared for my life.

After a few hours of assessments and results being returned, I was taken to a large ward with numerous bays on the 5th floor and here I entered the scariest place I have ever been.

Numerous nurses and doctors also fully protected in PPE who every time that they saw a patient changed their main gloves; washed the ones remaining; put new gloves on and changed their aprons. This was dangerous times for them. You could see that they were very hot and uncomfortable and were communicating with each other and their patients in a difficult way through a thick mask.

Here I was provided with the most amazing and special care and support from nurses and doctors who only wanted you to get better and leave their hospital walking tall; better and stronger.

I was provided with oxygen to help me breathe and very strong antibiotics. Every 20 minutes they checked on me making sure I was breathing ok and they took the usual tests to make sure everything was working through and the virus was being attacked by the aggressive antibiotics they gave me.

The corona virus is new; silent and deadly and difficult to manage as not much is known.

The “angel” nurses and doctors are not giving up and are fighting back as hard as they can.

They are special; caring people who are putting their own lives at risk to save others and working in the most difficult environments.

My time in hospital was scary; at times touch-and-go, but at all times I had “angels” around me making sure I survived.

Around me people died and it brought home the stark reality of this place and the fine line between life and death.

I had some real scary moments such as waking up at 3 in the morning not being able to breath and feeling like I was drowning.

I missed Suzie and my boys and girls and little Tay. I was lonely and needed them with me but this cruel disease does not allow that. Even with all the nurses; doctors and other patients around you, you feel lonely and isolated.

After days of strong antibiotics and oxygen I started to feel better.

My breathing was more comfortable and they started weaning me off the oxygen. I arrived on Sunday night and was told by the paramedics that if I had left this any longer there was the real possibility that I would have been taken to the morgue and not to the “angels” who saved me.

I can understand when they say that a victim was fit and healthy. If it attacks your lungs as it did mine and you don’t get to it quickly, it does not matter how fit you are. That’s why it is crucial that you follow Government advice and stay at home unless you must leave for shopping; keep your distance from people and if your body is not working; hurting etc then call an ambulance and don’t become a statistic.

Yesterday afternoon after a number of tests, the doctors felt I had made good progress and as I had not needed oxygen for 10 hrs they were happy to allow me to come home with 7 days worth of the strong antibiotics to keep working through my system.

Suzie and I are now officially on medically required lock down. But it’s worth it to be home; alive and to have amazing home cooking.

I know I am one of the lucky ones.

I saw death around me and I feel for the family and friends who can’t be with their loved ones as they slip away.

There is nothing peaceful about this death.

Many have lost loved ones; can’t bury them and can’t sit Shiva. How cruel is that?

The Thursday thank you clap for the NHS is the least we can do but we can do more even at this difficult time.

Hospital canteens are closed and some nurses and doctors are bringing in their own food but most forget as they prepare to come to work.

If you can take or buy meals for them then please do. They need all the strength they can get.

My good friends Gail and Charles Goldstein’s son Nick Goldstein owns Sushi Dog at Westfield and he has been feeding the nurses and doctors.

Make an NHS meal donation to Sushi Dog. My good friends Michele and Russell Tenzer’s son Oli and daughter in law, Tori have every night taken goody bags to hospitals.

Help them out.

These are just two acts of kindness being shown by the great people of this great country. Whatever you can do will I am sure will be gratefully received.

Tonight we celebrate Shabbat and for many not being able to go to Shul and have the usual Shabbat lunch with their families is just too awful.

Our rabbis are doing the best they can to support our community. Zoom morning services are being provided by the most wonderful rabbis and they are arranging events on line.

It’s at times like this that our community shines through. Many in our community are lonely and isolated and suffering mentally.

I am a trustee of Jami and the amazing work being done by its Chief Executive Laurie Rackind and his team and my good friend Adam Dawson who is Jami’s Chair to help and support those in need is exceptional.

Jami needs your support and can’t be ignored at this most difficult time. Please help Jami.

This virus has affected us in many other ways. People have lost their jobs; their savings; their businesses. All their hard work has been lost.

When the virus please God is behind us lots of us will have to rebuild ourselves and this is where we all need to come together.

I still have a way to go with the virus but I am now not dying. I pray for all your loved ones who may be very unwell and in hospital and I think of you at home and not being with them.

I wish only good times for us all and a Long Life to all those that have lost loved ones.

Stay home; Protect the NHS; Save Lives. I wish all those that are unwell a Rafulah Shalemah.

  • This was originally posted on Richard’s Facebook page
About the Author
Richard Benson is a former Chief Executive of the Community Security trust (CST). He is also president of Tell Mama.
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