A 76-year-old man who spent 81 days in hospital in Lincoln has now recovered from coronavirus and wanted to say a big thank you to the staff who saved his life.
Frank William Smith, who is known by his friends and family as Billy, was admitted to Lincoln County Hospital on April 13 with respiratory issues.
Within a few days of being in hospital, he was given a test for coronavirus which came back positive.
Frank spent a lot of time under a ventilator and, after 81 days in hospital, including 71 in ICU and time on the Navenby and Carlton/Coleby Wards, he tested negative for the virus and was discharged to return home on July 2.
He told The Lincolnite that when he was first admitted he had nightmares to start with after catching sight of people on the COVID-19 ward dressed with full masks and visors.
Once he started to meet the staff, he soon realised how good the nurses were and he became friends with two of the physiotherapists named Alex and James.
He recalls being told that he nearly lost his life and will be forever grateful to the staff that saved him.
He said: “I can’t say enough about these people. The nurses and doctors were brilliant, and everyone there deserves a medal for working with this COVID-19 as it is evil. It was scary to be laid there thinking there is nothing I can do.
“They thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I’m an awkward sod and thought this isn’t going to beat me and I just carried on and let staff do what they needed to do. I lost my voice for a while due to a tracheostomy so had to communicate through writing until a few weeks before I came home.”
It was a scary time for both Frank and his wife Maria, who have been together for 13 years and married for just over 12 months.
Frank added: “I feel a bit weak now, but I am getting there. They have given me a four-wheeled stroller to use and it feels super [to be reunited with Maria]. She was the only one allowed in ICU as a visitor, but it is amazing to be home again with her.”
It was a stressful time for Maria, who was ringing the hospital every day for the first three months to get updates on her husband’s condition.
She said the first month was very critical and at one point it didn’t look like Frank was going to survive.
Maria also started to get symptoms of the virus with a high temperature, so then had to self isolate and stay at home, but quickly felt better again and is now “over the moon” to have her husband home.
She said: “It makes me so happy that he is alive and I couldn’t imagine life without him, he is an amazing man.
“He recalls staff saying he nearly died twice and has praised staff, in particular those on the ICU unit, the COVID-19 nurses, and the physiotherapists Alex and James. He also remembers a nurse on his first day called Julia who was very good and he is thankful to everyone.”