Businessman Lee Sims has spoken of his incredible recovery from coronavirus – and praised the NHS staff working on the front-line.
The 43-year-old was admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital on April 3. He had been drained of energy and sweating a high fever for the previous 11 days and later developed a cough.
He spent five days at the Royal Stoke being being discharged – and enjoyed his first bike ride this week.
Now Lee – who runs music management firm RF Music with friend Rob Fiddaman – has told what life is really like on ward 233.
He said: “It was around lunchtime on April 3 that my wife got in touch with 111 and they sent paramedics. I’d been ill for 11 days before that. I had a fever, felt dreadful, really tired, and then the cough came on.
“That’s what worried my wife more. I started to cough, then I was coughing up much more towards the date she phoned the ambulance.
“Through the 11 days I text my friends because everybody was doing virtual house parties and quizzes and I just wasn’t well enough. Then it just ebbed and flowed for about 11 days but got worse towards the end of the 11 days.
“I had a temperature of 39.3C when they took me, so the fever was raging.
Lee wrote on Facebook:
Nearly two weeks out of hospital now. To get back on my bike this morning felt incredible. I felt alive again.
I want to say a big thank you to the many people that cared for me during my 6-day stay in hospital. From the paramedics that took me in, the A&E staff, the nurses and doctors on the Covid-19 ward, our very own Pamela Rushton and finally the amazing people on ward 233, Royal Stoke University Hospital.
With the full set of PPE, I don’t have faces to remember and with a fever raging I wasn’t really sure what the hell was going on for the first few days. However I do remember Emilee on ward 233 and the amazing dedication and unbelievable cheerful attitude she showed.
The most humbling part and one that still brings a tear to my eye when I think of it. As three of us were discharged, Emilee gave us all a gift to take home. She gave US a gift.
Protect the NHS now and forever. Stay safe.
“The paramedics were fantastic. They were funny and put my mind at ease as I was very worried and my wife was very worried. Obviously she couldn’t come with me.
“When we got to the hospital the paramedics told me to prepare myself as the hospital doesn’t look like it normally looks. There are screens everywhere and people in full protective clothing.
“As we got inside we came to an area with this standing desk and a computer and we had to stop at this and then someone came out in full PPE and did a handover with the paramedics.
“As we went through it was really scary. There are all these signs, ‘you are now entering a red zone’. It’s like a movie set. Like you’re in Contagion, it was just like being in that. It was surreal.
“I was on oxygen from when I got in the ambulance, 15 litres an hour I think, which is quite a lot. They put a central line in for a drip and I was on paracetamol. I had two bags, saline solution and a bag of antibiotics.
“The doctors and nurses were just incredible. You could see how busy it was in A&E but you could see they knew exactly what they were doing. They were so focused. There was a tape line on the floor, and anybody who went over that had to go through a procedure and put a new apron on and wash their hands.
“On the Covid-19 assessment ward there was a really serious atmosphere.
“The coronavirus test was awful. When I had the swab, I coughed with it as it hit the back of my throat. I had a shiver go down my spine but there was nothing I could do about it and to think that the nurse was so close. It was just dreadful.
“I genuinely can’t get my head around what they are facing each day. It’s insane.”
Lee, from Stoke, has taken two weeks to fully recover following his discharge.
He added: “I’ve practically been asleep since I came out. I went for a bike ride to Westport Lake and back this week and I just felt amazing. I actually sat on a bench for a minute, just contemplating everything that had happened.”