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James' story

It is 12 months since the whole of the country entered the very first Lockdown due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a situation no-one had ever experienced before – and something we hope we will never see again.

In this series of real short stories, we hear from ordinary Wirral people about events that affected them this past year. 

This is James with his account of suddenly falling very ill and being hospitalised with the virus:

“At the beginning of the new year, my wife noticed I had a little cough. I went and got tested, but the next morning I woke up feeling awful; I couldn’t get out of bed, had no energy and couldn’t eat. In the back of my mind, I knew I’d got the virus, so the test result wasn’t a surprise. 

“I consider myself a healthy person and I wanted to stay strong, mentally and physically. But a few days after my results, I got a stitch-like feeling that stretched across my stomach. It was so painful, it took my breath away and left me bent double.  

“To be on the safe side, we called an ambulance and I was taken to Arrowe Park hospital where I was checked over. I was then sent home with an oxygen saturation monitor and told to check my levels – if they dropped below 90, I was told to come back. The next morning, they had dipped to 88.  

“When I arrived back at hospital it was a lot busier - there was about a two-hour wait in the ambulance and that was before even getting in the door.” 

James spent the next four days on a regular ward, but his condition worsened he was then moved into intensive care for a further 10 days. He was told if his oxygen levels dropped below 80, he’d be put on a ventilator. 

“This was the harsh reality of my situation and a real motivator to do all I could to recover.  

“My health eventually did improve and I was in hospital for about another 10 days. I went home at the start of February. I’m still recovering now, but thankfully I am feeling stronger all the time.  

“I think I have blocked out some of the time in ICU as it was a tough experience and not one I’d like to go through again. One morning, a man who’d been in the bed next to mine was gone when I woke up – he hadn’t made it through the night. When I came out, I learned that a close friend of ours had been in the same ward as me, but not survived.  

“I still get overwhelmed now just doing everyday things at home - it’s an emotional thing to go through.  

“My advice to everyone is, if you have symptoms, even light ones, don’t ignore them – it can get worse if you leave it. Get tested.”

More stories will be shared in the coming days.

For more information on COVID-19 testing in Wirral, visit wirral.gov.uk/test.