A family story of life beginning, enduring and ending during COVID

Submitted by Michelle
Administrator for Physiotherapy

Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

My story begins last spring when my daughter was at the end of her first pregnancy. It was a daunting experience for her to go through in a lockdown and we had to come to terms with the new rules and that meant that I could not be with her when she gave birth as only her partner was allowed.

It was strange to just be going to appointments on her own and just being dropped at the door of the hospital – a grown woman but still my girl and wanting support from me.

All the staff that she saw during her pregnancy and especially the birth were very reassuring and understanding of her anxieties and even though they could not do anything about it they helped to make the experience the best they could for her. Our gorgeous Grandson was born at the beginning of June and we were so proud of the little family and the new addition to our family. Our little Grandson has been an absolute joy and helped us through the toughest year we have ever experienced.

Special thanks to the Maternity Ward staff and the Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Team.

At Christmas, my whole family all tested positive with Covid -19. Throughout the year we had kept everyone safe, which had not been easy due to many key workers within the family bubble. My husband and mother were in high risk categories with underlying health conditions. My father although over 70 did not seem to be a high risk as he was very fit and active. Our symptoms slowly got worse over the days and by early January we needed assistance from Ambulance crews and our GP.

My dad and husband, were taken to Worthing Hospital and both spent time in the ICU ward. My husband returned home after eight days and is still slowly recovering from Covid.

My beloved dad, stayed in ICU and was put on a ventilator. The staff on Beacon Ward worked so hard to care for all the patients on the ward at that busy time and also they kept in touch with us (the family) and took our daily phone calls to find out any updates. Shortly it became apparent that there were too many patients in hospital and too many family members calling in each day so we were told that someone would call us everyday to update us.

We were contacted by a team running a program called ‘Knowing Me’. This was put in place to arrange some added comfort for critical patients on ICU, as we were not allowed to visit. The team collected family pictures, voice notes, music and videos to be played to Dad while he was on the ventilator.

They gathered information about him and what he was like before he got ill – he was very fit and active and loved walking and gardening. They put photos up around his bed of him and his family so that the staff could talk to him about things that were familiar to him. We were overwhelmed by the messages of support we received wishing him well, mainly from his beloved Brighton and Hove Albion FC, sporting legends, and dads’ favourite entertainment personalities from over the years.

Dad was so well looked after at Worthing Hospital where all the staff are under such pressure. I cannot imagine how hard it is for them to work in those conditions, seeing such devastation and having to try and return to their families for downtime with the fear of ending up in the same situation as their patients.

Sadly we said our final goodbye to our wonderful dad in early February, the day before his 74th birthday.

The wonderful team at ICU – Worthing hospital were lovely to us and they treated our Dad with compassion and dignity. He battled 27 days on the ventilator but devastatingly could not recover.

We have been fundraising for the ‘Love Your Hospital’ Charity, raising almost £4,000 and will continue this in Dad’s name as we are still ever grateful for the staff and for all they are doing.

Thank you for taking the time to read My Story.  Any donations you may be able to offer would be very much appreciated. Love Your Hospital provide vital funds to support hospital projects

Here are some of the NHS heroes who helped us through our most difficult time using the iPads to keep in contact with us.

There are so many staff to mention it would not be fair to single anyone out but I wish to thank all the staff in A&E, the Emergency Floor, Beacon Ward, Physiotherapists and all ICU Staff.

My colleagues in the Physiotherapy department have been so supportive and understanding and I cannot thank them enough, I would however like to give a special mention to and thanks to Amelia Palmer, Carla Price and my line manager Hayley Fairclough.

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