Young dad who almost died of Covid raises cash to help Milton Keynes Hospital save more lives
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Nick Clark is full of praise for the hospital, where the nurses lined the corridor and applauded him as he was wheeled out of the ward to go home.
He said: "There is no sum of money that could pay for the care I received and I’ll be forever grateful to MKUH and all of the staff that cared and continue to care for me."
Nick became ill at the end of March and the virus affected him so badly that he was convinced he was going to die.
"I started to make video calls telling friends and family how much I love them, saying goodnight and see you on the other side...A little later, there were three anaesthetists in the room explaining what was going to happen and I remember asking them not to forget about me.
"I remember one of them firmly holding my hand saying 'I promise I will look after you. Everything is going to be okay, I promise. You’re in the best possible care. Think of something really nice'
"There were bright lights and doctors and nurses shouting “Nick, Nick, come on Nick”. Having spent nine days fighting for my life, I was awake."
Due to lockdown restrictions, Nick's wife Sarah and their daughter Matilda were unable to see him, and were reliant upon phoning the ward for progress reports. Nick vividly remembers the first time he was conscious enough to take Sarah's call.
"The phone rang and the doctor answered 'Intensive Care', quickly followed by 'Hello Sarah, my love' whilst looking at me. My eyes filled with tears. Having lost a third of muscle mass, I was incredibly weak not even able to hold my mobile phone.
"I asked the nurse to turn on my phone, enter my password and prop my phone and I started the video calls. Very few words were exchanged. There were tears everywhere - even the doctors and nurses looking after me were in tears."
Nick lost a third of his muscle mass and needed physio to help him walk again. He was not even strong enough to eat and had to be fed by tube.
But on April 9, he was finally strong enough to be discharged - but his recovery journey was far from over.
"Leaving hospital does not simply mean you’re better, it means you’re at the start of your recovery. Shortly after getting home, I had a breakdown - my daily and weekly activities that were once done without a single thought, had become anxiety-filled daily and weekly goals."
Nick feels the mental recovery should have more focus.
"This recovery process takes far longer and requires you to fully understand what happened, how it happened and why it happened, which is something that is incredibly hard to face...I truly feel that there will be a surge in mental health referrals in months or years to come as a result of Covid-19."
He published his moving story on a fundraising page, asking for donations for the MK hospital charity. As a result, this month he was able to present the hospital with a cheque for £1887.82.
The money will be spent on support for staff, including care packs and wellbeing hubs, as well as mobile phones, newspapers and special comfort items for patients. It will also help support the post-Covid teams such Physiotherapy, Mental Health and the Deep Vein Thrombosis Clinic
A hospital spokesman said: "We truly value each and every donation. Thank you."
Meanwhile Nick, who was fit and healthy before catching the virus, is urging everybody never to think they are immune and to follow the government's Covid regulations and guidelines to the letter.
He said: "It’s easy to think it won’t happen to you but Covid does not discriminate. I cannot emphasise enough for people to take the government guidelines seriously."