“It was incredibly overwhelming,” David said, “It was awesome and something I didn’t expect. Everyone has been incredibly supportive throughout the time I’ve been unwell.”
The 62 year old spent six weeks in hospital in April last year after contracting coronavirus, which not only threatened his life but was completely debilitating longer term.
David recalls: “I’d tested positive for COVID-19 the week before I went into hospital. However, five days later I saw my brother, who also works for NWAS as a paramedic, he took one look at me and phoned an ambulance.
“From that point I don’t remember much at all. I don’t think I understood how ill I was, or even that I’d been in ICU, until I was being wheeled out on a stretcher with everyone applauding me.”
In reality, David spent five and a half weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Oldham hospital in a critical condition. Fortunately he responded to treatment and was allowed home to continue what would be a long road to recovery. It included a programme of rehabilitation which allowed him to learn to walk again, such were the effects of the virus.
He said: “I’d lost all my strength in hospital, and even standing up and getting to the end of my bed, became a big achievement.
“I’m very thankful of the support I received from the NHS during my recovery, including carers, physiotherapists and consultations with specialists.
“However, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my partner Pauline. She has been amazing and my inspiration. She took time off work to care for me after I’d come out of hospital, slept on the sofa when I had to live downstairs in my own home and was always there behind me ready to hold me up as I practiced walking round the living room with a frame.”
David still has scarring on his lungs and has so far just returned to work alternative duties but still hopes to get back on the road for the Patient Transport Service, in a job that he has done for the last 17 years.
“I’m only on light duties at the moment, which I’m happy to do, but I’m looking forward to getting fully up and running.
“I joined the ambulance service in 2004, before that I’d worked in warehouses and logistics. But this is the best job I’ve ever had, you get to meet so many interesting people, I absolutely love it.
“The last year has been horrific in more ways than one, and hopefully this will be the start of something much more positive”
Welcome back David, great to see you!