Bill's story

I was admitted to the Conquest Hospital on 18th December 2010 with breathing problems (I had been to my GP a few days earlier with a chest infection).

On arrival I was checked over and then rushed to ITU and put into bed 5 (isolation room) as it was thought I may have contracted Swine flu, I was placed under sedation and ventilated (it would be for a couple of day my wife was told) following tests, it showed I had Community acquired double Pneumonia, Sepsis and Multiple organ failure, I was put on a ventilator for the next 19 days, which was the start of a roller coaster ride for my wife and family, as I have no memory from that day until 6th February 2011, when I heard on the radio, that my wife had brought in for me, that Gary Moore the rock guitarist (formally of Thin Lizzy) had died that day.

My wife had kept a diary in the hope I would survive and be able to fill in the missing time, the trauma she must have suffered in those missing weeks, where she was called to the hospital several times when it was expected I would not make it.

I can only remember the many vivid dreams, some of which were seeing the grim reaper, a nurse saying to me "do you know you are dead" and another dream that the nurses were trying to kill me.

On coming out of sedation I found I could not speak as I had a breathing tube inserted into my neck and my family and friends were not very good at lip reading.

I was now making a steady recovery (still unaware of the fight for life I had been through) and a few weeks later I was transferred to HDU.

I remember the nurses being so happy for me when the breathing tube was finally removed and as a treat for me to be able to eat and drink again they said I could have whatever I wanted for breakfast for some strange reason I said beans on toast.

Finally on 15th March (my sons birthday) 88 days after I was admitted, I left HDU and went to Tressell Ward which I found very different from the excellent care I had received in ICU.

While on Tressell Ward I received physio to help me to rebuild all my muscles that had wasted away, I also had a lung function test that showed my lungs only had 54% capacity, I was finally released from hospital on 30th March 2011 a day I feared would never come.

The first few months after leaving hospital were very difficult for me adjusting to home life again and the feeling of guilt of what my wife and family had been through in the previous months.

It is now well over a year since my release, my lung capacity has improved greatly but my lungs have suffered permanent damage (so no running for a bus), a small price to pay for still being alive and enjoying life.

My family and I will always be very grateful to all the doctors, nurses and support staff that work in ICU without their wonderful care I certainly would not be here.