‘If I could go back, I’d have the vaccine – Covid is an invisible enemy’

Des recalls the shock at seeing his son in intensive care.

“I couldn’t get near him for the equipment around his bed – he was hooked up to 12 different pieces of equipment and had a tracheotomy to breathe, it was very traumatic. He couldn’t speak, so I ran through the alphabet and suggested he squeeze my hand when I got to the right letter. He spelt out ‘how is nan?’. That was his first question after coming round.”

Unlike his father, Chris is composed when talking about his ordeal. 

“I know I did come close to death, but it doesn’t get me down and I don’t think about it too much – I’ve had to concentrate on improving my physical health and try not to let anything get me down mentally.”

His recovery began slowly. 

“I was weaned off the ventilator bit by tiny bit. The first time I tried to sit up just in bed, it was a massive shock – almost like I’d never sat up before – I got so dizzy that I didn’t want to try again for a few days. I was still being fed through a tube, but had an eating and swallowing test. I choked the first time and that was a red rag flag to the team,” he said. 

With the help of a physio, he started to walk again and after managing a few stairs, Chris was discharged on October 8 to Des and stepmother Ann’s home in Melksham, where they set up a bed for him in the dining room as he couldn’t climb the stairs. 

Chris is sanguine about his ordeal. Two months on, he can walk up and down stairs, take the dogs out for two miles and is working on recovering sensation in his right arm, where he has a trapped nerve, likely from being proned. 

“I am lucky, I’m one of few to be alive and come out of this looking like I will make a full recovery. I used to smoke socially before but haven’t since and won’t again,” he says. “If I could go back, I would have had the vaccine – Covid is an invisible enemy and I still don’t know where I got it from. Doctors and nurses don’t know why some people get it worse than others – everyone is learning every day.”

After losing two stone in weight and cheating death, Chris says he vows to live a cleaner, healthier lifestyle and looks forward to getting back on the golf course and to work in the new year. 

“I’ve been in more regular contact with family since what happened,” he says, “and there’s talk of doing the Three Peak Challenge with friends next year – I’d like to raise money for the Brompton.

“I’ve also had my Covid jab now,” he admits, adding: “Friends who have seen what I’ve been through have since had theirs, but others haven’t, and I’m not preaching to them to get the vaccine. I was offered support for PTSD from the hospital but I’m not dwelling on it – if I let things get to me I’d never get on in life.”

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