Mansfield woman praises hospital staff after Covid-19 ordeal which left her in a month-long coma
A Mansfield woman has heaped praise on hospital staff who looked after her during her coronavirus battle – and says she believes her positive attitude is why she is here to tell her story.
Kerri March, 38, contracted Covid-19 in October 2020 but just two weeks later deteriorated rapidly and slipped into a coma at King’s Mill Hospital.
Now Kerri – whose family were also hit by the virus – wants to share her story and to thank hospital staff who helped her as she desperately battled for life.
She also wants to tell those who have loved ones battling the virus to ‘keep talking to them’.
“I have brittle asthma and shielded, but began suffering flu-like symptoms,” she said.
"We all tested positive and within a few days I began struggling to breathe and was hospitalised.
“I deteriorated rapidly – it honestly felt like falling off a cliff.
“I felt everything shutting down and I couldn’t move – I told the nurse I was dying and begged her not to let me die.”
Despite medics’ best efforts, Kerri deteriorated further and was placed in an induced coma which lasted 31 days.
At one stage doctors called her partner Gary to prepare him for the worst, telling him she only had 10 per cent function in one of her lungs.
But Kerri never gave up and against the odds began to show signs of improvement but, when she awoke from her coma, was unaware how ill she had been.
She said: “I couldn’t speak or move and didn’t understand why. I don’t remember waking up, but I had really vivid dreams of being in London or India – it was so confusing.”
Kerri does, however, remember hearing the voices of her nurses every day and hopes this will help families who currently have relatives battling Covid.
"I could hear the nurses chatting to me about brushing my teeth and telling me what they were doing – even though I obviously couldn’t respond,” she said.
“So if you have relatives who are fighting this, make sure you call them so they can hear your voice.”
Since leaving hospital, Kerri has had to learn to perform basic functions again and receives physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and will receive counselling after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tina Wright, ICU department leader at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “We all remember Kerri well. She was very poorly and spent a long time on ICU.
"It’s so hard to see patients struggling with Covid-19, but it’s lovely when we hear of their recovery.
"We are so happy that Kerri is now at home and with her family. We wish her all the best in her recovery.”
Despite a few setbacks along the way and still referring to her stairs as ‘Everest’, Kerri wants people to understand how quickly she became ill and the huge part her positive outlook has played in her recovery.
“The NHS have been outstanding and I am so grateful to be alive,” she said. "My story is not a sad one – it’s a story of hope and about the power of positive thinking and fighting to stay alive.”
Kerri plans to marry Gary in 2022 and hopes to be a bridesmaid for her best friend in September.