Nick Clark, 36, is now raising funds for the 'heroes' at Milton Keynes Hospital who saved his life less than a month ago.
In late March 2020, Nick was rushed to Milton Keynes University Hospital as he was struggling to breathe. He was immediately placed in the COVID unit, and, hours later discovered that he had developed severe pneumonia.
He was put on oxygen, and after quick deterioration was put on a ventilator. At this point, Nick was preparing for the worst. He said: "For me, it felt like the beginning of the end but I vividly recall feeling so unwell I was willing to try anything.
"I then started to make video calls telling friends and family how much I love them, saying goodnight and see you on the other side. I remember asking Sarah [Nick's wife] for Matilda [Nick's child] to sleep my side of the bed – a feeling I never, ever want to experience again. 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 ok I promise. You’re in the best possible care. Think of something really nice'".
Nick spent nine days fighting for his life, and later awoke to discover himself surrounded by doctors and nurses shouting his name. Nick had lost a third of his muscle mass and was so weak he could not hold his mobile phone.
As the days progressed, Nick was moved out of Intensive Care and to Ward 21 to start his recovery. Before long, his feeding tube and catheter were removed and he slowly started to gain some independence. He received daily physio and visits from doctors, and eventually got the "golden ticket" to go home on 9th April.
Although he is now home, Nick says this is just the beginning of the mental and physical help he will need to fully recover.
"Not only do I want to raise money," he added. "I also want to raise awareness of this awful disease. I’m often asked, 'what would be one piece of advice you’d offer'? My answer is simple – don’t think it won’t happen to you regardless of age and underlying health conditions."
Nick continued: "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. Shortly after hospital I had a break down, my daily and weekly activities that were once done without a single thought, have now become anxiety filled daily and weekly goals. Leaving hospital does not simply mean you’re better, it means you’re at the start of your recovery."
Now, Nick is fundraising for Milton Keynes Hospital and its staff that saved his life. He concluded: "There is no sum of money that could pay for the care I received. Some of the people that cared for me have now become friends. I’ll be forever grateful to MKUH and all of the staff that cared and continue to care for me. The money will also go to good use to support the post COVID-19 teams such Physiotherapy, Mental Health and the Deep Vein Thrombosis Clinic. These teams that are instrumental in getting patients back to their normal way of life.
"The NHS is simply the finest healthcare system in the world and it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Not all heroes wear capes!"
Nick Clark has raised nearly £1,000 for Milton Keynes Hospital so far. Would you like to donate? You can do so here.