Teesside transporter truck driver Anthony Seery, tells nurses and doctors they are ‘worth their weight in gold’. After saving his life in battle against COVID-19.
Anthony, 58 years old from Billingham began to feel unwell on Wednesday 25th March. By Thursday 2 April he was being rushed into the Urgent and Emergency Care Department in the University Hospital of North Tees.
Before the following day had arrived, the doctors looking after him made the decision to place him in a medically induced coma. All to give him the best chance of fighting the disease. To his wife, it was just a waiting game. Unable to visit him in hospital due to the nature of COVID19 restrictions, she ultimately went five weeks without seeing her husband.
Anthony explains ‘through sheer grit and determination, I feel like I have defied the odds. For me it was never a question of if I would get out of North Tees, but when. I don’t remember much of my time in hospital. However, from what I do remember, I owe my life to each and every one of the doctors and nurses who looked after me. Following my three week coma, they removed the tracheal tube and I tried so hard to speak but I couldn’t use my voice. I was shocked when I heard myself respond to one of the nurses for the first time. I’ve since read about people needing speech therapy after spending time on a ventilator. I can talk for England, so there was no chance of me needing that!
The real difficulty I faced was learning to use my legs again. You lose your muscle mass rapidly when you spend extended periods of time in intensive care. The physio team who supported me have been absolutely incredible. They even ring me now when I’m at home to see if I need anything. I have been working really hard on rehabilitation. And I can now walk around the house unaided which doesn’t sound like a lot but it is a huge achievement in such a short space of time.
The next step is to go for a walk outside. Something that I am now allowed to do, both medically and physically. I’m determined to build my muscles back up, and eventually to get back to work. I absolutely love my job, and I think having that to look forward to has probably helped get me to where I am today. Of course, my doting wife, two sons, two step-sons, one step daughter and eight grand-children are also a huge incentive! I can’t wait until all this is over so I can give them a big squeeze. I am also really looking forward to being able to taste toast again! One of the awful side effects of this illness is the loss of taste. Sadly for me, some of my favourite foods are currently off the menu!’
Clare Fletcher, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation has been supporting on the Intensive Care Unit during the current health pandemic. She kept a close eye on Anthony during his time there, linking in with his wife every single day. She added ‘due to his pre-existing medical conditions, Mr Seery deteriorated quite quickly on admission to the hospital. Our team worked around the clock to monitor him and make sure all of his needs were being met, all the while I kept in touch with his wife, Joyce. I am absolutely delighted to see how well Anthony has recovered so far. His journey has been a turbulent one, but he’s now finally coming out of the other side.’
When asked about her experience so far. Anthony’s wife Joyce responded ‘he never ceases to amaze me, my number one hero. We’re ready to make years more memories together!’
On a final note, Anthony added ‘if there’s one thing this whole experience has taught me, it’s that you have to live for the day. Stay positive and do whatever it is that you desire – you can’t come back to do it. Be kind too. There are a lot of great people in this world that will walk into your life in some way or another.’
You can see the full video of Anthony being cheered out of ICU here.