Nurse Millie Magadlela has described the moment she was cheered out of intensive care after winning her battle with coronavirus.
Millie spent three days on a ventilator fighting COVID-19 in the critical care unit at the University Hospital of North Tees as staff worked tirelessly to save her life.
She has explained how the first thing she did after regaining consciousness was to message her husband and two sons to say she was going to be okay.
Describing her emotions as she was taken out of the unit to be transferred back on to a general ward. She said: “I can’t say in words how it felt to have all of the staff there clapping and showing their support and love.
“These people all saved my life.
“I am here now only because of them. I felt so loved and cared for by everyone. And that includes all staff across the organisation who treated me.”
When she first noticed not feeling right
Millie, who works in the surgical decision unit at the hospital, first started feeling unwell nearly three weeks ago (Sunday 29 March).
After returning to her home in Stockton following a shift, she felt tired, lethargic and had a high temperature.
Over the next few days – staying isolated in the same home with her husband Mongezi Spencer – these symptoms worsened. She developed more painful aches in her knees and lower back, as well as cramp and abdominal pain.
She said: “I was so tired and lacking in energy that I couldn’t even wash myself for two days. I was hot and cold, with blankets on top of me. I felt awful.”
Millie, who is 59, telephoned the NHS 111 service who sent an ambulance to her home.
She was taken to North Tees where she was assessed in emergency care and given antibiotics and had an x-ray.
She was then transferred to the emergency assessment unit and then to the respiratory unit. Before finally being moved from there to the intensive care unit.
She added: “I can’t properly thank all of the staff for what they have done for me.
“In my 39 years as a nurse I have never been in hospital as a patient. I’ve always been fit and healthy. I’ve always had a passion and determination to do my best for my patients.
“So to see things from a patient’s view was very different. I’m very proud to be a nurse and so proud to work for the NHS.
“The message I want to get to everyone is just how important it is for people to follow the advice and stay at home. Anyone can catch it and get sick. I am proof of that – I’m someone who exercises regularly and looks after my health.
“Stay at home so our amazing NHS staff can continue to save lives like my own.”
Time for recovery
Millie plans to spend time recovering at home. Building up her strength and energy through breathing exercises so she can return to the front line.
Nurse Millie clapped out of critical care
Colleagues can be seen clapping nurse Millie Magadlela out of the critial care unit at the University Hospital of North Tees.
Stephanie Gale and Tracey Oldfield, clinical co-ordinators in critical care, said: “Staff were overjoyed to see Millie make a recovery and become our first patient to be discharged from the unit after being on a ventilator.
“It has given staff a huge morale boost at such an important time.
“Staff are working tirelessly to do everything they can for every patient they treat. Not just in the critical care unit but across the organisation.
“Thank you for everything they are doing. As well as to the public for following the advice and staying at home where they are safe.”
Millie is pictured with healthcare assistant Cath Simpson.