Ex-Wigan security chief’s horror ordeal with Covid-19
One-time North West door security boss Mick Lyons issued a chilling warning to coronavirus deniers and those with a cavalier attitude to catching it: “it’s a killer and no-one is invincible.”
The super-fit 68-year-old from Ashton spent 16 days on a Covid ward at Wigan Infirmary. Of half that time he has no memory. Much of the rest of it involved fighting for breath, extreme pain and hallucinations.
Now back home, Mr Lyons has lost three and a half stones in weight, he has blood clots in his lungs and the disease has ruined his gall bladder which will now have to be removed. He is unable to go upstairs without having to pause repeatedly for breath.
He faces many more hospital visits and perhaps a long path to recovery, but he has nothing but praise for the NHS staff who nursed him through the most traumatic episode of his life.
Other people died on Lowton ward while he was a patient there and he recalls how in the small hours that he was sole witness to a crash team saving a man in his 50s who had suffered a heart attack.
Mr Lyons declined to have his picture taken for this article, saying that the disease has ravaged him so much that the images would “frighten the grandchildren.”
He explained that the ordeal began with his waking up with “a bit of cough” about six weeks ago. He went to the Haydock Park testing centre where a sample confirmed that he was infected with Covid-19 and he began self-isolating with partner Rebecca Harman, his daughter Angel Blue and her boyfriend Scott Heaton. They would all get infected, but it was Mr Lyons who took a really bad hit.
He said: “Within two days of the test I began suffering absolutely horrible stomach pains and eventually we had to call for an ambulance.
“The paramedic assessed me and asked me to rate my pain on a scale of one to 10. Believe me I have felt pain before, but nothing as horrendous as this in my life and I said ‘10’ so he gave me a shot of morphine which did not touch the sides.
“About half way to hospital - on the dual carriageway at Marus Bridge - they gave me another shot and I was still hurting badly after it. It’s maybe funny now looking back but at the time I wasn’t laughing.
“I then spent the next 16 days in hospital. I should’ve been in there longer really but they needed the bed. For eight days I don’t remember anything and for some of the rest of the time I was hallucinating.
“I was fit before it got me, I trained every day, but this virus really attacked me and it went for the gall bladder of all things. They wanted to flush the poison out of it but I wasn’t strong enough. It’ll have to come out later.
“I was on all kinds of IV drips and lines plus oxygen, of course, and while no-one could visit me that didn’t matter most of the time because I was so far out of it. When I was aware of what was going on I did have a chance to speak on the phone.
“When I came out of that lost week in the middle of my stay I was totally disorientated. I didn’t know where I was but knew I was in a mess.
“When I think about it afterwards I think I was closer to dying than I thought at the time.
“It’s like there’s a war going on in your body. I feel sorry for people who are in denial because they are the ones who will be most shocked if coronavirus really goes for them. It’s opportunist is Covid. It attacks whatever it can.”
Mr Lyons said the ward was permanently full and as soon as someone died or a patient was discharged, the bed would be filled again.
He added: “I have nothing but admiration for what the NHS staff have been having to do through all this. They are dealing with severe illness and death on a daily basis.
“Two women died on the ward while I was in there. I also remember waking up at around 3am one night and seeing doctors and nurses reviving a guy in his 50s on one of the other beds after he suffered a heart attack. They saved his life, no doubt.
“Some of the nurses are only young. They and the doctors and the auxiliaries and everyone else are doing a terrific job and I cannot thank them enough for the care they gave me.”
Coming home in what he describes as “a total state of exhaustion,” Mr Lyons said that he had to stop for breath three or four times while going upstairs. Three weeks later and he still can’t do it without at least one pause.
And he knows he’s not out of the woods yet. He added: “I’ve never had blood clots before, my gall bladder has to come out and I have hospital appointments by the dozen up ahead, including pneumonia clinics. I lost three and a half stones in there and I have never felt as weak in my life.
“Covid has made a mess of me - it’s knocked me for six. I was completely wasted by it and getting over it for me is going to be a long haul. I would not like people to see me like this, especially my grandchildren.”
As well as his gratitude to the NHS, Mr Lyons said he wouldn’t have been able to get by since without the support of family, especially
“Believe me, this illness can get anybody, even those who are strong and look after themselves. This is real.
“All those people saying ‘we’re not going to get this’ or that Covid’s risk is exaggerated are deluding themselves. No-one, whoever they are, is invincible to it.”
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