A father who spent over 50 days in intensive care as he battled Covid-19 was thrilled to be able to return home in time for Father’s Day.
Stephen King, 56, praised the “sheer skill” of the NHS staff who saved his life and urged people to keep obeying lockdown rules.
The married father, who lives in Crawley, West Sussex, spent a long time being treated at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill.
But, despite spending weeks on a ventilator and not being able to sit up by himself, Mr King has been making progress in his recovery and can now walk a few steps with the help of a frame.
Mr King, who is secretary of a youth football club in Crawley and a sports car enthusiast, said: “I cannot thank the staff at East Surrey enough.
“I’m just happy I’m still here, it is only by the grace of God and the sheer skill of the people at this hospital that I am here.
“The team in intensive care were incredible.
“I remember coming around to the staff saying ‘your family want to see you and your car is waiting for you to drive when you get home!’
“They then spent days helping me to drink again, even crushing up ice cubes for me – nothing was too much to ask.”
He was rushed to hospital on April 6 after feeling lethargic and suffering headaches before developing a persistent productive (not dry) cough.
After spending more than 50 days in intensive care, much of that time on a ventilator, he was moved to a ward where he received received physiotherapy and occupational therapy up to four times a day as well as input from dietetics and speech and language therapy.
He added: “The whole team on Capel Annex Ward have been excellent.
“I’ve had to be quite determined, they’ve given me challenges most days and that’s helped me to progress.
“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this if they don’t have to, which is why it’s important that people act responsibly, listen to the guidance and take the necessary precautions.”
After such a long time in hospital, Mr King was delighted to be going home in time for Father’s Day, saying: “My family have all been absolutely amazing.
“My wife Carol sent me text messages every single day that I was able to read when I came around.
“I have felt her support with me every step of the way and I am just so grateful to her.
“My two boys Rob and Bradley have supported her and their grandparents so well too and I’m so happy to be able to celebrate Father’s Day with them.
“After that, it’s our 30th wedding anniversary in August and I am so glad that I’m here to see it.”
Laura Kelly, senior respiratory physiotherapist at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “It has been incredibly rewarding helping Stephen with his recovery.
“Stephen has engaged in hours of therapy and we are so very happy that he’s made such good progress.”