A LONG Covid sufferer whose family was told to prepare for her death while in Worcestershire Royal Hospital “will never be the same person”.

Beverley Knight is a 58-year-old grandmother from Stourport who worked full-time in Bewdley and had no underlying health conditions when she contracted Covid-19 in March 2020.

Within 10 days she was on a ventilator, treatment that would last three weeks with her loved ones told to prepare for the worst as she fought double pneumonia, a collapsed lung and complications arising from a tracheostomy – an incision in the windpipe made to relieve an obstruction to breathing.

Bev could not walk or talk when she woke and while she was well enough to go home on April 29, long Covid has blighted her recovery.

“Nearly ten-and-a-half months later I am still struggling with long Covid and all the horrible symptoms,” she said.

“Covid caused me to have type 2 diabetes, I still have inflamed lungs my autoimmune system is so shot my body is fighting against itself.

“The consultants think my windpipe is collapsing due to the complicated tracheostomy, I only go out to the doctors or hospital. I am clinically shielding and cannot go back to work.

“I worked full-time and enjoyed swimming before all this, I had a normal life.”

How it started

It all started when Bev felt ill when she returned home from work in the office of a care company in Bewdley the day before her birthday.

“I have never really suffered with illness at all and I remember sitting down because I felt unwell,” she said.

“My husband said I should go to bed, it was not the sort of thing I ever did unless I felt really bad.

“The next five or six days were a blur, all I can remember is being in constant pain and not knowing what would happen next.

“I was rushed into hospital and have no memory of April whatsoever. I didn’t know at the time but they called my husband on April 9 to say I wouldn’t be here by the afternoon.”

Devastating impact 

Three weeks after pulling through that touch-and-go period, Bev returned home but life has been far from normal with her latest beacon of hope extinguished.

“I had hoped to go back to work this month but I had a CT scan and ended up in with the consultant for two hours,” said Mrs Knight.

“They said my lungs were inflamed and that the muscles around the back of them were not working.

“My autoimmune system does not know what is going on, I already knew it had given me diabetes and they were very concerned about my windpipe collapsing which has been making my breathlessness worse.

“I need to have another CT scan next month to confirm what they think on that. It is just never ending.

“I don’t think anyone understands what this disease does to your body. It completely ravages you and there is no way I will ever be the same person.

“I try to take the dog for a walk and have to stop three or four times just going around the park, I cannot do it in one go and I am a wreck after.

“You don’t know from one day to the next how you will be when you get up.

“It could be a bad day and you might not stand any chance at all of getting out of bed, every bone and muscle can hurt, even to have the bed covers on top of you.

“Then you can have a fairly decent day when you only feel breathless with the brain fog. Nobody understands what it is like to live with it and all you get told is it takes time.

“It is pretty devastating, I was a happy healthy person before this disease not anymore.

“We would go on cruises, at least two per year, and we would walk around and see all of the sights."

Heed the warnings

And it is the cavalier nature of some towards the virus that worries Bev as much as anything.

“I am a big worrier and am so frightened of catching it again because I know I would not come through it this time," she added.

“Some people still don’t believe it is as bad as what it is. There are people who don’t think it is exists, that it is made up by the government to keep them under lock and key.

“If they knew someone who had it really bad and the impact on people’s families – my poor husband lives with this every day – I think they would be so shocked.

“It stays with you and if it gets you stressed out, you have no hope because it thrives on stress.

“I don’t think people understand the problems we are going to have with long Covid, nor does the government. They are dealing with coronavirus and the vaccines but there is nothing to protect people from long Covid.”

Thank you, NHS...

Bev saved the last word for the staff at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

“They were absolutely phenomenal, they could not do enough for me and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” she said.