A patient who has recently been treated for coronavirus (COVID-19) at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust has shared her story and words of appreciation to the staff who cared for her.
Sarah Finney, 55, a retired exam invigilator and former nurse from Stebbing, Essex
Sarah said: “In August 2019 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after a mastectomy in October, I started chemotherapy on Christmas Eve. Following my fifth dose of chemotherapy on 17 March, I felt unwell after about four days but put it down to the side effects of the treatment. I then developed a high temperature and a slight cough, followed by feeling breathless and achy, with a lack of appetite. Then, I became so unwell that I was admitted to The Princess Alexandra Hospital on 30 March.
“The nurses were so lovely and welcoming, caring and compassionate, they chatted and tried to help me relax so I could get some sleep. I continued to be on oxygen and intravenous (IV) antibiotics and was given a blood transfusion as my blood count was found to be low. I continued to be stable and my oxygen dose was gradually reduced, I improved, my appetite picked up and I was able to do more for myself as my breathing improved. I could not leave my room due to my lack of immunity and dependency on oxygen, so I was totally dependent on the nurses to help me with all my care. I was very well looked after and the staff were always happy to assist me.
“My nine days in hospital were hard, being isolated from my family and not knowing whether I would improve, and the days were very long. I wasn’t scared, as the doctors kept me informed with my treatment decisions and I felt able to ask questions.
“My recovery at home has been slow but gradual. Initially I was breathless with the slightest exertion and I had a lot of nausea. After about a fortnight that eased and I could physically challenge myself more. At this point I am five weeks post discharge and I can walk the dogs for an hour at a good pace with some breathlessness, but it’s so much better. My lung capacity is still reduced but each day things are a little better.
“I feel very lucky that despite my low immunity from the chemotherapy, I survived coronavirus and it never caused me to be extremely ill. I am grateful to all the staff at PAHT for their care and dedication and I hope to never see them again (in the nicest possible way!).”
Sharon McNally, director of nursing, midwifery, and allied health professionals, said: “We are pleased to hear that Sarah is now feeling much better and are thankful to her for sharing her story of her recovery from coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We are delighted to hear the kind words of our patients regarding the care and support our amazing people are giving every day.
“We encourage our patients to continue to get in touch and share thank you messages with our staff, as these words of gratitude mean a great deal.”
You can share your words of thanks with hospital staff by calling the patient experience team on 01279 827084 or emailing email@example.com.