Life Video

By Lucy Notarantonio

 

This is the emotional moment a dad-of-three was clapped by nurses as he left intensive care after his family were told to prepare for the worst.

Darren Graham, 59, began to experience covid-19 symptoms at the beginning of March which progressively got worse before he was admitted to Good Hope Hospital on March 24.

The electrician from Birmingham, West Mids, was put in an induced coma the following day and his family were told on three occasions to ‘prepare for the worst’ suggesting he may not make it through.

But after six weeks, Darren was wheeled out of ICU and clapped by frontline NHS workers before returning home to his loving family who were awaiting his arrival with banners on May 1.

His eldest child Nicola Graham, 27, has spoken out to highlight the affects the corona virus has on people’s families.

Nicola, who is a recruitment consultant, said: “As my dad’s condition worsened, he was determined to fight it off at home and said ‘save the bed for someone who needs it more’.

“But then he collapsed as he was struggling to breathe so we called for an ambulance.

“My dad was in ICU for two weeks in an induced coma and we were told his liver, lungs and kidneys were starting to shut down.

“It was horrible not being able to hold his hand and tell him we are all here – we are a very close family who speak every day.

“The staff were amazing though and we had daily updates but a few times they did tell us to prepare us for the worst.

“He was returned to ICU after a few days as one of the incredible nurses spotted his kidney was failing again.

“I wasn’t even able to give my mum,  Samantha, 57, a hug through this traumatic time as she was also suffering from symptoms.

“I have never experienced pain like this in my life – there have been many sleepless nights and I have barely been able to eat as I felt so worried.

“It was dreadful but I hoped and prayed my dad will beat it.”

After another week in ICU, Darren was wheeled to the Covid-19 recovery ward receiving claps and cheers along the way.

Nicola adds: “We were able to speak to him on the phone – he was very disorientated but it was so good to hear his voice again.

“It took him over a week to get his memory back as he was extremely delirious and confused.

“I spent two hours colouring in a welcome home banner for his return – he loved it!

“He asked ‘when’s the pub open?’ and ‘when is the football on’ as he went into the coma prior to lockdown.

“We had a laugh filling him in but didn’t want to overwhelm him with too much information.

“It is amazing to have him back although he is still super weak and needs physio.

“He currently needs a walking frame because even walking to the toilet is challenging but at least he is here.

“He is so humble and we are all grateful that he is alive.”

Darren’s DNA has been sent off to the labs in a bid to make a vaccine.

Nicola hopes people understand the importance of social distancing and staying safe during the pandemic.

She adds: “We can’t thank the staff enough – they have been so incredible.

“We are all so grateful especially for the one who noticed dad wasn’t well – he may not have been here today if it wasn’t for her.

“We have all learnt that life is precious and we hope other people stay safe and well.”