A young Lochaber woman has spoken of her “miracle” recovery from Covid-19 and warned others against complacency in dealing with the deadly virus.
Lily Burns, 21, spent seven days on a ventilator after being struck down with a severe form of coronavirus, which attacked her stomach as well as her lungs and made her heart swell to twice its normal size.
Now recovering at her Fort William home, she said she is proof the virus does not just attack the elderly and those with underlying health problems.
Posting on her Facebook page, she said: “I feel like I need to write this so people know what happened, and how quickly and easily things can change, in the hope that people really are taking this seriously. You think this couldn’t happen to you, but it shouldn’t have happened to me.”
Lily’s ordeal began on 16 April when she had shooting pains in her stomach, was being sick and had a temperature of 39.7.
She visited A&E where it was thought she had a kidney infection, but at 4am the next day she returned and was admitted to Belford Hospital.
At the time she tested negative for coronavirus, but when a second test returned positive she was taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
She said during lockdown she had been out only for essential shopping and to collect family prescriptions, all the time observing social distancing and wearing a mask.
“I was also in the 0.2% of people likely to be badly affected by coronavirus, so how could this be so?”
On 23 April she was critically ill, heavily sedated and put on a ventilator: “When I woke up I thought I had been sleeping for a day, but it was seven.”
She added: “On Thursday 30 April a miracle happened and the doctors were able to remove the ventilator and at 11am I started breathing by myself.”
I don’t know how to say this but I’m back! I feel like I need to write this so people know what happened and how quickly…
Four days later she left hospital: “I didn’t understand how serious it was until I got home and saw people’s reaction. The doctors also wrote me a diary each night and when I read that it was overwhelming.”
Lily paid tribute to medical staff and people who sent her messages while in hospital, adding: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to the nursing staff in the intensive care unit who I literally owe my life to. Their practice, support and ability to make me laugh was world class and these truly are life’s heroes.
“I’m just taking my recovery as it comes. I’m a bit wobbly still on my feet, but otherwise ok.
“But it scares me when I hear people say we should come out of lockdown and are thinking of going out and about. They should stay inside.”