A former Covid-19 patient of Northampton General Hospital (NGH) who spent two weeks struggling to breath is now raising funds to build a family space in the ward that saved her life.
Claire Mann, who also goes by Claire Gray, launched the fundraiser after being hospitalised with the virus in November 2021.
She was admitted to the Beckett ward, an acute respiratory ward at NGH, on Saturday November 14 after experiencing bad stabbing pains in the back of her lungs that made it hard to breathe, as well as spiking a fever.
After being carried to an ambulance and taken to the hospital, Claire was told she not only had Covid-19, but also pneumonia and pleurisy. What followed were the 15 hardest days of her life.
Claire said: "I was all on my own scared and frightened of what laid ahead for me. I kept thinking 'I'm strong, I'll get out, I'll make it'. But very soon I became so out of it and in so much pain I started to worry that might not happen.
"The pain was a pain I’d never felt before. I struggled to breath. The sickness never stopped. I had a migraine that lasted for four days, so bad I wanted to curl up into a ball but couldn't because I was wired up to everything.
"It was incredibly hard to get through that time. And the staff were all there alongside to get me through."
Claire was eventually moved to a side room for a couple of days as her oxygen levels were dropping even on high oxygen, so she was allocated a nurse each day who was 'constantly checking on me and by my side'.
The staff had started her on antibiotics, steroids and oxygen which, eventually brought her back to health.
After 15 difficult days in the hospital, Claire was finally discharged to recover at home and she did not wait long to start repaying the staff of Beckett ward for their excellent work.
She said: "I spoke with the charity department at Northampton General Hospital who told me plans to make one of the rooms for the relatives so doctors and nurses can talk about Covid patient's conditions.
"I thought this was a great idea as I gave my family a good scare during my time there and they could have used a more private setting then on the ward or corridors. So I hope this fundraiser goes some way to help make that a reality.
"That ward is full of amazing staff and they are a credit to the hospital. They went above and beyond for me, but none of them see it that way.
"They are such a unit on that ward and every one of them deserves a medal."
A spokesperson for the Northamptonshire Health Charity said: "It really means a lot to us at the charity that Claire has set up this fundraiser as a way to say thank you to the staff on Beckett ward for the care they gave to her while she was very poorly.
"With thanks to the kindness and thoughtfulness of patients, their families and friends making donations and doing fundraising like this Northamptonshire Health Charity is able to continue to support our local NHS hospitals by enhancing patient care and experience with projects like the development of a relative’s room on this ward.
"The room on Beckett ward will include things like nice chairs and comfortable furniture, relaxing paintings and art on the walls and somewhere warm drinks can be provided.
"It will be an area where healthcare staff can talk about patient’s conditions in a more private setting. It will also provide some adequate privacy if relatives are given difficult news and thus maintain dignity and respect."
Anyone who is interested in the fundraiser or would like to contribute can visit the Just Giving page online.