The 54-year-old was struggling with a sore throat, headache and cough in the days before, but he put it all through the stress of losing his father and having to plan the funeral .
However, his wife Astrid, who is a healthcare support worker for the Pilgrim Hospital, began to become more concerned when he began to struggle to breathe.
This follow-up would be torturous for two months, during which Astrid would not be able to see her husband.
Astrid said, “The alarm bell started ringing in my head and I called our doctor who asked me a few questions – we then went to A&E and that was the last one I saw of him for over nine weeks. ”
At the hospital Gary is placed in a medically artificial coma, and although he wakes up a number of times, he has been recovered under this way, he stood a better chance of recovery.
Gary, who has diabetes, was awake on his birthday but was put into a coma three days later.
He said, “The nurses did everything to make it special for me and I remember standing around my bed in all their masks and PPE singing happy birthday. They have been great. “
It later came to light that Gary nearly died twice, while he was in hospital and the doctors had given him only a 10% chance of survival at any given time.
Astrid said not to be able to see her husband for more than two months was a “terrifying” experience.
“Gary’s time in intensive care was the worst nine weeks of my life,” she says.
“There were times when I just cried and cried and cried.
“I decided to go back to work in a ward for patients tested for coronavirus to keep me busy and to try to keep my mind busy.
“There were difficult days when I knew Gary was very bad on the second floor of the ICU while I was upstairs on the ward. But I needed to keep busy. ”
Fortunately, Gary was able to get through, and left intensive care for an honor guard from doctors and nurses, as well as Astrid, who had come from below to see her husband for the first time.
The pair say they are very grateful for the nurses and doctors who helped save Gary’s life.
“He was a real rollercoaster,” Astrid said.
“But through it all, the nurses and doctors in the intensive care unit were amazing. They were angels.
“I worked at the hospital for almost 24 years and I knew he was really in the best hands. They updated me and kept Gary alive. They saved him.
“Because of their Gary mom still has her son, I have my husband and Cassie and Scott still have their father.
“We can never thank them enough, – we are so grateful that he is always with us. “
Gary, who lost four stones during his hospital stay, said that he didn’t know what to do when he gave the honor guard and that he can “never thank them enough”.
“I tip my hat to all the staff at the pilgrim hospital, especially those who work in intensive care and on the wards,” he said.
“They were absolutely great.
“Honestly, I think someone is watching over me and I think it’s my father Peter.
“It kept popping up in my dreams when I was sedated, telling myself” you can beat this “and telling me that I had to fight. ”
He is now recovering at home with Astrid for help.