Covid-19 survivor: “Doctors said my son saved my life”


Julia said she set small goals for herself, like going to the bathroom

A mother of two who spent 45 days on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus said her son saved her life by sending her to hospital.

Julia Brockway, 50, of Glynneath, Neath Port Talbot, thought she had a chest infection when she fell ill and simply planned to rest on the sofa.

But her son David, 18, ordered her to go to Morriston Hospital where she spent more than two months in intensive care.

Julia said: “The doctors told me he saved my life”.

Julia, who has lost four stones (25kg) and still has difficulty walking and eating, begged people to follow the rules of social distancing and lockdown.

“When I see the crowds and the parties, I feel horrified for them because they think it’s funny and it’s not, it’s a horrible disease,” she says.

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Julia Brockway


Julia’s husband learned that doctors couldn’t resuscitate his wife because she was too weak

Julia fell ill and after her son insisted she go, she was admitted to Swansea hospital on March 27, before being taken to intensive care.

With her family not allowed to visit her, doctors warned her husband David in an emotional phone call that she had less than a 10% chance of survival.

She was put on a ventilator for 45 days – and still remembers when she came with all the doctors around her.

“You can’t move your arms, you can’t move your body, your whole body is still and it’s horrible,” said Julia, mother of Chloe, 13, and David, 18.

“They bring you in quietly with cute little voices talking to you, saying ‘Are you ok Julia? Everything is fine, you are with us’.

“Maybe I’m a survivor, but I have to hand it over to the large intensive care team; the doctors, the consultants and all the staff saved my life. ”

Julia, who suffered muscle wasting from weeks of unconsciousness in a hospital bed, is now trying to regain her strength but needs help with daily chores.

But she admits that days after being taken off the ventilator, she didn’t want to continue.

“The doctors, nurses and my family are the heroes,” she says.

“They made me keep going when I wanted to give up, I didn’t want pain in my legs. I wanted to eat and walk, I wanted to shower like normal people.

“They always push you to fight, to live, to survive. “


Julia is now back home with her family and being helped with her daily chores

Her husband David, a 51-year-old bus driver, said it was “unbelievable” that she survived.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her, of the strength she found to get through this virus,” he said.

Back home, Julia receives regular visits from physiotherapy technician Adam Fulham who also looked after her in the intensive therapy unit.

“Julia was doing very badly, she lost a lot of muscle, but she came in mass. It brings a smile to everyone’s face to see how well she is, ”he says.

But he said that for many patients with Covid-19, the psychological impact of the virus could be even more difficult than their physical recovery.

“Sometimes there are a lot of tears, they just want to go home and go back to what they were doing, but starting to rebuild is a long process,” he said.

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Media captionCoronavirus: “I was locked in my body, I thought I would die”

Julia said she can’t wait to regain her strength and plans a short break with her family once lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

But she urged people to wear masks, avoid parties and stick to social distancing rules.

“I’m not trying to scare anyone. Please listen to the directions, you might think this won’t happen to you, but it has happened to me, so what are the chances of it happening to you?


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