Mum of four Greater Manchester nurses and retired care home worker of 18 years, Elsie McMahon has expressed her gratitude to staff at Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) for her care and treatment as she overcomes COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
70-year-old Elsie from Timperley, Trafford was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital in March after a week of feeling unwell, and admits at the time she did not consider that it could have been COVID-19.
After testing positive to Coronavirus and chronic viral pneumonia with low oxygen levels whilst in isolation at Wythenshawe Hospital, Elsie was nursed in a dedicated COVID ward, where she spent the remainder of her admission on oxygen and fluids until she was well enough to return home, free of the virus.
She said: “I hadn’t realised the seriousness of the disease until I was asked if my family knew about my wishes. I didn’t want to go onto a ventilator, and fortunately I did not need to but I remember saying to a doctor that I will have to put my life in your hands and my faith in you.”
Elsie described her symptoms as very breathless, loss of appetite and generally feeling very unwell. During her time in hospital she said it hurt to breathe which was a very scary experience and she was unsure if she would get better.
Fortunately after a few days in isolation and then onto a ward specialising in caring for people with Covid; with dedicated care from medical colleagues at MFT, Elsie was discharged and continues her recovery from the virus at home. She now wants express her thanks to all those who cared for her during this time.
She said; “I don’t know how they do it, even though you can’t see their faces properly, you just know they are smiling at you and they care for you with such grace. From the doctors to the nurses and the cleaners, they are all fantastic. It was a very frightening experience but I felt really reassured. Their sense of humour and uplifting approach is what kept me going.
“Despite being in hospital, I still clapped for the NHS on a Thursday at 8pm with other patients and I am so grateful we have this Service. I didn’t leave Hospital until I was able to breathe without the support of oxygen and was able to get on my feet confidently.”
Elsie falls under the ‘increased risk’ category for COVID-19 due to her age and previous illnesses. She overcame breast cancer five years ago and more recently has had treatment at The Christie for melanoma.
She continued: “I have a lot to thank Wythenshawe Hospital for over the years; I had three of my children there, they cared for me at the Nightingale Centre when I had breast cancer and now Coronavirus. The NHS is fantastic; I have so much admiration for it and I am immensely proud of all my girls who work for the NHS and the contributions they make.”
Elsie at home after recovering from Coronavirus at Wythenshawe Hospital
Two of Elsie’s daughters work for MFT at Wythenshawe Hospital, usually in A6 (Surgical Ward) and Theatres – who are now also amongst the frontline members of staff treating COVID patients at the Hospital.
Two of her other daughters also work in the NHS across the Greater Manchester and she has two sons who were all able to keep in contact with her whilst she was in hospital by telephone.
Elsie’s daughter, Liz who is a Housekeeper and Health Care Assistant on Theatres at Wythenshawe Hospital said; “It was a very frightening time for me and my siblings, and not being able to physically visit our mum made it harder.
“The communication from the ward to our family was amazing and they kept us up to date with her care every step of the way. The care she received on both of the wards was fantastic and delivered in a very professional and friendly manner. It makes me extremely proud and a privilege to be part of such an amazing team here at Wythenshawe Hospital.”
In a bid to share some hope in these unprecedented times, Elsie said: “For those of you who are going through this or have loved ones in a similar position – don’t give up. There are some very sad circumstances for families but also some real positive stories too.
“I’m 71 this year and I was very poorly but I am still here, sharing my story which should give others hope. You can overcome the virus, just stay positive and listen to what the doctors and nurses are telling you.”
Elsie was discharged from Wythenshawe Hospital in April and is continuing her recovery at home.