Brave nurse returns to work after beating coronavirus

Sam Jude, who has retured to work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after recovering from Covid-19 Pi

Sam Jude, who has retured to work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after recovering from Covid-19 Picture: QEH - Credit: Archant

When hospital nurse Sam Jude began showing coronavirus symptoms, he knew exactly what to do.

Sam Jude and his wife Blessy George, who is also a nurse at the QEH Picture: Sam Jude

Sam Jude and his wife Blessy George, who is also a nurse at the QEH Picture: Sam Jude - Credit: Archant

He got himself tested, went home and isolated for two weeks to recover so he could get back to work as quickly as possible.

The 30-year-old clinical nurse educator cares for short stay patients on the Terrington Ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn, where he has worked for four years.

MORE - What are the latest things you can and can’t do in lockdown?Mr Jude is one of more than 240 patients who have been discharged from the QEH after testing positive for Covid-19 and is now recovering.

“My symptoms started with a persistent cough,” he said. “I usually get coughs as part of seasonal changes or chronic tonsillitis, but it was important to still get tested to be sure. I then started spiking temperatures.

“The swabbing experience was quick and less worrying than I had thought. The swab sample was taken quite deep into my nose and the back of the throat. It was all done in less than 10 minutes.”

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Mr Jude and his family, including his wife who also works as a staff nurse at the QEH, were sent home to isolate.

“I was off work for a fortnight in total,” he said.

MORE - Protect Norfolk campaign launched amid lockdown fears“By the end of the first week, I was spiking temperatures and was started on antibiotics by my GP. By the end of the two weeks I was glad to be back to feeling myself.

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“The worst symptoms I experienced were acute shortness of breath, which limited my ability to do anything. I also experienced some pain due to chest tightness and lost my ability to taste and smell – which is only gradually improving.

“I’ve never been this poorly before. I was confined to my room and distancing myself from my little girl, despite wanting to see her and cuddle her. Small everyday tasks became more and more difficult, such as climbing the stairs – any movement was restrictive due to severe shortness of breath.

“To add to all of this, Covid-19 added to my struggles with anxiety. The news of a very close friend being put on to an ECMO machine (an artificial lung to oxygenate the blood) made me worry even more. It felt like I was struggling to find the calm in the storm.”

MORE - Which parts of Norfolk have been worst-hit by coronavirus? With heightened anxiety and fluctuating symptoms, some nights were worse than others.

“One night I really struggled,” he said. “It got so bad I thought I was going to need an ambulance. My wife made me some honey, lemon and ginger tea and I took some steam inhalation and used vapour rub. My family and I prayed all night and I got through it.”

During his second week of isolation, his symptoms began to improve and he was able to look forward to returning to work.

“I noticed the first steps of recovery during my second week off work. I could get around the house, manage the stairs and even sit out in the backyard and have some fresh air,” he said.

“It was so hard being off work and leaving the ward. I kept thinking of my team. But, I know that I needed to completely recover so that I could get back to my shifts. My wife, family in India, friends in the UK and especially my church were a huge support to me. They were constantly praying and sending me positivity. I am really grateful for everyone around me.”

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