Nurse woke up from Covid coma to discover that his husband had died from virus
A nurse woke up from a Covid-19 coma to discover his husband had died from the virus.
David Courtney-Williams, 49, was placed into an induced coma after contracting coronavirus in March.
The nurse in charge, from Wales, had to relearn to walk and his vocal cords were so damaged he was unable to speak effectively.
After fighting for his life, he woke from a coma to discover his husband and partner of 28 years had not survived.
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Steven Courtney-Williams, 56, had shown no symptoms when his husband David was taken into ICU.
But he died just six days later on April 3.
After being unconscious for 14 days, David was told the devastating news over the phone and was unable to have visitors to comfort him due to coronavirus guidelines.
He told Wales Online: “I just crumbled. It was just an empty feeling, I just couldn’t process it at all.
“I couldn’t even hold the phone myself, I was so weak. I just remember thinking ‘what do you mean Steven’s gone?’.
“When I was taken in, Steven had no symptoms. He had his illnesses but to be told two weeks later when I woke up that he was gone, that was devastating.”
“It’s been difficult for the family too. They were devastated with Steve passing away and I was touch and go at one point too. I think they were preparing for a double.
“And then they had the stress of telling me Steve had gone too.”
While dealing with the mental trauma of his tragic loss, David was also struggling with the physical side-effects of contracting coronavirus.
He said the physical trauma of being intubated and placed into an induced coma meant he found it difficult to process what had happened.
He added: “It’s been a mental struggle. It’s not just one thing but it’s another as well. It’s the physical side of recovery but then the mental battle.
“It’s been a nightmare to be honest. At first I couldn’t grieve properly because I had to get well myself.
“I had to put it to the back of my mind and concentrate on getting through this thing. I just couldn’t process it at that time.
“It was physically awful too, my vocal cords were damaged when I came round. The funeral director on the phone couldn’t understand me.
“I had to learn to walk again, I still have numbness in my leg six months after physio.
“I was so weak at one point, we were not sure if I was going to make it to the funeral but I was determined.”
David was one of the first people to be put on a ventilator at Morriston Hospital when the pandemic spiralled in March.
The healthcare professional is still coming to terms with what has happened, both as a nurse and a patient himself.
He said: “At first it was like being in a black hole and there’s two ways you can go – up or down.
“I’m still feeling the effects now. It’s the fatigue mainly, it’s unbearable and nothing like I’ve had before.”
To add to the devastation, David’s close colleague Sharon Bamford also died with the virus just weeks after his husband’s death.
But the brave nurse has now returned to the wards.
He said: “I’m back in work now on the ward on a phased return, once a week. Even just one day I get home and I’m shattered.
“With Sharon as well, they’ve gone through it with us. We’re like a family.”
While David does have coronavirus antibodies, he has been warned that he can still catch the virus for a second time.
He said: “That doesn’t make me anxious as such, but of course it is difficult going back at first after what happened.”
Paying tribute to Steven, David said he is still struggling to come to terms with the loss.
He said: “He was my world. He was so fun loving, loved socialising and going on holidays. He was everything.
“He was just always there supporting me through everything. Every job, every exam – he was always there.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I still think he’s here still, I’m still washing for two. Everything has changed.”
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