- Watch ITV Anglia's report by Tanya Mercer:
Damion Brown is enjoying every moment being back home with his wife Cat and his two daughters. Last week he returned home after 11 days in Milton Keynes Hospital.
“My wife picked me up and it was just the best feeling”, he said. “I remember the drive home like I was seeing everything with fresh eyes, listening to music. And then when I got home the girls had made me a banner and it was just amazing. I remember saying “this is the happiest day of my life”. It’s like they kept me going in there and I came back to them.”
Damion was on oxygen support and isolated on a Covid-19 ward. He says it was a lonely and traumatic experience.
“At one point I thought I was going to die,” he says. “It’s left me with a form of trauma. When I was in there seven people died. There were cardiac arrest machines going off around me. And I was in this room with nothing but my thoughts.”
He says he still battles to get his head around what has happened and he struggles to sleep. He encourages anyone who’s gone through this to talk to loved ones or seek counselling.
“It’s a massive thing and we have to talk about the trauma this leaves behind – for patients and all the NHS staff.”
Now he’s home, his wife Cat says it’s like their family jigsaw is complete again. His 14-year-old daughter Millie and her little sister Primrose are so happy to have their Dad home.
“You realise how much you take for granted,” she admits. “Even just watching TV together as a family. The little things matter so much now.”
And that gratitude is something 61-year-old Hylton Murray-Philipson can appreciate. He spent 12 days in hospital - five of them spent in intensive care.
“I had a tube down my throat, which fundamentally kept me alive,” he said. “I was stretched out and begging for help and mercy and struggling for life.”
At its peak, Mr Murray-Philipson said he thought he was going to die.
“It’s excruciatingly painful. You feel like you’re drowning,” he explains. “You know you want that air, but you just can’t get it. And so you begin to reach out and clasp the sides of the bed or the hand of a kind nurse who’s there.”
Mr Murray-Philipson is now back home on his farm in Medbourne near Corby. But he knows he owes his life to the staff who cared for him.
“Every single person is imbued with this sense of care and compassion for others. I would not be here if it was not for the care of the doctors and nurses of the NHS”.
For both patients, their physical and mental road to recovery will be long. But, for now, they’ve found a new perspective on life and a profound gratitude for their health, the care they received and their loved ones.
Coronavirus: Everything you need to know