Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Ann O'Connor
A midwife says she thought she was going to die when she was admitted to intensive care at the hospital where she works - with flu.
Martyne Drinkall, 44, told doctors "I'm dying" as she was taken into A&E at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, hallucinating and unable to breathe properly.
"I was absolutely dripping in sweat, my chest was really full and I did feel like I was going to die," she says.
"I said to the doctor 'I'm dying, I'm going to die here'. My husband and daughter then visited me and the look on their face, my husband was absolutely traumatised by it.
"I can remember just looking at my daughter thinking, I'm not going to see you get married, she looked at me and said 'mum I just want you home', her eyes were really red.
"I was pretty poorly."
Martyne says she, and her family, were preparing for the worst. "I didn't think I was going to come out of there, I thought I was never going to come out."
The fit and healthy farmer's wife, began to feel unwell at the beginning of October before her health suddenly deteriorated.
She said: "I felt really, really poorly, I couldn't get myself going.
"I had my head on my pillow, tried to shake it off really, and thought 'I've got a bit of a cold here' but I didn't really know, I really couldn't do anything, it wasn't really like me."
The mum checked for Covid but results came back negative, and when she could not stand up she rang the doctors for an appointment.
Martyne was diagnosed with a chest infection and given antibiotics, but the next day she could not get out of bed.
After driving to A&E Martyne decided not to burden an already busy department and returned home, but she quickly deteriorated, and her husband and daughter took her back.
"I walked in and I saw a receptionist and they rushed me straight into resus," she added.
"The staff were absolutely amazing, it makes me feel really emotional how amazing they were.
"I think they were thinking Sepsis at that point, my observations were all deranged, my heart rate was through the roof."
Martyne remained in resus for 18 hours, where she was then taken to intensive care.
"At that point I thought this is it, I'm not going to come out of here," she said. "I was literally screaming, 'I'm dying'."
The mum still did not know she had flu. She added: "I sent a whatsapp message to my midwifery family and I just said 'I'm dying'."
Latest NHS England figures show there was an average of 344 people in hospital with flu at the end of November, that is compared to 34 at the same time in 2021.
It is thought Covid lockdowns may have lowered people's immunity.
The NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside says there has been a fall in uptake of vaccinations, and says as a result it is facing a winter 'tripledemic' of Covid, flu and high demand on urgent care.
Those eligible for a free vaccine are the over 50s, pregnant women and those with long term health conditions.
Scott Malton, Director of Nursing for Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust, said: "There is a common misconception around flu because it's been around a lot longer than Covid but it can be really serious, even for fit and healthy people.
"You can develop sepsis which can lead to a hospital admission and maybe even a critical care admission."
Martyne is now back at work, part time for now, bringing new lives into the world, and is urging everyone to get their vaccine.
As a frontline NHS worker she is one of the 33 million in the UK eligible for a free flu jab, including those over 65, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions.
She was due the jab when she fell ill.
She is getting gradually better and hopes to be well enough to work Christmas Day as she has done for years.
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