Middlesbrough man, 48, learns to walk and talk again after six weeks on a ventilator due to Covid

A father of one, who was ‘skeptical’ of Covid, had to relearn to walk and talk after battling for his life on a ventilator for six weeks.

Anthony Simms, from South Bank, Middlesbrough, suffered from respiratory and kidney failure after contracting the coronavirus in December last year.

The 48-year-old’s health deteriorated so much that his partner Alison Penketh, 50, was told she might have to say goodbye, but she couldn’t make it to hospital because she too was sick with the virus.

Fortunately Anthony continued but when he woke up he had to learn to talk and walk again with the help of physiotherapy.

Anthony Simms, 48, (pictured) from South Bank, Middlesbrough contracted Covid over Christmas last year and spent four months in hospital after suffering respiratory and kidney failure

Anthony Simms, 48, (pictured) from South Bank, Middlesbrough contracted Covid over Christmas last year and spent four months in hospital after suffering respiratory and kidney failure

He spent three months at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough before being transferred to Redcar Primary Care Hospital in Redcar for another month.

Eight months later, Anthony still relies on oxygen and a walker to get around. He also suffers from nerve damage on the tops of his feet and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Anthony, Joe’s father, 14, said: ‘It’s nothing to joke about.

“I was skeptical – until it happens to you, you don’t know. I was in hospital for four months.

‘Everything was a challenge: off the ventilator, learning to talk and then physio. I also found out that I had bedsores.

“I wish it had never happened. I’m still struggling with it now.

Within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital's ward one, the father of one was transferred to the ICU and spent six weeks fighting for his life on a ventilator (pictured in the hospital)

Within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital's ward one, the father of one was transferred to the ICU and spent six weeks fighting for his life on a ventilator (pictured in the hospital)

Within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital’s ward one, the father of one was transferred to the ICU and spent six weeks fighting for his life on a ventilator (pictured in the hospital)

“Even when I go up and down stairs, I have to take oxygen with me.”

Anthony started having aches and pains on Christmas Eve last year.

On December 29, he called 999 after nearly collapsing and was rushed to hospital on Marton Road.

Before being diagnosed with Covid-19, Anthony admits he had doubts about it and how quickly it had spread around the world.

He said: ‘I really believed it was a virus, I just couldn’t believe how fast it spread and how there was a vaccine a year later.

‘I contracted the virus on December 24. It was just pain and pain nothing else.

“On the 29th I came down the stairs and got in front, then came back in and my legs just went out from under me. I didn’t fall to the ground, I managed to grab hold of the banister. ‘

His health deteriorated so much that his partner Alison Penketh, 50, (pictured left) was told she might have to say goodbye but couldn't come to the hospital because she had Covid herself

His health deteriorated so much that his partner Alison Penketh, 50, (pictured left) was told she might have to say goodbye but couldn't come to the hospital because she had Covid herself

His health deteriorated so much that his partner Alison Penketh, 50, (pictured left) was told she might have to say goodbye but couldn’t come to the hospital because she had Covid herself

Anthony said it was the paramedic who told him he had coronavirus after discovering his oxygen level had dropped to 83.

Within 12 hours of arriving at the hospital’s ward 1, he was transferred to the ICU.

Anthony said, “The next thing they say you’re on a ventilator.

“I was on 80% oxygen, I thought I was fine, I just didn’t understand.

‘I wasn’t afraid – if it had to be done, it had to be done.

“I said my girlfriend should know. She couldn’t see me at all. The last time she saw me, I went by ambulance.’

Anthony said his health continued to deteriorate and his family should expect the worst.

Before being diagnosed with Covid, he admits he had doubts about the virus and how quickly it had spread around the world.  Now Anthony is on his way to recovery, but has had to learn to talk and walk again with the help of physiotherapy

Before being diagnosed with Covid, he admits he had doubts about the virus and how quickly it had spread around the world.  Now Anthony is on his way to recovery, but has had to learn to talk and walk again with the help of physiotherapy

Before being diagnosed with Covid, he admits he had doubts about the virus and how quickly it had spread around the world. Now Anthony is on his way to recovery, but has had to learn to talk and walk again with the help of physiotherapy

He said, “Alison got a call that she might need to come and say goodbye.

‘She couldn’t come up because she had covid herself, our son was 13 at the time. It’s hard for him too.

“They said, ‘We’re going to do everything we can to save him.’

“Looks like I must have died and they brought me back.”

Anthony said that when he woke up after six weeks on a ventilator, he was unable to talk or move.

He said it took weeks before he could move and get up again.

Anthony said, “I had to learn to walk and talk again.

‘At first I couldn’t speak. When I wrote something down, it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo, it didn’t make sense.

Despite returning home in April of this year, he still struggles with his breathing and also suffers from nerve damage to the tops of his feet and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite returning home in April of this year, he still struggles with his breathing and also suffers from nerve damage to the tops of his feet and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Despite returning home in April of this year, he still struggles with his breathing and also suffers from nerve damage to the tops of his feet and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“When I picked myself up, my head went completely dizzy. It was a long process to get from sitting to standing, it wears off a bit.

“I went from James Cook to Redcar Primary Care. I was still like that when I got there, but not that bad.”

Anthony said that although he was able to return home in April this year, he is still struggling with his breathing.

He said Alison has also been suffering from covid for a long time, but plans to return to her add-on role at B&M in Eston.

Anthony thanked Alison, Joe, the paramedics, staff at both hospitals and the South Grange Medical Center on Trunk Road for their help and support.

He added: ‘The staff are working angels, I can’t thank them enough.

“I’m grateful to them all and they all know it.”

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