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March 2020 I thought I had a cold, a bad one but it kept getting worse.  I went off sick from work (never happens) after about a week in bed it got to the point I was struggling with my breathing, my wife rang for an ambulance it was there in 10 minutes.  Typical bloke thing I walked to the ambulance - nothing wrong with me. When the young paramedic said to the driver we need blue lights it hit home. Next thing I'm wheeled into A&E at the Countess of Chester hospital and then I can't remember anything for the next 5 Weeks.

I had covid and deteriorated rapidly kidney failure, heart problems, sepsis, blood clot on the lung but thanks to the care of everyone at the hospital and love of my family and friends I pulled through . When I came round I really didn't know what had happened to me - just vague memories of being in hospital on the Isle of Wight (never been) telling a nurse I order all the drugs for the Hospital!!!! As I regained some strength the physio team came and it was tough - Katie my main physio pushed me so hard but as they say sometimes tough love is required - at this point a nurse gave me a leaflet on ICUsteps Chester,  I put it to one side. Three weeks later I left ICU onto a respiratory ward for just 3 days then home to my family and dog. It was tough, I could only walk a few steps on a frame.  I had a once a week online physio class with the Countess but progress was slow then I remembered that ICUsteps Chester leaflet and I got in touch, first it was the weekly meetings then the online exercise classes twice a week . Suddenly my physical recovery gathered pace and talking to other people who had been in ICU helped mentally . 

Fast forward 18 months since that ambulance journey and I'm back in work, been promoted,  done a 20 miles bike ride, 24 mile walk to raise money for ICUsteps Chester and I regularly walk hills and mountains ( something I never did before) I've no doubt the help I received from ICUsteps Chester speeded up my recovery physically and mentally, and they are always there for a chat if I need one.

Tony Cotgreave Walk Start.jpeg
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