A SOUTHEND nurse who spent weeks fighting coronavirus and hasn't been able to hold her 10-week-old grandson in two months has praised her fellow colleagues for their support through her recovery.

Despite being the deputy ward manager for the Rochford ward at Southend Hospital, who have been dedicated to treating Covid-19 patients, Michelle Palmer never once expected to come face to face with the virus herself.

The 51-year-old first began her battle with the illness after falling unwell at work at the end of March. In a bid to protect her loved ones and colleagues, Michelle decided to self-isolate at home.

When Beth, Michelle’s youngest daughter, helped to drop off supplies she was shocked at her mum’s worsening condition. 

Worried, Beth quickly called the ambulance and Michelle was rushed to Southend Hospital, where she has worked for the last 21 years.

After a night in A&E, she was sent home with antibiotics to recover and fight off the virus, much to the relief of her three daughters.

Michelle said: "There were days, I was on my hands and knees as I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it. I’ve never been that sick before in my life.

"Fortunately, I’ve recovered and I’m back at work helping patients who were in the same position as me.”

Having made a full recovery, Michelle is looking forward to be able to see her family, including her 10-week-old grandson, who she hasn’t been able to hold in two months.

During her first week back at work Michelle joined in on the 8pm Clap for Carers campaign, which now has an even more special meaning.

She said: “Standing outside and joining the Clap for Carers on my first week back was very emotional for me. Being a Covid patient and a nurse, you experience both sides first hand, which really highlights the care you receive as a patient and give as a carer.

“I feel so lucky to have a great team who are so encouraging. I’m grateful for the support of my manager and colleagues who consistently checked on me to make sure I was okay.

"I want to say a big thank to the paramedics and A&E staff at my hospital who helped me on my road to recovery.”

Michelle, who also runs the pulmonary rehab service at Southend, has a newfound respect for her respiratory patients after her experience of battling with Covid-19.

She added: "Having the virus myself, I feel I can relate to other Covid patients as I’ve been in the same situation. This has also been a real eye opener and given me a different outlook for my respiratory patients as they deal with similar symptoms in their day-to-day life.”