Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, March 21 (04:18 PM PKT)(AFP/APP): As his oxygen levels plunged dangerously low, Darren Buttrick had just 15 minutes to call his family before he was sedated and put on a ventilator.
“Those 15 minutes were the worst of my life, just ringing my wife, hearing her cry,” the 49-year-old told AFP at his home in Wolverhampton in central England, looking back on the year since he contracted Covid-19 in March 2020. The government confirmed the first death from Covid-19 on March 5. Since then, the toll has climbed to more than 125,000 — the highest in Europe.
Some who fell ill early in the pandemic have made a complete physical recovery, but the psychological impact is profound. “It’s still very raw, it’s still very emotional,” says Buttrick, looking tearful as he remembers lying in hospital surrounded by other patients hooked up to bleeping machines, some of whom did not survive.
He recalls thinking: “Once I’m put to sleep, I may never wake up.” “Those images never leave you,” he says, adding that the experience has changed his outlook on life. He has become less of a workaholic in his job as sales director at a mobile phone operator, focusing more on time with his wife and three daughters.
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