A WOMAN’S strength and determination has seen her battle against coronavirus and a serious stroke that together saw her spend 16 weeks in hospital unable to be close to her loving family.

Just two months ago, Lorraine Garrigan, 61, was a fit and active woman with a full-time job playing an active part in looking after her family and grandchildren.

But when she was diagnosed with coronavirus on March 13, the grandmother from Rhos was hurled into a nightmare that saw her spend 16 weeks in hospital unable to have any close contact with her loved ones.

On two occasions her family were prepared to be told the worst had happened - but Lorraine is not one for giving up.

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Lorraine with husband Mike and grandchildren Efan, Osian, and Megan, just days before she was diagnosed with coronavirus

She fought that battle and won - but after being home for just ten hours she suffered a stroke that has robbed her of much of her speech and mobility.

Now she is home and her family is confident that her sheer determination and willingness to fight against the odds she will be on the road to recovery sooner rather than later.

Proud daughter Emily Weeks said: “Through sheer strength, determination and my mam’s willingness to never give up, she pulled through and started to recover.

“A week later she was allowed home, but would have to shield. Ten hours after being home, disaster happened. My mam has a full blown stroke, and was taken to hospital. Again we were faced with the news that the next few hours were crucial and my mam has a 50/50 chance of surviving.

“Again my amazing mam through pure strength and determination never gave up.

“Today she is home, she’s unable to walk or talk, but she’s home and with the love of her family and her determination I’m sure she will get better.

“She was a very fit and active woman. She always worked and she would be looking after the grandchildren when she wasn’t in work. She was always up and down everywhere.”

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Emily was unable to be in the same room as her 'mam' Lorraine

Although when she was in hospital after her stroke she was moved to a room where her family could see her through a window, for much of her 16 weeks in hospital she was alone and her family feared the worst.

Emily said: “She was admitted on the Monday and on the Tuesday we were informed the next few hours were crucial and we all thought my mam would die that night, including the hospital staff.

“To be honest as a family we were waiting for the phone call to tell us mam wasn’t going to make it.

“They wanted to intubate, but my mam said that she wanted to try a bit more. I think that was the turning point.

“I think her coming through it is down to her strength and determination. She is a fighter. She wasn’t going to give up.”

Emily wanted to praise the NHS staff at Wrexham Maelor who were able to give her mother the support her family so desperately wanted to share.

Emily said: “All I can say, in my experience, the staff on the Covid Ward and then Bersham Ward were absolutely brilliant. My mam’s well-being was everything to them and the nurture was there when she needed it.

“When we could see mam they provided that connection, that touch, that we couldn’t.”

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Lorraine when she was first admitted to hospital

The stroke has affected the right side of Lorraine’s body. At present she has limited speech and is unable to walk.

Although, observing social distancing guidelines, her family was able to welcome her home, it is Lorraine’s husband Mike that is providing her day-to-day care and support.

Emily said: “It’s changed life for my dad, their roles have reversed. Mam used to do everything for him and now he is taking care of her. He even had to learn to use the washing machine while she was in hospital.”

“She is so young at heart, a massive Northern Soul fan travelling all over the country to dance to the music with my dad. They have been married for 43 years this year and been together since they were 13-years-old.”

Lorraine and Michael have two children, Emily and her brother Gavin, and five grandchildren.

They are now all waiting for her to recover so they can tuck into one of her Sunday dinners again, and in the near future so lockdown measures to be further eased in Wales so they can have a proper family celebration.

“I can’t wait for her roasties,” said Emily. “I can’t stress enough how inspirational she is and how thankful we are that she’s a fighter.”

She added: “We couldn’t celebrate Mother’s Day with mam when she was in hospital so we have put it on hold. When the Government says we are able to see each other again we are going to have a massive barbecue for her.”

Although she has seen the sometimes devastating affects of coronavirus up close, Emily believes lockdown and social distancing measures should be eased when the time is right and it is safe.

Emily added: “If it is safe to do so and measures are in place to protect people we should.

“Life should go on. What has happened to my mam has made me realise it can affect anyone.

“It is a new world we are living in now.”

She added: “All of this has made me appreciate family and life.”