A WREXHAM man has thanked everyone for all of their support as he speaks out on his journey recovering from Covid-19.

Last year, David Hamlington began to feel unwell on April 3 with extreme fatigue and muscle aches.

The packing operator at Kellogg’s Factory was admitted to hospital three days later and within a couple of days was placed on a ventilator in the Critical Care Unit.

However, it was a happy ending for David as he became the first person to leave Wrexham Maelor and began his journey at home recovering.

Over one year on from the harrowing ordeal, David has spoken about his journey to recovery.

He said: “I have been suffering with long-Covid symptoms but not as bad as some people. Mentally though it is horrendous.

“I’ve never been one to struggle with my mental health, I just get on with it but I’ve been seen by trauma specialists who have helped me no end.

“The fear part of my brain when I think back to my time in a coma and it ends up being a memory rather than a fear. Reliving all of that is like a form of PTSD.

“I have gone back to work, albeit part time, but getting back into work has been tough. Meeting people again, people I’ve worked with for 20 odd years are all lovely but it’s hard facing people again.

“It’s all very strange but it’s good to be back and everyone at work have been so understanding with everything.

“It’s as though you’re leaving everything again. You have to go back to basics. You have to start walking again and you struggle with things like going dizzy and having nightmares.

“Having numbness where the tubes were stuffed up my nose and then they would gradually go only to be replaced by other things. It’s been a journey.

“People said you should do no more than 60% in a day and I’ve stuck to that this year which has helped me to no end. Because you can be so desperate to get back to normal you can push your body too hard and it be too much.

“You need to listen to your body and learn not to push yourself. I’ve started going back on my bike now, not far, just a few laps. I still get brain fog and get confused very easily.”

David says he often reflects on those moments in hospital when he was unable to be seen by his family and friends.

He added: “Some of the lasting memories I have of being in hospital is just the nurses. All you could see were their eyes because of the PPE they had to wear.

“I couldn’t see my family. It was weird. You were on your own stuck somewhere and you understood that the nurses had to keep themselves and everyone safe but it was surreal.”

As restrictions ease and the vaccination programme goes from strength to strength, David is encouraging people to ‘look at the bigger picture’.

He said: “I’ve had both vaccines, I couldn’t wait to get it. But it’s up to people whether they want to get the vaccine or not.

“I would say though to those who think it doesn’t exist, God help you if you catch it and become seriously ill like me or even if you pass it on to someone who will not be as lucky as me, you have to live with that.

“I wouldn’t force the vaccine on anyone but you have to think of the bigger picture.

“The country does have to get back on its feet and we have to pay for the pandemic but it’s a tough one, when people are losing their lives it’s not so easy a decision.

“We all have our own parts to play whilst this is still going on. There’s been events this year I’ve chosen not to go to but if you do choose to go somewhere it’s about keeping safe.”

David went on to say: “We always wear our masks and gel our hands and make sure we are safe. It’s about not putting yourself at risk. We still get our shopping delivered, there are ways around things.

“I do think this will be our new normal. They have done a fantastic job on the vaccines but until we can class it like the flu and we are a lot safer, this will be our normal.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone in the Maelor and everyone right across the board.

“Everyone has been fantastic, my family and friends and even my local GP and work. It’s been really amazing how everyone has stepped up and been there for me through this journey.”

The Leader previously reported how David’s wife Alison described the harrowing days of not being able to be at the bedside of her husband.

She said: “It was very frightening to be told he needed a ventilator, those nine days of not being able to see or speak to him was the worst part for me and the girls.

“Although it was a very tough time for us as a family the staff on the unit were fantastic in keeping us informed and the day I got the call to say he was awake was such a relief.

“The staff, even though I knew they were incredibly busy, went above and beyond and set up a facetime for us so we could see David and make sure he was ok – to have that visual contact was so important for us.”

Mr Hamlington, who is a member of the award-winning Fron Choir, left hospital to a round of applause from the intensive care staff just over three weeks later on Tuesday, April 21.

He has since been recovering at home with Alison and their three daughters, Kellen, Nia and Sian.