Coronavirus: After three month battle Upminster mum released from King George Hospital day before daughter’s birthday

Janice Benham (left) was able to celebrate her daughter Claire's (right) 37th birthday after a three

Janice Benham (left) was able to celebrate her daughter Claire's (right) 37th birthday after a three-month battle with coronavirus. Picture: Janice Benham - Credit: Archant

After beating cancer and then battling Covid-19 for three months, an Upminster mum celebrated her daughter’s birthday the day after she was released from King George Hospital.

Janice Benham, 63, was discharged on Monday, June 22 after spending 89 days in hospital, just in time to celebrate her daughter Claire’s 37th birthday on Tuesday.

Janice and her husband Phillip, 65, contracted Covid-19 in March after returning from a week’s holiday in Morocco, which was to celebrate her getting the all-clear from breast cancer earlier this year.

The virus affected the couple very differently, when they were both admitted to King George with flu-like symptoms, with Phillip being released after four days and Janice spending 89 days there.

Phillip said: “I started to feel better after a few days, however, then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“I didn’t think it was Covid though, I thought I had the flu.”

As Phillip quickly recovered, Janice got worse and had to spend two weeks in intensive care before moving to a ward at the hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT).

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Phillip said it was difficult not being able to visit his wife but the ITU staff were fantastic and called him every day to keep him updated.

Janice said she really missed her family but being able to speak to them on Skype helped her pull through.

She said the team on the respiratory ward became like a second family with little acts of kindness that went a long way.

She said: “They’d do really nice things like getting me a bacon sandwich, and they always shared cake with me.

“Little things like that really made a difference when I was away from my family for so long.”

One of the ITU nurses would come visit her after she was transferred to a different ward.

She added though she was relieved to be home after so long, she was anxious as she has a long road to full recovery ahead of her.

On Tuesday Janice and Phillip were able to take a big step back to their normal life pre-Covid by having a BBQ in the back garden of their home in Peterborough Avenue to celebrate Claire’s birthday.