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Queen tells how Covid has left her ‘very tired and exhausted’ UK News

The Queen says she was left “very tired and exhausted” after her battle with Covid, as she befriended a former virus patient who lost his brother and father to the disease.

After testing positive for Covid in February and suffering what Buckingham Palace described as “mild cold-like symptoms”, the Queen was determined to do whatever duty she could. She described her experiences with the disease during a virtual visit to the Royal London Hospital on Wednesday, to mark the official opening of the medical institution’s Queen Elizabeth Unit.

During her video call with workers and medical staff, the Queen listened to their stories of coping with the huge influx of Covid patients, and a senior nurse told her “we held their hand, we wiped away their tears and brought them comfort.” Around 800 people from northeast London were treated in the 155-bed Queen Elizabeth unit, built in five weeks to meet demand instead of the normal five-month period, and the Queen hailed the spirit of Dunkirk that inspired the construction team. .

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Speaking to former Covid patient Asef Hussain and his wife Shamina, the Queen said of the virus: “I’m glad you’re getting better… It leaves someone very tired and exhausted, isn’t it? It’s not? This horrible pandemic. It’s not a nice result.

Mr Hussain was the third member of his family to be admitted to hospital with Covid after falling ill towards the end of December 2020. His brother died first and then his father, who died while Mr Hussain was on a ventilator.

Queen Elizabeth II speaks to NHS Key staff via video call to hear about their experiences working on the frontline during the pandemic (Photo by Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II speaks to NHS Key staff via video call to hear about their experiences working on the frontline during the pandemic (Photo by Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)

The Queen was told his wife called the ambulance after struggling to catch her breath, and Mr Hussain added: ‘I remember waking up one morning and finding he was really, really hard to breathe I remember waking up my wife saying I felt like there was no oxygen in the room I remember sticking my head out the window just trying to breathe, trying to get that extra oxygen.

He was eventually put on a ventilator for seven weeks at the Royal London Hospital and is still recovering, having recently given up his wheelchair but now using a portable oxygen machine. Ms Hussain told the Queen at one point there were 500 friends and family from around the world on a Zoom call praying for her husband, and the monarch lightened the mood and brought smiles to the couple when she said asked: “So you have a big family, or a big influence on people?”

The issue of families and friends being unable to visit loved ones being treated in hospital was discussed several times during the Queen’s video call with hospital staff, and at one point given, she said, “Of course not being able to see your relative was very hard.”

Mireia Lopez Rey Ferrer, an older sister who has worked at Whitechapel Hospital in east London since 2008, spoke to the Queen about her commitment to patients. She said: “As nurses, we made sure they weren’t alone.

“We held their hands, wiped away their tears and comforted them. Sometimes it felt like we were running a marathon with no finish line.”

She added: “I look back on the past 18 months with great pride, pride not only in the care we provided to each patient, that is in one of our hospital beds, but pride of every member of staff who every day they left their families at home despite their fears and worries and they came to work.”

Polly Fitch, a clinical psychologist who led the unit’s family support team, described how information was placed next to patients’ beds so medical staff knew their backgrounds and Imam Faruq Siddiqi, a chaplain who is part of the hospital’s multi-faith team, said his presence was viewed with a sense of “hope” by the families.

The head of state, who is the boss of the hospital, told the imam: “It was obviously a very scary experience to have the Covid very badly, wasn’t it?”

At the end of the call, the Queen chatted with the construction team who created the unit on the 14th and 15th floors of the hospital in no time, and told them: “It’s very interesting , isn’t it, when there are very vital things, how everyone works together and sticks together – wonderful isn’t it?

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