Hemel woman urges people to get their vaccines as family continues to live with 'COVID nightmare'

The family have praised staff at Watford General Hospital

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 2:22 pm

A woman from Hemel Hempstead is urging the public to get their vaccines when they are able to as her family continue to live with the effects of COVID-19.

Colleen Orton (Colly), 44, and her husband, Rob, both contracted the virus in November last year, and although she says hers was mild, Rob remains in hospital, on a ventilator via a tracheostomy.

Colly said: "It is a really important story to get out there, we have been living the COVID nightmare.

Colly and Rob

"We both contracted coronavirus in November and mine just felt like the flu really and I was fine.

"But Rob got worse throughout the week and on November 14, I woke up early and he could not breath so I rang an ambulance.

"He was taken to hospital and he was put on high oxygen. The hospital phoned and said they would have to transfer him to ICU as he was getting worse.

"On November 21, I got a call to say he had deteriorated and he would go on a ventilator, and he is still on it now, he is now conscious.


"Throughout December he was woken up gradually and we were able to facetime him on Christmas Day, which was lovely.

"He has had chest infections quite a few times and has had to be sedated.

"He has lost quite a bit of weight but, he is now doing better and is doing physical rehab and can stand and take 10 steps."

Rob had no underlying health conditions and Colly says his job - as a driver collecting trade waste for Dacorum Borough Council - kept him active and in a good physical shape.

Colly said: "I think it will be a while before he is allowed home, but he is doing really well, he has stayed positive throughout, we are trying to do the same.

"When the nurses call me in the morning, they always say, 'he had a good night, and he still has a smile on his face'.

"We are trying to keep him entertained, we play these make up games, like pretending we are in Mexico, we are just trying to use our imagination and keep him positive, giving him something to look forward to.

"From my point of view, I have been so lucky that I have had family and friends that have been amazing."

Colly and Rob, who live in Highfield, with their sons, have praised the NHS staff at Watford General Hospital for the care and support they have given the family.

Colly said: "I want to praise the staff at Watford Hospital, they are amazing, especially the ICU team.

"They have been phoning me twice a day, every day, and they are also checking on how me and the children are doing.

"People always moan about the NHS but when they are really needed, they are awesome

"This virus is horrific but it does bring out human kindness.

"People have been so kind and wonderful, not just to us, but throughout the pandemic there have been so many kind acts by people, and people helping others out, that's lovely to see."

Now, Colly is asking people to get the vaccine when they are able to.

She said: "If you get the chance to get the vaccine, please do. I know some people cannot have it, but if you can, when you are able to, please do get it.

"If it can stop people going through what we have been through, then please get it."