Grimsby man returns to work after three-year battle to beat swine flu bug
A SWINE flu survivor has returned to work three years after contracting the disease that almost killed him.
Paul Taylor, 35, feared he would never see his wife and children again after contracting the illness, which destroyed his entire immune system and attacked several main organs.
He will now have to take medication every day for the rest of his life, but he has vowed to remain positive.
Paul, of Huddleston Road, Grimsby, said he is also delighted to be able to return to work – albeit part-time – at the Van Franchise, in Jackson Place, Humberston.
He said: "I was never scared of dying but I was afraid of missing the ones I love.
"Having the disease was terrible but I did not realise how long-lasting the after-affects would be.
"It has taken me three years to get back on my feet."
As reported, back in June 2009, The World Health Organisation (Who) declared a flu pandemic. Eight months later the virus had killed 457 people across the UK.
By summer 2010, levels of the disease had fallen and Who announced the pandemic over.
However, for Paul his struggles had only just begun.
The first sign that anything was wrong was when he developed flu-like symptoms in October 2009 – when he complained of a headache and that his body was aching all over.
He was given a course of Tamiflu and within two weeks he felt well again.
Unfortunately this was not to last and less than a week later he was admitted to Grimsby's Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital, where he was diagnosed with swine flu.
His oxygen levels were low and blood tests revealed that both his kidneys had shut down. He also had pneumonia, with an X-ray showing his right lung to be completely saturated.
The married father-of-two said: "I was in excruciating pain and monitored on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a week.
"I am six foot tall and at the time I weighed 11 stones – I had lost two stones in two weeks due to the illness.
"Medics took me for a CT scan which revealed I also had abscesses covering two thirds of my outer lung wall. I was transfer red to Castle Hill Hospital, Hull, for surgery where surgeons operated through my back, breaking six ribs in the process."
The operation was successful and a week later Paul was looking forward to the prospect of going home.
Then, as he spent Sunday night watching the X Factor results in hospital through a pool of sweat, he released something had gone wrong.
Swabs confirmed that he had developed MRSA – a bacterial infection – and he was put into an isolation room.
He said: "The hardest part for me was trying to fight this new infection with no immune system, as the swine flu had killed it.
"If drugs and medication did not work I would be dead.
"Finally on December 23, 2009, I was allowed back home but my life has not been the same since.
"I am still in constant pain today from it all and I have to take medication daily to carry on.
"I rely on doses of morphine three times a day and I am on a drug which cancer patients use during their end-of-life care.
"Despite all this, I have to look at the positive side and I am grateful for still being alive.
"I also want to thank my very understanding boss at work for allowing me to come back after three years."