Northern Ireland

Co Down woman who has battled Covid-19 for 13 weeks begs people 'please don't get complacent'

Killinchy woman Angela Breen has been battling Covid-19 and its symptoms for the past 13 weeks
Killinchy woman Angela Breen has been battling Covid-19 and its symptoms for the past 13 weeks Killinchy woman Angela Breen has been battling Covid-19 and its symptoms for the past 13 weeks

A CO Down woman who has spent the last 13 weeks battling Covid-19 has told of how the "horrendous" virus has left her with pneumonia, potential damage to her liver and stomach, and unable to walk unaided.

Angela Breen (37) described her battle to recovery as a "frightening experience".

A business manager in the motor trade, the Killinchy woman, who has no underlying health conditions, became unwell at the start of March with a sore throat and "relentless" cough.

Sent home from work, a few days later her partner called an ambulance when she could not breathe.

Taken to an isolation unit at the Ulster Hospital, blood tests and x-rays revealed she had Covid-19. She was discharged after one night.

The following week, she was taken by ambulance to hospital after struggling to breathe again.

It was found that the mother-of-three had Covid pneumonia on her right lung.

After battling the condition for the next four weeks, she felt better only to then lose her voice and go on a double antibiotic.

Ms Breen returned to A&E a further time. She collapsed on arrival and it was found she had Covid pneumonia but this time on both lungs.

She was swabbed on May 22 and tested positive for Covid-19.

Thirteen weeks on from first testing positive, she said she is due back at hospital soon for a scan of her abdomen and also to allow further tests on her liver as it is feared the virus has caused damage to the organ.

She must also undergo further x-rays to see if her lungs have cleared.

Ms Breen said she remained unwell and spent her days in bed while her partner and sons must help her to the bathroom.

"Nobody can help because nobody is allowed in the house. I need help to do the simplest of things as I can't manage to walk unaided by myself," she said.

"The scariest thing is that no one can tell me if I am immune. It seems that the virus has flared up and never left me from March, rather than becoming infected again. But everything is so uncertain.

"I've a steep road of recovery ahead of me but I'm going to keep fighting it. I consider myself very lucky in comparison to those who have required ICU help and those unfortunate people who have lost their lives."

As lockdown restrictions are further lifted, Ms Breen begged people "for the sake of your family and friends and my family and friends, for the sake of those you love, please don't get complacent".

"I wouldn't wish this on anyone else but the sad fact is, this could be you, your partner, your child, your parent, your grandparent, your brother or your sister," she said.

"Whatever regulations are in place, stick to them. I am afraid now myself because I don't know if I am immune. I am afraid of catching it again.

"It does frighten me that everything seems to be going back to normal. It has been such a frightening experience."