Watch as Kirkcaldy coronavirus survivor Linda returns home

Linda was in intensive care for seven days
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A Kirkcaldy family has given a heartfelt thank you to health staff who cared for their mum after she contracted coronavirus.

Linda Figala spent seven days in intensive care and was put on a ventilator.

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But she recovered, and her homecoming was an emotional moment as neighbours lined the street to clap and cheer her return.

Linda with her grandson Ollie.Linda with her grandson Ollie.
Linda with her grandson Ollie.

Linda said: “I feel so lucky to have survived this.

“After all this is over people will have a new-found respect for care workers.”

Linda's daughters from left to right, Lenka, Ivana, Adriana and Ollie.Linda's daughters from left to right, Lenka, Ivana, Adriana and Ollie.
Linda's daughters from left to right, Lenka, Ivana, Adriana and Ollie.

Her story began with a persistent headache and sore ears, and ended up with her sedated in hospital for a week.

Linda initially thought she had a cold, until her condition worsened and she was admitted to Victoria Hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.

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Struggling initially with a persistent headache and an earache, NHS24 advised her to self-isolate for seven days, but, as her health deteriorated during that time, she was told to go to hospital for assessment.

Linda said: “It started on a Thursday when I was at my work.

“I had a headache and my ears were sore. When I got home, I went straight to bed – I was feeling that bad.

“When Saturday came I couldn’t get up. I just didn’t feel very good at all, I phoned NHS24 and they had advised me to self-isolate for seven days as I had a high temperature.”

As the week went on, Linda’s symptoms got worse.

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“After self-isolating I was still feeling really ill. I was just getting worse.

“On the Monday I phoned NHS24 again and they told me that I most likely had coronavirus and that I had to self-isolate for a further 14 days. By the time Tuesday came I was getting worried so I called again and was sent to the Vic to be assessed.”

Linda’s partner Paul drove her to hospital.

“I was literally hanging off him as I was struggling to breathe,” she said.

“When we got to the assessment centre they wouldn’t let Paul in with me so I had to go alone. A nurse swabbed my throat and that was when they told me that I had coronavirus.

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“Hospital staff took me from the assessment centre, through a set of doors into an ambulance and up to the main hospital.

“That was the last thing I remembered before waking up in intensive care a week later.”

Linda’s condition was so bad doctors took the decision to sedate her and put her on a ventilator.

“When I woke up nurses were asking me if I knew who I was and where I was. They told me how lucky I was and that I was a fighter.

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“I was upset as I thought that my family didn’t know where I was – I didn’t know that the whole time I was sedated they were in constant contact with the hospital.

“A couple of days after I had woken up, hospital staff asked if I felt well enough to go to a ward.

“They brushed my hair, and I was wondering why they had done this when they wheeled my bed into the corridor and it was lined with doctors and nurses all applauding me.

“This is when I realised how lucky I actually was.”

After a week in intensive care, Linda spent four days in a ward before being released.

Her journey home had one more twist.

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“As we were turning into our street, Paul started honking the horn.

“I asked him what he was doing, but then I started to see all of my neighbours out on the street. They were clapping and cheering for me. It really made me emotional to see everyone who had come out to support me.”

Linda said she was grateful to all the staff who cared for her.

“I feel so lucky to have survived this,” she said. “After all this is over, people will have a new found respect for care workers. I want to thank the NHS – if it wasn’t for their excellent care, I wouldn’t be here today.”

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And she added: “I feel that because of coronavirus everyone has come together to become a community again.”

Lenka Grieve, Linda’s daughter, gave an insight into the family’s wait while her mum was cared for at the Vic.

She said: “The whole family was extremely worried for mum when we were told that she had been sedated and put on a ventilator.

“I phoned the hospital three times a day to get updates, and to make sure that her condition hadn’t worsened. When she was finally released from intensive care, it was such a relief to be able to speak to her.

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“The hospital staff were great. People don’t understand how lucky we are that we live in a country with free health care.

“There is nothing we can do to repay all the staff who cared for my mum. They saved her life and we will forever be grateful.”

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