‘Beautiful’ gesture for virus survivor
A young father-of-two who spent six weeks in hospital fighting the coronavirus arrived home to an extraordinary scene outside his house this week.
Omar Taylor, 31, was rushed to hospital and put in an induced coma after falling ill with the coronavirus in March.
He spent several weeks in intensive care, where he battled through double pneumonia, sepsis, heart failure and two strokes. At one point his wife, Kaitlyn, received an early morning phone call telling her to prepare for the worst.
But he miraculously walked out of Colchester Hospital in southeast England on Wednesday, grinning as staff gave him a round of applause.
Ms Taylor described the moment as better than their wedding day.
"We thought Omar would be coming out in a wheelchair, but he walked around the corner, and wow were we surprised," she said.
"It was the best feeling I have ever felt in my life. I can honestly say that it was better than our wedding day, and better than the days that both our children were born. I think this is because I never thought it would happen, and we were all together as a family."
But the celebration didn't stop there.
When the family later pulled up to their house in Rowhedge, they were greeted by dozens of their neighbours who had gathered to welcome Omar home.
In an emotional video shared on Facebook, he could be seen waving and wiping his face as they clapped around him, a rainbow sign reading "Welcome Home Omar" hanging above his head.
"Thank you to the beautiful village of Rowhedge and all of our family and friends who gathered to clap Omar into his home. It was beautifully overwhelming and incredibly heartwarming!" Ms Taylor wrote on Facebook.
"We got our daddy home. Miracles do happen … Things are very different, but we are truly grateful for Omar returning home" she said.
Omar now has a long road to recovery ahead of him.
Ms Taylor, who is a trainee nurse, said he had developed aphasia - the inability to speak, read and write - after suffering a stroke and had also lost movement on his right side.
"Cognitively they are confident he is understanding what we all are saying which is fantastic news. Docs said it's going to be an intensive, long and very slow recovery process. He also has to regain movement on his right side," she said in a post on Facebook last month.
On Wednesday, she said while Omar was still unable to speak, he was doing well at home.
"Omar has settled in very well at home. He is pottering around the house looking for things to do," she wrote on a GoFundMe page set up for the family.
"Obviously, Omar is still very much debilitated, and his condition is quite poor at the minute, but he is getting as much rest as he can with a wife and two young children in the house."
"I feel so good to have my daddy home," the couple's daughter, Vivienne, told the BBC .
Ms Taylor described the ordeal as a "nightmare", saying there were only a few times they were allowed to see each other and talk.
In April she wrote: "After having a second negative COVID-19 test come back, the staff were shocked at how long it had been since Omar had seen his wife and children … so they kindly went high, high up and got us a special one-off visit to see our daddy Omar," she said.
"Very emotional to say the least … we got to spend about an hour with Omar. Omar was overwhelmed with happiness and very emotional to see his family!"
Ms Taylor has thanked National Health Service (NHS) workers for their heroic efforts and for the many sacrifices they've had to make since the beginning of the pandemic.
"Thank you to each and every member of staff who saved Omar's life," she said.
"I still can't get my head around the fact that you are all risking your own lives and the lives of your own family, to save the lives of our family. You are true heroes!"
More than A$30,000 has been raised for the family on GoFundMe.
Originally published as 'Beautiful' gesture for virus survivor