Ursula Wick spent three weeks in intensive care so her pals took over her shop in Swindon (Picture: Media Drum World)
A mum-of-three has thanked her best friends for stepping in to keep her business going when she was hospitalised with Covid and nearly died.
Ursula Wick, 38, spent two months being treated for a severe case of the virus, including three weeks on a ventilator in the ICU.
Little did she know that her three pals, Anna, Angie and Holly, took on the running of her shop, Daisy & Daisy, in Swindon while she was ill and husband Rob, 36, self-isolated.
They also rallied the community, asking for donations to keep Christmas on track for Rob and Ursula’s sons – and the town rose to the challenge, dropping off food and Christmas presents.
Ursula, who first started developing Covid symptoms in October 2021 and is still on her way to recovery, said: ‘I didn’t know anything about any of the help until my husband came to visit me for the first time.
‘I was totally unaware that my friends had stepped in to keep my shop running and that they had managed to get the word out about what was happening to me and my family.
‘They took care of everything, involving the local community who jumped right in by giving gifts for my boys and food parcels to make sure they were okay.
‘When I found this out I burst into tears, I couldn’t believe all the kindness and generosity of people. It was very overwhelming for me and I just didn’t know how to react.
Ursula initially thought her fever was down to being overworked (Picture: Media Drum Images)
‘Shock is possibly the only word that can be used. Just the sheer amount of love that came from strangers just floored all of us.’
Ursula initially put her fatigue and temperature down to being overworked or thought she might have developed a mild bug.
But she discovered she actually had Covid when she had to take an at-home test kit in preparation for going away on holiday.
‘My thirst was crazy but nothing I drank could quench it, I felt hot yet cold, my temperature was 38.5°C and I was very sleepy,’ she said.
Her friends stepped in to ensure her business survived while she was in hospital (Picture: Media Drum Images)
‘At first I thought it was because I had overdone it, working two jobs – running my shop by day, and delivering pizza by night – mixed with something my kids could have brought home from school.
‘We, the family, were due to go away on the weekend but needed to do a home test to make sure we were Covid-free.
‘I did one of the home tests and it came back positive, then my dad booked me in for a drive-through test. That also came back positive.’
Ursula says that from that point on, her memory of what happened is patchy, but that she recalls one night when Rob had to call her an ambulance.
‘I remember waking to see a couple of paramedics at the end of my bed,’ she said.
Ursula is still recovering from her Covid infection (Picture: Media Drum Images)
‘Apparently they had been there for a few hours, monitoring me and waiting for the ambulance to arrive – and I remember trying to walk then going downstairs to the ambulance.
‘I remember staying one night in part of the hospital then I remember being moved to another part.
‘I’m unsure how long I was there for as the next thing I remember is waking up in the ICU. That was on November 30th.’
At one point in the ICU, medics put in place ‘do resuscitate permission’ because they feared Ursula was close to dying.
She wasn’t able to see Rob for more than two weeks and video chatting wasn’t possible due to the ventilation machines.
Ursula said: ‘There were moments where I felt like I couldn’t carry on, but I am a fighter. It was hard work, both mentally and physically.
‘Learning to get over my pride was hard, as the staff in ICU took over my care, even the most basic of needs were taken care of.
Ursula with her friend Eva, who helped co-found her business (Picture: Media Drum Images)
Ursula with her friend Anna, who helped rally the community (Picture: Media Drum Images)
Angie, pictured with Ursula, also stepped in to help ensure her family were looked after (Picture: Media Drum Images)
‘When I think back to it, it makes me cry to think just how close to dying I was.
‘It hit me harder when I found out that the doctor called my husband and asked his permission to resuscitate me should the need arise – as they didn’t think I was going to survive.’
While Ursula fought for her life in hospital, her friends and community fought to keep life as normal as possible for her children – Kai, 19, who is in university, Aaron, 12, and Andrew, 9.
Ursula is now Covid-free and at home, but is still recovering from the illness, using a ventilator to help her breathe and to keep her oxygen levels healthy.
‘We as a family like to help others, it’s what we have always done – so having the tables turned felt strange and we can not thank everyone enough for all they have done,’ she said.
‘That, of course, includes all the staff at the Great Western hospital, because if it wasn’t for them, I would not be here now.’
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