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Grandmother who was the first person in Sunderland to catch covid says 'I feel so lucky' as she prepares to spend Christmas with family

A great-grandmother who became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with coronavirus is looking forward to a 'quiet Christmas’ with her family after amazing doctors with her recovery.

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 7:00 am

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Marion Jolliff at home in Sunderland preparing for Christmas after she battled covid. She was thought to be the first person in the city to catch the illness.
Marion Jolliff at home in Sunderland preparing for Christmas after she battled covid. She was thought to be the first person in the city to catch the illness.

Marion Jolliff, 63, from Pennywell, was in a coma for more than a fortnight after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in early March.

During that time Marion’s family were unable to visit and had to rely on telephone updates from the hospital.

Marion Jolliff said she is grateful for the gift of health this Christmas after battling coronavirus

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But Marion proved how much of a fighter she was when her condition improved to the point where she was allowed to return home on Tuesday, April 7.

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Since then Marion has been recovering at home and is now looking forward to spending Christmas with husband Alen and daughter Amber, 29.

Hailing her health as the best gift of all, Marion said: “I’m a lot better than I was.

Marion Jolliff with her husband Alen.

"I went to South Tyneside District Hospital on my birthday – November 27 – to see one of the consultants who looked after me in ICU and he was over the moon with me.

"He said that I wouldn’t need to see him again for a check up.”

However Marion says she is still struggling with her chest and finds herself feeling breathless when speaking – something she believes to be a long term impact of Covid.

She is now hoping for a further health check in the New Year.

Marion Jolliff with her husband Alen as the couple look forward to Christmas

Marion also recalled suffering from delirium in hospital and seeing hallucinations of cockroaches on the walls.

Since then she has had problems with her memory and does not remember the run-up to going into hospital or any of the four weeks receiving care.

"I still have no memory of the entire period I was unwell,” she said.

"The last thing I remember is coming back from the Empire on February 19, then I can’t remember anything until the day I became unwell.

"The next thing I remember after that is a male voice saying do I agree to go on a ventilator and I said; ‘if it will help me’ – which meant that I would be unconscious."

Sadly it was only after she came home that Marion learned her brother Joe Jenkins, 65, of the Ford Estate, had died following his own battle with the illness.

“People say I have done so well and I feel so lucky.”

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