'I'm amazed at how quickly I've managed to turn things around' - Sunderland great-grandmother reflects on coronavirus battle

A great-grandmother who became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with coronavirus has spoken of her road to recovery as the UK marks 100 days in lockdown.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 12:01 pm

Marion Jolliff, 62, from Pennywell, was in a coma for more than a fortnight after she was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital in early March.

There, she tested positive for coronavirus and spent four weeks in hospital undergoing intensive treatment.

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

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Marion Jolliff became the first person in Sunderland to be diagnosed with coronavirus. Picture by Frank Reid.

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Since then Marion has been regaining her strength but still remains clueless as to how she contracted Covid-19.

“I’m doing fine,” Marion said.

Marion Jolliff with her husband Alen. Picture by Frank Reid.

“Everybody is saying that I’m looking fit and well and I’m putting it down to my sun tan!”

Marion has spent much of the 100 days of lockdown recovering from the illness.

She said: “I go out to sit in my green house every day and have been playing lockdown bingo with my neighbours and family members who live on the street.

“I have been round the shops a few times on my mobility scooter and everyone is saying that its good to see me out and about.

“When I first came home from hospital I couldn’t do anything – I couldn’t write or read – but now I am back to doing the likes of my bead pictures and have even been down the beach a couple of times.

She said the only remaining impact to her health related to having coronavirus is that she sometimes feels a bit breathless when speaking.

The family have an oxygen meter in the house and are keeping an eye on Marion’s oxygen levels.

Marion said that she has not had to have a return visit to hospital regarding coronavirus since returning home, but said that before she left she had a chest X-ray which showed she was improving.

Marion 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.

And 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.

But Marion couldn’t be more grateful to the NHS, saying that said she owes her life to those who cared for her.

“I am amazed at how quickly I have managed to turn things around,” Marion said.

“The doctors saved my life and I am so grateful to them, especially with being the first one to have it.

“I’m glad I went to South Tyneside Hospital as it is such a lovely hospital, the staff are fantastic.”

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