Popular entertainer thanks Ipswich Hospital 'angels' for Covid care
- Credit: Andy Ottley/Archant
An Elvis impersonator and entertainer from Great Blakenham has thanked the 'angels' at Ipswich Hospital for looking after him during his stay over Christmas.
Andy Ottley, 51, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday December 20, after his throat "suddenly just started burning when I swallowed".
He took a lateral flow test that evening and another the next morning, with both returning positive results, and settled in for an isolated Christmas.
He said: "The sore throat came on very aggressive but other symptoms came after: I was really burning up, I started getting a cough and then my heart started beating funny."
Mr Ottley has had atrial fibrillation - an irregular heartbeat - four times in the past. In February 2021 he was given a cardioversion, where they stop the heart and shock it back into rhythm.
That procedure was successful and he said he'd been fine ever since until Covid struck.
Doctors were worried about the effect that coronavirus seemed to be having on Mr Ottley's heart and he was admitted to hospital on the Wednesday before Christmas - two days after testing positive.
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Speaking about the decision to go to hospital, he said: "I called 111 and they said they'd call an ambulance to come and check me over - but there would be a four-hour wait.
"I said that wouldn't be a problem, I wasn't going anywhere - obviously I couldn't. But within two minutes they called back and said they'd spoken to the doctor and I needed to be seen straight away, could I get myself to the hospital?
"They were fantastic. They told me I had to stay in because even when I was sitting still my heart rate was 160 and it should only be 60 to 70.
"I didn't need extra oxygen, it was purely medication for the heart. I was kept in a room on my own and observed as they tried to lower my heart rate.
"I cannot thank them enough. They are so under pressure.
"It was very overwhelming. I was scared in the room on my own, I wasn't allowed to see anybody, and obviously my grandchildren's presents were left at home. It was an experience I don't want to go through again. But the nurses are so professional and angels is the only word I can use to sum them up.
"I had Christmas dinner in hospital and got home about 8pm and then just rested."
Mr Ottley is grateful he'd had both of his vaccines and booster before he got the virus; he feels that protection made all the difference because of his underlying health condition.
After spending four days in hospital, he is now testing negative and on the road to recovery.
"I still get out of breath quite easily and am waiting on a cardiology appointment to see what they're going to do next because my heart is still not beating correctly," he added.
"I had to cancel all my gigs - again - which is another stressful thing. Everything up to January 14 is gone, so I've given myself a two-week window to rest up and get back on my feet."
And when he does, having a proper Christmas is high on the list of priorities - he says it's already being organised with his family.