Young mum with asthma hit by coronavirus felt like her 'lungs were on fire'

A young mum with asthma who has beaten coronavirus has told how her lungs felt they were on fire and it was like "she had been hit by a truck". Samantha Norcup, 31, from Burton, had to be given oxygen and says she was warned at one point the odds were not good that she would survive. The mum-of-two said she felt like her "lungs had collapsed".

She said: "I was tired and breathless, in fact, I felt like I was suffocating." But she says her life was saved by the brilliant medics at Queen's Hospital in Burton. She started showing symptoms of coronavirus at home, including having a high temperature despite being freezing.

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Mrs Norcup, who is mum to Lily and Joshua, said she was recovering from asthma treatment when she took a "funny turn".

She said: "My nails turned white, I was freezing, yet I felt roasting to touch. I passed out in bed, my face went bright red and it felt like it was tight and sunburnt. "The next day I had a temperature but it soon went and I was allowed home I was so happy.

This photograph of Samantha Norcup was taken while she was battling coronavirus

"For the next two days I just slept.

I just thought I was tired as an asthma exacerbation really does take it out of you but on the Friday night my breathing changed. "My husband Chris said it was rapid, yet shallow. "I didn't sleep much that night but when I got up on Saturday morning I just knew.

I knew I had Covid-19. "My temperature was over 39, I was coughing, breathless and my lungs were on fire. "I stood up to go toilet and my lungs felt like they were closed.

I walked the 10 steps to the loo and I couldn't catch my breath. I'd never felt so scared.... I had every single symptom going.

"I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.

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"Immediately Chris and the kids were not allowed in the room. "I thought I could fight it on my own. It sounds silly I know but I thought if I stayed at home I'd be okay.

I was coping well." However Mrs Norcup said everything changed three days later. She said: "I coughed and I couldn't breathe.

I moved and I couldn't breathe. "Chris was asleep downstairs so I called him until he woke up. I told him to come upstairs.

I needed him to call an ambulance. "I couldn't breathe. I've never been so scared in my life.

"I honestly thought I was going to die." By the time the ambulance arrived Mrs Norcup's temperature was 39 degrees She said as she was taken to hospital, leaving her house felt like it would be "the last time" she would see Chris and her children again

She said: "I was scared. "When I got to the hospital I had loads of blood tests, a Covid test and a chest X-ray. The doctor said I had pneumonia and Covid.

"He told me I was young I could fight this. "The one thing I'd been scared of contracting. The reason I hadn't left my house; I was now facing head on."

On Tuesday, April 14, the night she was taken to hospital Mrs Norcup was put on 15 litres of oxygen. She said: "It was around 2am and an ICU doctor told me, "Sam, you're really poorly. You have just had an exacerbation and now this, your lungs have been through a lot.

"If things don't start improving, we will have to take you upstairs and intubate you. The statistics aren't good, you're very poorly. "All I could think was that I have two young, beautiful children to watch grow up.

I cannot die.

Young mum with asthma hit by coronavirus felt like her 'lungs were on fire'Burton mum Samantha Norcup has battled coronavirus and lived to tell her story. She is pictured with husband Chris and children Lily and Joshua

"I just listened to him. When he left the room my wonderful nurse came in and he said, 'I know that must have been hard to hear'.

"I told him, 'I can't die', and cried. He said, 'Sam, you've got one hell of a fight, but together we will do this for your kids and husband', and that's what we did. "I fought like I've never fought before.

He was incredible. That night we managed to get my oxygen turned down to the point I'd stay out of ICU, I didn't sleep as when I dropped off, I'd wake up gasping for air. "The following day my amazing respiratory nurse, Tracey, worked hard with me.... she has known me years from admissions to the respiratory ward with my asthma."

Mrs Norcup said she put "her whole life and trust" in the nurses and they pulled her through. She said: "They are truly earth angels. "I put my whole life and trust in those nurses.

"I have so much admiration for them. I cannot thank them enough for saving my life, not once but twice in two weeks." Now she is on the mend and wants to tell her family and friends how much she loves them, while warning others about the very real dangers of coronavirus.

She said: "Over the next few days I was weaned slowly off the oxygen and began to stabilise. "I hadn't eaten much for two weeks due to the nausea I had been experiencing, but the rest is history and I'm here to tell the story. "My lungs are very sore.

I get out of breath very easy, my body is weak, I lost one-and-half stone and I still can't get my head around everything that happened. But day by day I'll get that little bit stronger. "This isn't for attention this is just to give people hope, but also show you the seriousness of this virus.

"Please stay home and stay safe. "My thoughts are with all those affected by this awful virus and I want to say a big thank you to everyone for all the support I received while I was in hospital. "I was overwhelmed with the hundreds of messages.

"To my close friends and family - I love you."

Krishna Kallianpur, Interim Executive Chief Nurse at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our staff are working above and beyond to ensure that all of our patients continue to receive exceptional care at these challenging times.

"It is so rewarding to see when a patient that we have cared for goes on to recover from COVID-19 and is discharged to be with their family."

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