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Ward Nine: Coronavirus | An Extract

Ward Nine: Coronavirus | An Extract

Ward Nine: Coronavirus is one woman's story of the busy covid ward she was admitted to in April 2020. It documents her own physical and mental battle with the virus, as well as the bravery of the staff and patients who surrounded her.

Below is an extract taken from the final week of Alys' stay in hospital.


Saturday May 2nd

Was awoken in the night several times by Edith trying to get up and her alarm going off. The nurses would always come straight away.

Rosa and Susan were on today, and I heard them whispering. ‘They always try and get up at the end…’

They saw me listening and stopped.

Yesterday, Edith’s husband, son and daughter phoned several times, and the nurses put it on speaker, but she was incapable of having a conversation, and I could hear her daughter crying.

Today, Susan bought in an iPad.

‘It’s for a Zoom meeting,’ she explained to me. ‘It’s so Edith’s family can see her and say—’ and she stopped.

During the daytime, either Rosa or Susan sat with Edith. She managed to wake up enough to look at the iPad – I’m not sure she understood what it was. But then, when her family came on, the most beautiful smile came over her face, and she chattered away.

It reminded me of when Dad was in the hospice. He was in a coma for the last two weeks, nothing there at all. One afternoon I sat very quietly with him, and when it was time to go, I bent over and kissed him and told him that I loved him. And at that moment, he opened his blue eyes wide and smiled at me. He knew
me, just for a second. And then he was gone.

He died that night, and Liz and I went to the hospice to sit quietly with his body for a time.

At least we were able to visit. Nobody visits me. And nobody can visit Edith.

Qasim looked at her when he came in with the food. Qasim has tried to sit with her and feed her, patiently, spoon by spoon, when the HCAs were busy with
others. Today, he shook his head and whispered something to Susan, and shortly afterwards she brought in a drip for Edith.

Sunday May 3rd

Full turn-out of staff today. Yasmin, Natalie, Maria and Fatima. Usually, they are bustling around all the time and never sit down. I remembered what Susan had
said when Boris Johnson made his sentimental speech about the two nurses who sat at his bedside.

‘Luxury to have a nurse at your bedside twenty-four hours! We’ve got 120 to look after!’

But today the four were around most of the time. They took it in turns to sit next to Edith, holding her hand. She was mumbling, but a few words were coherent.

No professional visitors on Sunday, so Fatima took me to the bathroom and then helped me with my walking exercises. Using my stick, I got as far as the window. It was a beautiful day, and Qasim had opened the window to let in the fresh air. Leaning on Fatima, I looked out. Below, in the hospital grounds, a small group of people were standing under our window, looking up.

‘It’s Edith’s family,’ said Fatima bluntly.

They stood there all day. I don’t know what they did for food and drink.

Edith was rambling now. She seemed to be talking to her mum and dad, and other long gone people. I remember, when I choked, hearing Mom’s and Dad’s
voices. We are all children here.

And then some time in the afternoon, all her machines stopped making a noise.
There was total silence on the ward. We all looked. It was Fatima sitting there, holding her hand, and staring at her.

Yasmin went over and whispered something. She drew
the curtains.

I could give several relations of good, pious, and religious people who, when they have had the distemper … have forbid their own family to come near them, in hopes of their being preserved, and have even died without seeing their nearest relations lest they should be instrumental to give them the distemper, and infect or endanger them.

Natalie was writing something on a large piece of paper. She took it over to the window, looked down, held it up, and stood there for some minutes. She
raised her hand in salute.

When she turned round, I had a glimpse of what it said.



Ward Nine: Coronavirus by Alys Morgan is available to buy here. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Conwy Mind who continue to support those affected by the pandemic.