George Clark stared death in the face and grabbed his one in five chance of surviving Covid-19 with both hands.
Now he lives every single day as if it’s his last and says the simple things in life really matter – like hot buttered toast and good old-fashioned grub like mince and tatties.
Design engineer George spent almost seven weeks in an induced coma at Ayr Hospital from mid-March, while the ICU team battled to save his life.
Now, despite having to learn how to walk and talk and do almost everything all over again, George, 61, from Prestwick, is back at work full time and thoroughly enjoyed cooking the traditional Christmas dinner he nearly never got.
The dad of three said: “It’s only when you’ve stared death in the face and managed to walk away that you realise how wonderful life really is.
“The simple things matter most, hugging my wife Fiona and our kids, sitting in my favourite chair at home, watching Rangers on the telly and home-cooked meals.
“When I was really ill, those were the things I could only dream about.”
George says he has just one special wish, to have family holiday with his wife and grown-up kids.
He said: “I’d love for all of us to visit Switzerland or Austria, but it needn’t be anything fancy as long we were together and safe.”
George, who works for local engineering company Ampcontrol, says he was too ill to worry about whether he would make it through each day.
He said: “I didn’t have a clue how desperately ill I was. Poor Fiona and the kids were the ones who had all the worry.
“They couldn’t get in to see me because of Covid, so they had to make do with FaceTime and phone calls.
“I realise how lucky I am to still be here. I was told I only had a one in five chance of survival, so know how lucky I am to be here today.
“Half of the others who were in ICU with me weren’t so lucky. They didn’t make it.
“It’s only thanks to the love of my family and the incredible hard work and selflessness of our brilliant NHS that I’m here to tell the tale.”
George was rushed to hospital on March 21 after what he feared was a bad cough. He did not leave ICU until May 19.
He said: “I can’t remember anything from those lost six-and-a-half weeks, and that’s probably just as well.
“I’ve had to learn to do everything all over again, walking and talking, even standing up without falling over.
“It’s been a gruelling recovery process, but if it hadn’t been for all the incredible NHS staff, everyone from the cleaners to the top consultants, I wouldn’t be alive today.”
George, who has been married to wife Fiona, 57, a staff nurse, for 31 years, says the faces of his family, son Steven, 23, daughter Rebecca, 25, and son Ryan, 27, who FaceTimed him from New Zealand, were the best medicine.
He said: “Getting home to them kept me fighting for my life. I could hardly believe my eyes when so many people turned up to cheer me out of hospital. I defy anyone not to have a wee greet it was so emotional.”
George fought through a gruelling rehab. He continued: “There have been a few shaky days, but my gym has been walking along Prestwick beach, breathing in fresh sea air.
“I still have a few pins and needles in my right hand, but they’re fading and I’m steady on my feet now.
“Getting back to work part-time in September, and full-time from November was another huge step forward.
“Seeing my colleagues and getting back into the old routine has stopped me dwelling on the awfulness of what might have been.
“I’ve made myself a promise to enjoy every single day now, and that’s a promise I intend keeping.”
Two of Scotland’s busiest shopping streets lie deserted yesterday on what should have been the start of the sales, one of the busiest days of the year, as non-essential shops shut down under Tier 4 restrictions.
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