A final-year student spent eight days on a ventilator after she mistook Covid-19 for fatigue from too many SQUATS.
Final-year Zoology student Lucy Patterson, 21, began feeling short of breath after a home workout, but put it down to the intense exercise.
The University of Liverpool undergraduate had no underlying health conditions and thought she was low risk.
But after collapsing eight days later on April 14, she called her GP who told her to call an ambulance.
Lucy had developed pneumonia in 50 per cent of her lungs and spent eight days on a ventilator at Liverpool University Hospital.
The undergrad from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, revealed her story to student news site The Tab.
She said: “It just felt like my lungs were tiny.
“It felt like I was really conscious of the amount of oxygen I was getting in and breathing out.
“I initially thought, ‘oh, this has been a really tough workout, I’ve overdone it, I’ve overdone the squats.’
“Like most people doing lockdown, I’ve been so bored that I’ve just done exercise every day – before, I was a bit more sporadic.
“They’d been going fine and I was really enjoying them.
“It was only when the shortness of breath started that I realised something was wrong, because it was the exact same workout that had been fine every day before.
“But it took me hours of lying down on the sofa before I was fit enough to go upstairs again.
“It started feeling like I was a bit more out of breath doing things, so I didn’t take it to be that serious – I just thought maybe I was having a slow day.
“But as the days went on, it just felt like my lungs got smaller and smaller.”
Lucy had stayed with her housemates in Smithson, Liverpool to avoid spreading the virus to her parents back home.
She had to tell her parents Helen Patterson, 64 and Michael Patterson, 66, about the seriousness of her condition over Facetime.
She said: “Before I was also in the ‘uni can’t be over yet’ mentality and wanted to stay on with my flatmates and try and make lockdown fun – ironic.
“It must have been very scary for my parents – I called them pretty much every day and they were just getting snippets of how I was progressing, whereas I was seeing it continuously.
“They saw me deteriorating with every call.
“I was so blasé about it, so my family were much more concerned about me than I was.”
Lucy spent eight days on a ventilator, but admitted it wasn’t as scary as she had imagined.
She now regrets not going to hospital sooner.
“I was definitely a part of that group before that was really blasé about it.
“I do a science subject, so I’d seen the statistics for young people.
“I was like, ‘the likelihood of me getting this, let alone it affecting me in any way is so small – I don’t need to worry.’
“But when you’re lying in that hospital bed, you don’t know if you’re going to be that 0.2 per cent that’s going to be unlucky.
“I wasn’t improving for about five days, so it could have gone the other way for me.
“Everyone deserves help – just because someone is worse off than you, doesn’t mean that you need to save a hospital bed.
“If you’re sick, you’re helping the doctors more by going in early and getting checked, rather than trying to wait it out in your bed and then getting to the point you’re so sick an ambulance has to come pick you up.”
A week after leaving the hospital on April 29, Lucy filmed herself running a kilometre.
She wanted to thank the NHS for their help and encourage others to get help if they need it.
Lucy said: “Everyone was amazing, the care was excellent but it was the little things that meant the most.
“Their smiles may have been hidden behind face masks but I could feel them through everything the nurses and doctors did for me.
“Explaining how poorly I was to my mum by video call was really hard – I was so upset and scared.
“Emily, one of the nurses, cheered me up by surprising me with treats and some new pyjamas that the team had bought for me – I was so overwhelmed.
“They’re working twice as hard as they usually need to and they’re doing such a great job.”