Councillor ‘lucky to be alive’ after battling Covid-19 and pneumonia

A COUNCILLOR admitted he is lucky to be alive after contracting coronavirus which developed into pneumonia.

Cllr David Sweeton, 56, who represents Stalybridge/Dukinfield, spent eight days in Tameside Hospital, where others on his ward were not so fortunate.

“A couple of men sadly didn’t make it and, sat at home, it could so easily have been me. I realise how lucky I have been,” he said.Being taken to hospital promptly was also a lifesaver for Cllr Sweeton, chair of Tameside Council’s Speakers’ Panel (liquor licensing).

He said: “Doctors told me if I had waited another eight hours before getting medical help, it would have been too late, which is scary.

“When it turned into pneumonia, it was only 50-50 that I would respond to the drug, but luckily I did.”

Cllr Sweeton admitted it had been very emotional, saying his brush with death has changed his outlook on life.

He said: “I wish to thank all my wonderful family and friends for their magnificent support.

“From the paramedics who rushed me in to the doctors and nurses at Tameside Hospital. You are inspirational.”

Cllr Sweeton, who was self-isolating in accordance with Government guidelines, could not believe he had contracted what he described as “silent killer” virus.

He said: “Thirty-six hours before I was admitted into hospital, I was staining a fence in my garden. It was a long stretch, high and a difficult job.

“I thought I was starting with a chest infection and cold, never for one-minute realising it was coronavirus.”

When it quickly became serious, Cllr Sweeton’s partner Chris summoned medical help and he was taken into hospital where tests proved he had the virus when he was moved from a high dependency to a dedicated ward for Covid-19 patients.

He described the illness as “like falling off a cliff”.

Cllr Sweeton continued: “I was convinced I hadn’t got the virus but, when it was confirmed, such was the shock my oxygen levels dropped.

“I was pumped full of oxygen and drugs for 36 hours and I knew people were worried by the just of conversations.”

Cllr Sweeton became asthmatic as an adult but believes keeping fit helped in battling the virus.

“I go to the gym three or four times each week and earlier was a county runner and very good swimmer,” he said.

Cllr Sweeton was worried for Chris and the shock, stress and worry she was going through, fearing they may never again see each other.

“Luckily she packed my iPad and charger and I was able to Facetime her three times a day, which was a big help,” he said.

Cllr Sweeton was amazed at the work being done by doctors and nurses, adding: “I want to spread a positive message.

“While people are dying, which is absolutely heartbreaking, the majority are coming out at the other end.

“When you look at the news it is all doom and gloom but there are positive things happening.”

Cllr Sweeton also reflected on a conversation with The Correspondent shortly before his illness, in his liquor licensing position, about pub landlords not adhering to the lockdown by allowing illegal drinking.

He said: “Some people don’t seem to get it. This is a silent killer.

“They are putting people’s safety and lives at risk by drinking illegally, holding parties and failing to self-isolate.”

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