We've just launched our annual flu campaign and this time it's personal
14 September 2016

Hi, I’m Cheryl,

I’m 52 years old and work in the cashiers’ office at Tameside Hospital. I have two boys, Michael and Zach who are both grown up and are at university. My husband is called Nigel and we’ve been together for 31 years.

I was enjoying Christmas last December with my nearest and dearest when on Boxing Day, 26th December 2015, I began to feel unwell. After two days of trying to battle the illness I decided to visit the local Walk-in Centre. Here the medics confirmed that I had flu and that a couple of days of bed rest were needed to help put me right.

I continued to deteriorate and, on the 2nd January, felt so ill that I said to my husband that I needed to get to A&E. Nigel grabbed his car keys and we made our way to hospital.

Five weeks later I woke up. My last memory was arriving at A&E and having a conversation with a doctor about how sick I felt. I was put into an induced coma on the 2nd January 2016 and didn’t wake up until the first week of February 2016. When I woke, I learned that I had been very ill, so ill that both the doctors and my family were concerned whether I would pull through.

I had a long road to recovery. Five weeks in a coma had left my muscles weak – so much so that I couldn’t walk unaided, struggled to have a bath and couldn’t even hold a pen in my hand.

I didn’t have my free flu vaccine last year and the reason I didn’t have it is the same reason that many others don’t – it was because a few years ago when I had the jab, I felt a bit off colour for a few days.

The flu virus I caught was the flu virus that the jab would have prevented. The jab takes less than 10 seconds and you barely feel a thing.

The flu virus is real and can take hold very quickly. I went from being fit and healthy on 25th December to being in a coma on the 2nd January.