A father-of-two who nearly died from pneumonia, sepsis, respiratory failure and a stroke, caused by coronavirus, said he was “so grateful” to be alive to celebrate Christmas with his family.
Omar Taylor, 31, spent six weeks in Colchester General Hospital earlier this year.
He was the youngest reported patient in the world to have a stroke due to Covid-19.
He said: “It feels like a miracle that I am even here.”
Mr Taylor suffered the most severe stroke possible, with multiple microbleeds. Doctors said his brain was being attacked on both sides, in a “cytokine storm”.
He spent 20 days on a ventilator in intensive care and his wife Kaitlyn, who is training to be a nurse at the same hospital, was told to prepare for the worst.
When he began to show signs of recovery, doctors said he would probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life but he managed to walk out of hospital in May.
Mr Taylor was left with mobility issues and minimal speech when he got home to Rowhedge, near Colchester.
But he learned to speak again and recently returned to work as a regional director of Care UK.
A fundraising page created by a friend raised nearly £19,000, which the family used to fund private therapy sessions.
“Looking back, it doesn’t feel like it happened to me, it doesn’t even feel real,” Mr Taylor said.
Doctors recently discovered one of the valves in his heart did not close at birth, and he is due to have surgery to fix it.
Mrs Taylor said: “They never would have found out if it hadn’t been for what has happened. We are so grateful to my colleagues at the hospital who have looked after him so well.”
She said this year had been “horrendous” at times but it had ultimately brought them closer together as a family.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “It has changed our outlook on life. Omar is a lot calmer, more settled and we all appreciate everything more.
“It has changed our lives forever.”