London – Queen Elizabeth II, after her last matchShe sympathized with patients, doctors and nurses at a London hospital last week as she listened to their stories of life on the front lines of the pandemic.
The king spoke to patients and staff at the Royal London Hospital during a virtual visit that marked the official dedication of the Queen Elizabeth Unit, a 155-bed critical care facility built in just five weeks at the height of the pandemic.In February, he experienced what Buckingham Palace described as “mild cold-like symptoms”.
“It leaves one very tired and exhausted, doesn’t it? This terrible epidemic,” she told COVID-19 patient Asif Hussein and his wife Shamina.
The Queen only returned to public life after battling the Corona virus at the end of March,In a ceremony to give thanks for the life of her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, about a year after his death at the age of 99.
The 95-year-old Queen attended the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, ending speculation that she would have to withdraw after cutting back on her public appearances after a night in hospital last October, then a COVID diagnosis in February.
“She has mobility issues. Some days are better than others,” royal reporter Roya Nikah told CBS News, adding that service to Philip was perhaps the king’s most important engagement in a decade.
The eponymous unit at the Royal London Hospital has treated around 800 coronavirus patients from the northeastern part of the metropolitan area, with staff recruited from across the region, including retired doctors, nurses and even soldiers enlisted to help.
With friends and family members barred from hospitalization by strict anti-virus measures, nurses did their best to comfort critically ill patients, Senior Nurse Mireia Lopez Rey Ferrer told Elizabeth.
Lopez Ray said, “As nurses, we made sure they weren’t alone. We’d hold their hands, wipe their tears and give them comfort. Sometimes I felt like we were running a marathon without a finish line.”
Hussain was the third member of his family to be hospitalized with COVID-19 at the end of December 2020. His brother died first, then his father died while Hussain was on a ventilator.
He said, “I remember waking up one morning and finding it really hard to breathe. I remember waking my wife saying I felt like there was no oxygen in the room. I remember sticking my head out the window, just trying to breathe, trying to get that extra oxygen.”
He was on a ventilator for seven weeks and was only recently able to stop using a wheelchair.
The nurses helped lift Hussein’s spirits by arranging video calls on a tablet computer. Shamina Hussein told the Queen that 500 friends and family around the world made one phone call to pray for her husband.
“So you have a big family, or you have a great influence on people,” said the Queen jokingly.
The couple smiled.