A COVID-19 survivor has been reunited with the nurse who helped to save her life.

Janice Keen is now recovering at home in Acomb after a harrowing ordeal, during which her family were told she only had a 50 per cent chance of survival.

The 60-year-old key worker’s world was turned upside down during a night shift at the end of March.

“I felt so ill,” said the senior care worker. “You would have thought someone had hit me with a sledgehammer.”

With the UK in the early stages of lockdown, Janice initially went home to self-isolate. But she collapsed on the floor after feeling severely dehydrated, and was taken to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, where she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

“I went downhill rapidly,” said Janice. “I remember trying to get up through the night attempting to walk.”

Seriously ill and requiring oxygen, Janice said she initially rejected the use of a life-saving CPAP mask because the intensity of the oxygen it was providing was unbearable, and she was facing the prospect of being placed into an induced coma.

However, she described how an act of persuasion from nurse Theresa Smith provided light at the end of the tunnel.

“I had reached rock bottom and just wanted to curl up into a ball, admitted Janice. I had no energy left, but Theresa gave me reason to keep fighting.”

Aware that the life-saving mask was making her patient’s mouth painfully dry, Theresa negotiated a deal with Janice to give her a drink every 45 minutes, provided she committed to wearing the mask.

“Theresa and her team did a great job,” said Janice. “What they do is more than a job to them. They are one big family. I am so grateful.”

Janice was transferred to Hexham General Hospital on May 11, before returning home last week, and being re-united with Theresa from a suitable distance in her garden.

“It was just amazing, so special,” said Theresa. “I don’t consider myself as a hero. I was just doing my job. I am part of an amazing team, with people who work in lots of specialties, who also cared for and are continuing to care for Janice. We all wish her and her family well.”

While in hospital, the mum of four passed two milestones – her 30th wedding anniversary to husband Jeff and her 60th birthday. She did not see her family during her 10-week stay in hospital, but during the final week she was able to wave at Jeff from her window at Hexham hospital.