A Jewish woman in Hampstead who recovered from coronavirus has told of her experience surviving the condition which she described as “a plague” as she prepares to join her family in a virtual seder on Zoom to celebrate Pesach.
Shiva Bernheim, 61, who is a member of West London Synagogue, was discharged from hospital last week.
The mum of three, who suffers from asthma, developed a temperature and began struggling for breath after returning from a skiing trip to Saint Moritz in Switzerland last month. “I was at home for about eight or 10 days or so, and my temperature never dropped below 38.2 degrees,” she told Jewish News on Tuesday.
She was taken to the Royal Free Hospital where she remained for ten days and was kept on a supply of oxygen. “I was seriously ill because I had severe pneumonia. The first six days that I was on a covid-19 ward were pretty precarious, scary,” she said.
Bernheim told of her lonely and “absolutely exhausting and relentless” experience battling the virus in hospital and thanked its staff for their “amazing” care.
Now at home, she is self isolating in her bedroom this week as a precaution. She will be tuning into a virtual seder on Zoom to celebrate Pesach with her daughters and husband. “I won’t be joining the table for obvious reasons. We have got Zoom so that I can be with the family from my room. It will be a very short service,” she said.
“For our family, it will be very poignant, and it will be very meaningful … I am here to celebrate Passover this year having been through the plague,” she added.
Bernheim, a charity volunteer who brought her therapy dog Rolo to the Royal Free Hospital twice a week for three years, said she owed her life to NHS workers.
“There were hundreds of people involved. From the consultants, the doctors and the nurses to the cleaners. They are all my heroes. Professor Lamb, James and Will and Michelle. I only remember a few names but I will never forget any of them. The way they laid their lives on the line for me was unbelievable,” she said.
She urged the public to donate to the Royal Free Charity Covid-19 Emergency Fund.