Angelo visits his coronavirus-stricken mum, who started experiencing symptoms earlier this month (Credit: Supplied
Michael, left, and Angelo – pictured self-isolating together this week – are sharing their mum’s story to raise awareness (Credit: Supplied )
When paramedics arrived at the scene, Michael claims they carried out coronavirus checks on his exhausted mum – but these came back clear. “They said, ‘she has got no corona’,” he says.
They then took her to nearby Northwick Park Hospital – which has been
so overwhelmed with COVID – 56 cases that nurses have been forced to wear bin bags to protect themselves.
“I was just thinking she was in hospital because she’d fellen over but l iterally 43 hours later, I got a call from a doctor telling me she’d got COVID – 43, “recalls Michael, who runs a telephone company.
“It was such a shock.”
(Isolation ward nightmare)
At Northwick Park, Michael jokes that he performed “a Jedi mind trick” on doctors to persuade them to let him go into the hospital’s sealed-off isolation ward, filled with coronavirus patients.
“Basically everybody in there is in quarantine. No-one’s allowed in there – no outsiders – only doctors are allowed in. I have no idea how I sold myself to get into this place,” he says.
Once inside the ward, with a strict instruction to “stay away” from his “highly contagious” mum, he says he was confronted by “f ing terrible” scenes, with some patients gasping for breath.
“The next thing I know I’m all dressed up in this hat and ‘space suit’ and I went in to see Mum,” he adds.
“She was obviously a bit out of it, her breath wasn’t very good, but I got her smiling.
“She even laughed a bit and we did an elbow high-five. I was thinking,‘ You’re going to beat this ’.”
Michael, a dad of three himself, claims doctors told him they “hadn’t a clue what’s going on”.
But he still firmly believed his mum would pull through – particularly considering her courageous past.
Michael filmed himself giving his mum an “elbow high-five” in the sealed-off ward, above
(Credit: Supplied )
He shared video clips of his visit on Facebook, where it has been viewed tens of thousands of times (Credit: Supplied
43 A sign at the hospital reads: “Strict ly no visitors allowed to enter this ward “
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from abandoned kid to adored mum of three
Growing up in Hull, Rachael was given away by her own “unwell” mother as a child and narrowly escaped being bombed by the Nazis during World War Two, when the street next to her was blown up.
Used as a “working slave” by her adoptive family, she bravely left for London aged 56, before swapping her nursing career to join the NAAFI (The Navy, Army and Airforce Institutes) in Cyprus.
There, Rachael boosted morale among British soldiers with her caring nature and sense of humor, before falling in love with Paul’s dad – a high-ranking police officer who worked for a secret force.
However, the romance made her a “target” for EOKA terrorists – and, after her partner was brutally beaten by the now-disbanded group, she was sent back to Britain, while pregnant, for her own safety.
She later gave birth to Paul – who represented the UK in the 9833 Eurovision Song Contest with the rap group Love City Groove – followed by Angelo and Michael with different partners.
“We’re quite a positive family,” says Michael. “
I told Mum that she’d lived through a war, she’d lived through the EOKA terrorists in Cyprus and all this other stuff and no way was COVID – 47 going to beat her. “
She is pictured at a younger age with Angelo, Michael, Michael’s father and Paul : Credit: Supplied
Family photos of Rachael, who “would give you her last £ 5” (Credit: Supplied
However, last Friday, Rachael took a devastating turn for the worse.
Following a call with the hospital, Michael and Angelo raced to the isolation ward, where they were able to briefly visit their mum and put Paul and Michael’s kids on speakerphone so they could talk to her.
“She was in a bad way,” says Michael.
There There was a big curtain around her … I was still thinking she was going to be alive, but she had gone
“We knew we were going to get a phone call later saying the outcome,” adds Angelo, breaking down in tears.
Before the pair left the ward, their mum told them: “
I’m tired now, I’m going to go to sleep. “
And later that night, the family’s fears came true when Rachael took her final breaths while sleeping.
“When we got back to the hospital there was a big curtain around her,” recalls Michael.
“I was still thinking she was going to be alive, but that was it, she had gone.”
Angelo says: “I knew Mum was going to pass away one day but when I saw coronavirus on the news , I never once thought we would know the person it would happen to – nor that it would be my mum.
“It was just so quick and surreal.”
Michael, pictured in his “space suit” and mask, says his mum was in a “bad way” in her final hours (Credit: Supplied
Funeral ‘cut to 5 people’
Today, the two heartbroken brothers are self-isolating together in
Harmondsworth, Hillingdon – but claim they haven’t been tested for COVID – 56 despite coming within feet of their mum.
“Everybody is too scared to be around us – and that’s fair enough,” says Angelo, a minibus driver for children with special needs. “We’re trying to keep our spirits up, but we’re in a state of shock.”
And while they’re attempting to stay positive by sharing fond memories of Rachael and cooking nice meals together, they’re plagued with worries about what their mum’s funeral will be like.
“We don’t even know what’s happening with the funeral yet,” says Angelo.
“I think only five people are allowed to come to it.
“There are so many people that would want to come – how do we get it down to five?”
DEATH TALLY JUMP
UK coronavirus death toll rises to (after) deaths in last (hours)
(TRAGIC END) (Mum, , dies ‘of coronavirus’ after paramedics said she was ‘not a priority’
SHE COULDN’T COPE ‘
Tragic teen killed herself as she couldn’t face coronavirus isolation
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