A LONG-suffering Covid patient's wife planned his funeral five times as he battled the bug.
Dave Smith, 72, was struck down with the virus last year and could not shake the infection for ten months.
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The retired driving instructor from Bristol said he was ready to give up after testing positive for 305 days.
He became what is thought to be the world's longest ever Covid patient.
Mr Smith told the BBC how he coughed for "five hours straight, non-stop… if you can imagine the drain that puts on your body, the energy".
He added: "I was ready to give up, I said to Lyn my wife 'let me go, I've been hanging on, it's so bad now, I'm just jelly'. If I go in the night, don't be surprised."
His wife, Lynda, said there were "a lot of times we didn't think he was going to pull through."
He told The Guardian: "Whenever I went bad, I went really bad – down to death's door. My wife started to arrange a funeral five times."
After finally testing negative, he celebrated with a bottle of champagne.
He had conditions which led to him having a compromised immune system, putting him more at risk from Covid-19.
'I WENT REALLY BAD'
His weight fell from 18.5 stone to 10 stone (117kg to 64kg) while ill due to a lack of appetite.
Mr Smith added: "At one point, I was bedridden for two or three months.
"My wife had to wash and shave me in bed because I just couldn't stand up.
"Sometimes I thought: I wish they'd take me in the middle of the night, because I just can't go on anymore.
"You get to the point where you are more afraid of living than you are of dying."
Academics from the University of Bristol, North Bristol NHS Trust and Public Health England, said Mr Smith was admitted to hospital in May 2020 with a cough and fever.
But they say he had reported symptoms six weeks before his first test in hospital, so experts think the infection was longer – meaning he could have continuously tested positive for the virus for almost a year.
Mr Smith had a history of a condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which meant he had lung disease causing inflammation of the lung tissue and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells and tends to progress slowly over many years.
Dr Ed Moran, consultant in infectious diseases at North Bristol NHS Trust and co-author on the paper, added: "It is wonderful that we were able to help this individual.
"Whilst such cases are rare there will be a number of people across the country in similar situations."
A number of people have spent long periods of time in hospital after being admitted with Covid-19. But this does not necessarily mean that they will test positive for the whole length of their stay.
Kate Garraway's husband Derek Draper, a 53-year-old former political adviser, was in hospital for a year after being admitted with coronavirus symptoms and placed in a coma.
And Jason Kelk died on Friday following his decision to withdraw his treatment after more than 14 months in intensive care.
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