Fight of his life: Casino man’s ‘terrifying’ COVID-19 battle
A CASINO man who came down with the region's worst case of COVID-19 returned to the place where he was nursed back to health on Tuesday.
Not long ago, Warren Ainsworth, 74, was fighting for his life, intubated in intensive care at Lismore Base Hospital.
Still in shock after the ordeal, Mr Ainsworth and his adoring wife of nearly 50 years, Julie, expressed their gratitude to hospital staff.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Mr Ainsworth said.
"It was over and above, some of the things they did for me.
"I picked the best place in the world to be sick."
Much of the 40-day fight remains a blur for Mr Ainsworth, the illness impacted his state of consciousness and his state of mind.
But the doctors and nurses remember well his rapid physical decline, and the small signs of light at the end of the tunnel.
"He did have a delirium, he was a little bit confused for a while, it did worry us and it was upsetting for the family," Lismore intensive care nurse Isabel Rendo said.
"Then there was a day Julie brought in letters from his grandchildren. He asked for his glasses and put them on, he was reading the letter and it actually meant something to him. That was a lovely moment when we thought, 'Warren's coming back'."
In unprecedented times, hospital staff were confident in their ability to care for Mr Ainsworth. "He had the best chance of survival with us," Ms Rendo said.
"We're well trained, well supported and well resourced, Australia has the best intensive care service in the world, I think. We felt safe and secure.
"Looking after sick patients like Warren, that's our job and that's what we love."
Nurse Rose Turner looked after Mr Ainsworth during the rest of his stay at hospital, before and after his stint in intensive care.
"He was very positive, he had a real fighting spirit, he had so much to fight for," she said.