Happy to be alive, grateful to the NHS: recovering Michael Rosen talks about Covid
The poet and author Michael Rosen, who spent 47 days in intensive care earlier this year after contracting Covid-19, and came close to death, has talked about his rehabilitation, and about how it has changed him in an interview with the Guardian.
When he was in an induced coma, “from a personal point of view, it feels like a pre-death, because it’s a nothingness.” He has talked about a loss of certainty following his long spell in hospital: “What will I do, what will I be, how will I cope with the fact that I can’t see out of this eye or hear in this ear? And, of course, what can I do if I can’t work?”
He believes that If lockdown had been introduced earlier, he wouldn’t have caught the virus. “I wouldn’t have done the things I did in the first half of March, whether it was school visits or social events. They should have explained rationally at that point that if you mix with lots of people and there’s close contact – which was all coming out from the World Health Organisation – you’ll probably get this. But, of course, we’re living in an era where some people think the WHO or anything vaguely related to the UN is basically a communist plot.”
In the interview Rosen, a staunch socialist, says that just before he caught the virus, he was debating in the Today studio whether 70-year-olds had as much right to live as 20-year-olds. “I said: we can’t live in a society where we think old people are expendable, but it’s clear that thought was going around.”
He says it’s impossible to express just how happy he is to be alive and his gratitude to the NHS. But he criticises the government: “The NHS has been targeted in two ways: underfunded during austerity, and this constant nibbling away. Privatising.”
More recently he said on Twitter: "The more I find out about the state I was in before I got to A&E and the more I find out about the state I was in in intensive care, I get it there were several times that I could have just faded away. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried to find out."