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Co Antrim woman Sadie (94) given guard of honour as she leaves hospital after 10-week coronavirus battle

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Sadie McCaig (94) leaving hospital

Sadie McCaig (94) leaving hospital

On honeymoon with husband George in 1953

On honeymoon with husband George in 1953

At her grandson's wedding

At her grandson's wedding

Sadie McCaig (94) leaving hospital

It's been a long 10 weeks.

But when 94-year-old Sadie McCaig walked out of Mid Ulster Hospital it was a remarkable moment that marked the end of her battle with coronavirus.

The mother of three, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of two was the first to be able to walk out from the ward through a guard of honour after being discharged.

She took ill with the virus just one month after moving into her care home and was diagnosed with coronavirus on her 94th birthday on April 15.

Her symptoms were flu-like with a very high temperature and she had an extremely sore throat which saw her unable to speak at times.

She was admitted to the Covid ward in Antrim Area Hospital before moving to Mid Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt for rehabilitation.

News of the diagnosis was so worrying for her family - especially her 92-year-old husband of 67 years George, who lives in the family home in Carnmoney. He is looking forward to seeing her through the care home window today.

Daughter Alison Artt (60) said her mum is a "great lady" and they are all so proud of her.

"The first thing she said to us was, 'What about the children?' That's the foremost thing in her mind," she said.

"She's a great character, has a twinkle in her eye and would be up to a wee bit of mischief.

"She's a very generous person and always thinks of others ahead of herself."

Sadie and George have such a zest for life and were still going on trips in their motorhome to Portstewart and Ballintoy up until two years ago.

The family have rallied around George as he hoped for his wife's recovery.

Alison said: "It's been tough on him, he's been on his own in the family home but my sister and brother and I have tried our best to look after him.

"He's just so relieved to get her near home."

The family were overjoyed when they heard she was making a recovery as they had feared the worst due to her age and frailty.

"The doctors and nurses' care was astounding. They did some video calls with us on the iPad which was great.

"They are a fabulous team - it was a Dr Mark Holloway and his team in the rehab ward."

She continued: "In total she was in 10 weeks. It's been long because you can't talk to them, you can't see them, you can't hug them or support them

"It was really difficult - it was a tough time."

And when the family got to see her through the window - at her new care home, as she requires different nursing support now - it was a reminder of how lucky they are. "We are blown away that she has made it. When we met her she said, 'Can you not come in?' and I said, 'No because the virus is still about'. And she said, 'Oh is it still out there'.

"And the nurse who was with her said, 'You are one very lucky lady that you have pulled through'.

"I said to her so many people want to hear your story and she said, 'Don't make a fuss, it's only another day'."

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions for the family but they are so grateful for their happy outcome.

"It's just wonderful and it was so great to see her and be able to talk to her and tell her how much we missed her," said Alison. "Her grand-daughter made her this beautiful book called 'Sadie's memory book' and she put all the old photographs from when her and my father met right up to the current day with the two great-grandchildren in it."

She added: "We are so proud of her and it's so lovely just to put it all behind us now.

"She's looking great, she was in good form and giving off about her hair and saying she needs it done.

"We knew she was back to her old self - we couldn't believe it."

Belfast Telegraph