Welcome back - hero gran's home for tea after six-week virus fight
A grandmother who tested positive for Covid-19 was given a hero's welcome home after making a miraculous recovery from the virus.
Mary O'Reilly (72), from Artane, Dublin, completed a staggering 19-week stay in hospital yesterday, six of those spent battling coronavirus.
Around 70 neighbours gathered outside Ms O'Reilly's house to celebrate her return home with tea and Prosecco.
Among the socially-distanced crowd were her children, grandchildren and gardai from Santry.
An upbeat Ms O'Reilly told the Herald she was delighted to finally be home with her family after weeks of being apart from them.
"I'm feeling great. I have just come home and they were having a party for me. I'm delighted," she said.
"I'm happy to see everyone, but I'm so happy to see my grandkids and children.
"I have loads to catch up on with everyone because I haven't seen them since January. I've really missed everyone."
She added she was just "so happy" to be back in her own house.
"The first thing I was really looking forward to when I got in the door was having a hot cup of tea," she said.
"I don't drink, so I left the Prosecco for everyone else."
Ms O'Reilly was admitted to Beaumont Hospital on January 29 after she became critically ill with bacterial pneumonia.
After weeks of fighting the illness, she was transferred to Clontarf Orthopaedic Hospital for rehabilitation care.
Just as she was showing signs of recovery, Ms O'Reilly tested positive for Covid-19 during the first week of April.
Her daughter Deirdre told the Herald: "Within days, she went downhill.
"She went back into the ICU in Beaumont Hospital, and she was put on a CPAP mask.
"She was in Beaumont for six weeks fighting the coronavirus, and then she got a couple of tests and, thankfully, they were confirmed negative."
The mother-of-four and grandmother-of-six then returned to Clontarf Hospital.
"She went back to Clontarf Hospital because she felt weak after lying in the bed for so long," said Deirdre.
"When we were told on Wednesday that she could come home, we were over the moon."
Deirdre said as her mother is a dialysis patient, the family was worried "her body wouldn't pull through" the illness.
"She's 14 years waiting on a liver transplant. Because of her underlying conditions, we were worried her body wouldn't pull through," she said.
"We are so excited to have her back. It was so amazing to have her home and get her back into her house.
"To think back in April we didn't know if this day would ever come. That's the wow factor for us."
Her family was ecstatic to see Ms O'Reilly after weeks of staying in touch through video chatting.
"We couldn't visit her because of the restrictions, so the fact that she was there on her own and all, that was something we found really hard," Deirdre said.
"The nurses in Beaumont were amazing. They arranged group FaceTime with us all. That was great.
"She was absolutely loving the social-distancing party we had for her yesterday. She was even a bit teary-eyed.
"She was just delighted to see everyone again."
Deirdre added the O'Reilly family would like to thank medical staff in Beaumont and Clontarf hospitals who helped her recover, and Santry Community Garda Station.