'Will I wake up?'
'There's a 50:50 chance.'
In March 2020, Michael Rosen became unwell. Soon he was struggling to breathe, and he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus. What followed was months on the wards: a month in an induced coma, and weeks of rehab and recovery as the NHS saved his life, and then got him back on his feet. Throughout it all, a diary was kept at the end of Michael's bed, where his nurses wrote him letters of hope and support. And as soon as he was awake, he was ready to start writing his own story.
Combining stunning new prose poems by one of Britain's best loved poets and the moving coronavirus diaries of his nurses, and featuring original illustrations by Chris Riddell, this is a beautiful book about love, life and the NHS that celebrates the power of community and the indomitable spirits of the people who keep us well.
Michael caught Covid back in March 2020 and became very ill, the world knew about it and we were all hoping he would get better and come out of it.
His book is beautiful, and heartbreaking at the same time. I cried during the first part, I cried during the last. Reading the letters and notes the doctors, nurses, carers left for him while he was in his induced Coma made me realise just how many people cared for him during that time. And these people weren’t all ICU Nurses either, some were usually Children’s Speech and Language Therapists, children’s hospital nurses, rehabilitation staff, who had all came in to help the massively overwhelmed ICU staff. We know the NHS got overwhelmed really quickly, we know the virus took over like wildfire and devoured us, and we know how many people went out of their way, out of their comfort zones of their day to day jobs and were fighting on the frontline against this awful awful thing. The letters are lovely, what a beautiful thing for Michael to have, a reminder of a bad time some might say, but I say a reminder of the loving and gentle care they all gave him when he couldn’t do it himself. I loved reading his entries throughout too, poems, dreams, thought and musings. And of course his beautiful NHS Poem at the end.
I’m so glad Michael got better, he is on the mend and still more than likely facing difficulties of what Covid has done to his body. But he’s here, as he said in his book ‘I’m not dead’, and I’m so grateful. We lost a family member at the start of the pandemic due to Covid, and another family friend later on. I know of many many people who have lost loved ones this past year, who have sat by their family members side or had to FaceTime to say goodbye. I can’t imagine what Emma and their children went through, but I loved reading how much they mean to Michael and what they did to help him get through he coma and fight back.
A beautiful book full of love, sadness and hope. I wish Michael all the best and hope he is doing well now.