Fife Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey is planning a big birthday party, after fearing she would never reach 40.
Pauline, who grew up in Crossgates and now lives in Cambuslang, has spoken about her fight for life after becoming infected with Ebola while treating others with the deadly disease in Sierra Leone.
“I’m planning a big party for my 40th,” said the 39-year-old. I’m also looking forward to Hogmanay. Last year I was in the isolation tent. I remember telling my sisters, Toni and Karen, to go out and celebrate but they wouldn’t leave the hospital. This year we’ll do it in style.”
Last December Pauline returned home after Christmas and started to feel unwell. Blood tests confirmed the worst. The next 21 days were spent in isolation at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
“For the first while I felt OK. I texted friends to say it wasn’t any worse than a bad hangover. I thought I’d got off lightly, then suddenly the virus took a hold. I turned my phone off, which panicked all my friends.
“My organs started to fail and I was drifting in and out of consciousness. At one point I told the doctors I’d had enough. I’d watched people die from the disease and knew what was coming.”
She started to recover after being treated with the experimental drug ZMabb and blood plasma from survivors.
Pauline, who returned to her job at Blantyre Health Centre six weeks after leaving hospital, has been nominated for a Great Scot award for her selfless efforts in Africa.
She said: “I have no regrets about going. I just got unlucky. I would go back to Sierra Leone or another Ebola-stricken country in a heartbeat, but I wouldn’t do that to my family.”