A mum-of-five who died with coronavirus warned ‘I might not make it’ in her final Facebook posts.
Karen Hobbs, 40, suffered a cardiac arrest and died on January 19, just weeks after testing positive.
The ‘beautiful’ and loving mum, from Cardiff, fell ill with the virus before Christmas and was taken to hospital on December 27.
Despite previously being ‘fit and healthy’, Karen’s condition quickly deteriorated and she was placed into an induced coma.
The former EasyJet air stewardess rarely left the house during the pandemic and it is unclear how she first became infected.
Now, her heartbroken family have spoken out a week after her death to urge people to stick to the lockdown rules.
Karen’s sister, Rachel Hobbs, said: ‘For the first couple of days she was at home. She couldn’t do anything basically, she was in bed, had no energy.
‘I thought she was going to collapse because of her cough and her breathing.
‘You see it on the TV when they’re on the oxygen and everything but it’s different when someone is in front of you doing it.
‘It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed.’
Karen gave a glimpse of life in intensive care with a series of haunting Facebook posts after she was rushed to the University Hospital of Wales.
One post on December 28 read: ‘Well I got sent home from hospital last night only to have to ring an ambulance as I couldn’t breathe again so back in hospital…it’s far to say Covid has well and truly kicked my butt!’
Another post two days later adds: ‘The lady in the bed opposite me has just died in front of me – from Covid. Poor, poor lady, the nurses worked so hard to get her back but she couldn’t be helped.
‘Let that serve as a warning to anyone who still thinks it’s okay to break the rules.’
On New Year’s Eve, Karen described how she was ‘struggling to reply’ to people’s well wishes, adding: ‘I can’t manage to keep sitting and texting.’
But it was not until an update on January 2 that Rachel and her family realised how serious her sister’s condition was.
A post shared by Karen said: ‘Being place into an [induced] coma and warned that I might not make it, please everyone pray for me that I wake from this and come home to my kids. Terrified is not the word!’
Recounting Karen’s last days, Rachel, 41, said: ‘We were called in the week before she passed.
‘We all went in that Tuesday and the consultant came in and explained a little bit about what was happening and how ill she was. It was multiple organ failure they called it.
‘He basically said “we do think she’s going to die”. We were just stunned. We thought she would be okay.’
Rachel, brother Chris and Karen’s ex-partner Pete were able to visit Karen in person one last time.
In her memory, staff at the intensive care department gave each of Karen’s children a hand print and a lock of her hair as well as a memory box.
Rachel said: ‘We were just gobsmacked. We just thought she’ll go in and come out in a few weeks and she’ll get better.
‘It hasn’t sunk it. I didn’t think it would be her, a fit and healthy person.’
For Karen’s family her passing is particularly hard to process given the Pentwyn mum’s determination to stick to lockdown rules.
Rachel added: ‘She didn’t go out, she did her shopping online. In lockdown I used to go around and just wave to the kids from the garden or stand outside and she’d open the window and I’d stand away and talk to her through the window.
‘The only other place she would have gone is to the school and back but other than that she would be in the house.
‘[People breaking the rules], it makes you mad. My poor sister is now gone and she was the most careful person. Then you have people out willy nilly.’
Paying tribute to her ‘funny’, straight-talking sister, Rachel said: ‘She was a proper mum. She would sit there and colour for hours, she’d play games.
‘They’re so well-behaved, the five of them, when they’re over you wouldn’t know they’re there.’
She added: ‘Her friends said she had the biggest heart. She was always there for everybody else. Even though she was busy all the time she would always have time for other people.’
A GoFundMe page set up by friends to support her children and their dad has raised more than £19,000 from a £10,000 target.
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