Michael Rosen takes first steps as he recovers from Covid-19

Mattha Busby
·3-min read

Michael Rosen, the writer, poet and broadcaster who spent 47 days in intensive care with coronavirus has taken his first steps since beginning his recovery.

Rosen, 74, the author of children’s books including We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Little Rabbit Foo Foo, charted the initial stages of his illness on Twitter before he deteriorated at the height of the pandemic.

His wife, Emma-Louise Williams, confirmed that the former children’s laureate had had Covid-19 and that he was gradually recuperating at Whittington hospital in north London.

“Very pleased to say Michael is recovering steadily in a rehabilitation hospital,” she tweeted. “He has been making really good progress this week and has been able to take his first steps today thanks to the great NHS physios who are keeping him busy!”

Rosen was keeping off social media to rest his body and mind while he deals with the physical and psychological trauma of his extended stay in hospital, she said.

In response to a letter from a 12-year-old wellwisher thanking Rosen for his poem These Are the Hands in which he celebrates the work of nurses and doctors, Williams tweeted:

The author Philip Pullman tweeted his delighted at the news of Rosen’s progress.

Rosen was admitted to hospital in the week of 23 March and spend his first night in intensive care on 29 March, before being placed on a ward. He returned to intensive care in early April.

He described his illness on 22 March: “Can’t stop my thermostat from crashing: icy hands, hot head. Freezing cold sweats. Under the covers for bed-breaking shakes. Image of war hero biting on a hankie, while best mate plunges live charcoal into the wound to cauterise it.”

The next day he wondered whether he was suffering from heavy flu rather than coronavirus. “Have had no chest pains. No persistent cough. So all along it could have been a heavy flu and not corona. Today the fevers are ebbing. In their place a deep muscle exhaustion. In every corner.”

His updates then became sporadic and were posted by Williams soon after. On 20 April she wrote: “Thanks v much for all the love. I’m not updating regularly because when someone is very poorly things can change daily & details of Michael’s ongoing care from fantastic NHS staff are private. So please be patient, no news is good news.”

After more than a fortnight without updates about his health, Williams tweeted on her own account on 23 May: “Today Michael has been in hospital for 8 weeks & I’m v happy to say he left ICU yesterday after a long & difficult 47 days. His recovery is continuing on the ward & will take time. He has done so well to get through this but please don’t expect him back here yet.”