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Cambridge bus driver: ‘When I awoke from Covid coma, I thought I’d been abducted by aliens’





A Cambridge bus driver given only a five per cent chance of survival as he battled Covid-19 has told how he thought he had been abducted by aliens when he awoke from a 58-day coma.

Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956053)
Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956053)

Dainius Denesevicius has returned to work for Stagecoach East after nearly two years of recovery, to the delight of his colleagues and passengers.

He was one of the first patients with Covid-19 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital after catching the virus at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020. He was put into an induced coma as his life hung in the balance.

“I didn’t know what had happened to me,” he told the Cambridge Independent. “When I woke up it was a strange feeling. I didn’t know I had been in a coma for 58 days. To me it was like a good night’s sleep.

“I woke up surrounded by doctors with masks, face coverings, glasses, hats, gloves… honestly, my first thought was I had been abducted by aliens!

“But then one of the doctors told me I was in Addenbrooke’s and it was 10am in the morning on a Monday and I had been in a coma. I was really shocked when I was told.

“It was at the start of the pandemic and they hadn’t known how to treat this disease. I was one of the first patients.

“Today, they have pills and all this information. So they were interested to see me get back to normal life. It was an experience for them too.”

Dainius’ recovery, which was also aided by Royal Papworth Hospital, was a long and arduous one.

“I was always confident that I wouldn’t die because I was awake. But I couldn’t move a finger. I couldn’t talk – I lost my muscle capacity,” he recalled. “They were feeding me and looking after me and lip reading. I wasn’t sure I would get back to normal life and ever walk again, but I was reassured by doctors and nurses that it was purely a physical issue.

“My lungs stopped working and took a lot of time to recover. I was short of breath.

Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956026)
Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956026)

“I was an active person – I liked getting out and sports, but I was in a bed for nine months. I had to relearn how to walk again, so it was quite stressful for me.

“At the beginning, walking 100 metres felt like doing a 10k hike, but over time I gradually built up my strength. It’s all good now and it’s amazing.

“The doctors and nurses and all the NHS staff have been very professional and really made me feel at home and that gave me hope.”

And the 50-year-old from Soham, who is single, was grateful for the support he received.

“I had a lot of support from my colleagues, friends and family emotionally. It kept me on track,” he recalled, explaining how he would sit outside while in hospital during his long recovery.

“They have a small garden next to the road and the buses were coming past and the drivers would wave at me. One of them stopped to say hello. I was in a wheelchair and was chatting to them over the fence.”

Finally, on January 10, 2022, Dainius rejoined his team at Stagecoach East, completed his refresher training and is now back in Cambridgeshire doing the job he loves.

“I was a bit stressed and nervous on the first day, but it’s all good now,” he said. “I haven’t lost my memory – I remember all the roads. I had a very warm welcome from Stagecoach East, my colleagues and the management team.

“It’s incredible being back home and able to work again. The journey here has been a long one, but I’m grateful to be back with my team and out and about on the roads again.

“The last couple of years have been a battle, but with the support of my family, friends, colleagues, and healthcare professionals I have fully recovered, and am able to live my life as normal.”

And much has changed on the buses.

“Today, we have face coverings and sanitisers provided. People are cautious and distanced but at the start of the pandemic, people didn’t know,” he recalled.

Dainius has also been able to have a Covid-19 vaccination during his recovery.

Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956018)
Bus driver Dainius Denesevicius is back on the roads of Cambridgeshire, after a gruelling battle with Covid saw him spend nearly two years in recovery . Picture: Keith Heppell. (54956018)

“I’ve had a single shot vaccine, but not the booster, because they checked my antibodies and I had 16,000, so I was advised not to have the booster.

“I’d encourage people to get their jabs because this is serious. I’ve met a few anti-vaxxers who say Covid doesn’t exist. It’s just not true and I’m proof myself.”

Stu Wright, operations manager at the bus company’s Cambridge depot, said: “Dainius has been through a lot with his Covid battle, and has left a mark on his colleagues here in Cambridge with his inspirational story. He really left a hole in the team, so we’re thrilled to have him back, and it’s wonderful to see him fit and healthy after his difficult journey over the last two years.”



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