V&A Museum director Nicholas Coleridge reveals he saw snake visions
‘I saw snakes as I went loonier and loonier during coronavirus hallucinations’ says V&A Museum director Nicholas Coleridge as he reveals his family were told to prepare for the worst as he fought for his life in intensive care
- Nicholas Coleridge said he was met with snake visions during Covid-19 battle
- Also said he saw images similar to those drawn by Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel
- Director was rushed to intensive care unit and given oxygen and antibiotics
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The director of the Victoria & Albert Museum has revealed that he was infiltrated by visions of snakes after he contracted coronavirus.
Nicholas Coleridge, who was re-appointed Chair of the London museum in 2019, described seeing snakes and images similar to those illustrated by the famous Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel as he entered delirium during his treatment for the virus.
The chairman, who is now recovering from his ordeal at home, explained that the virus hit him suddenly and left him becoming ‘loonier and loonier very quickly’.
Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 the chairman said: ‘It was rather interesting because this Covid hits you suddenly out of left field. For me, first came a catatonic tiredness, I slept more and more, punctuated with very very high temperatures going well above 40 and icy legs [but] no cough.
Nicholas Coleridge, who was re-appointed Chair of the London museum in 2019, described seeing visions of snakes as he battled coronavirus
‘Very suddenly I had visions of snakes and Bruegel-like figures and fantastical creatures.
‘My family noted that I was becoming loonier and loonier very quickly, and my daughter very wisely rang for an ambulance which arrived in highly impressive speed.’
After he was rushed to the intensive care unit, NHS staff tried to provide the museum director with life-saving treatment, including oxygen and antibiotics, and his family were told to prepare for the worst.
As Mr Coleridge sunk into delirium he described being met with hallucinations of snakes and images that bore a stark similarity to those drawn by Pieter Bruegel, who is known for his landscape art and for his illustrations of peasants during the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance.
Following the terrifying ordeal, Mr Coleridge said there was a ‘malevolent’ and ‘invasive’ presence about the virus which felt like a’ very dirty computer virus infiltrating every part of your system’.
He continued: ‘It is very strange because you have almost no memory of it except I’ve got snatches of quite odd memories that really didn’t have very much to do with the job in hand.
‘They pump you through with so much antibiotics and barrel loads of oxygen that it does play with your head and one is grateful to the doctors and the nurses.
‘A doctor rang up and told my wife that they should prepare themselves for the possibility of my demise in the next few hours. But the skill and the speed with which they acted undoubtedly saved my life.
The chairman of the London museum (Victoria and Albert Museum pictured) explained that the virus hit him suddenly
The museum director said he also began to see images similar to those drawn by Dutch artist Pieter Bruegel, who is known for his landscape art and for his illustrations of peasants. Pictured: Bruegel’s Triumph of Death
‘There is something about this Covid-19 – it’s so malevolent and so invasive. It’s like a very dirty computer virus infiltrating every part of your system and contaminating all your files and warping your mind and then closing you down.’
During his interview, the chairman went on to say that he would advise the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work for five hours a day before returning to bed as he tries to recover from Covid-19 himself.
Mr Coleridge added: ‘If I was the Prime Minister’s doctor, I would tell him he could work flat out for five hours a day, and without question he should then go back to bed because he’s going to be tired for a while to come.’
The museum trustee, who is now recovering, also praised the selfless NHS staff who had helped treat him as he battled the deadly illness.
Mr Coleridge’s interview comes as the UK continues to grapple with the spread of the illness which has now claimed the lives of 16,509 people across the country.
Earlier today, England declared 429 deaths and a further 20 were confirmed across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The day’s death toll is a fall on the 596 fatalities announced yesterday.
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