Dylan's story

Dylan quit his job as a long-distance lorry driver after becoming ill. Here he talks about his health, housing situation and how he is moving forwards.

I've been a long-distance lorry driver…

I’ve fell on bad times, I've got no dramas at all … I've been living in a caravan. Which, to be honest with you, doesn't bother me at all.
I caught covid really, badly. I was on a ventilator, and I was put into an induced coma. And since then I've been struggling to be fair …
I was coming across from Calais, France and I was carrying 26 pallets of the vaccine. Me and my ex-missus; she couldn't cope with my job because I was away all the time. Basically, we split up on good terms, and she turned round and said to me: “What are you doing for Christmas Day?” I said: “I ain't got no plans …”
And so, I went there for Christmas Day. I didn't feel that well, to be honest with you. And she went, you don't look that well. I was pale as a bean. I’d booked into a hotel for the night and I ended up out for the count and the ambulance came and got me.

They put me in an induced coma.

I was on a ventilator and everything like that, and when they brought me around three days later, I was still on the ventilator. When they said, “Where are you?” I said: “Spain.” They said: “You’re in George Eliot Hospital, that's where you are!”
I was on a ventilator for another week, while they pulled me around and everything.
I reckon I've got long-term Covid now. I might lose a kidney … I’ve had to go and have my bloods done; one's not working properly …
I come out and I went to my caravan. Which was a nightmare, to be honest with you. I’d bought a caravan years ago and I’d put it into storage. The bloke storing it told me I owed him 600 quid. So, I paid him that and then he demanded another 600 quid in advance to stay there. Well, I didn’t have the money to pay …
I went to sleep. I'd been awake 18 hours. He hooked me up to the back of his pickup and dumped me in a gypsy camp. Literally within an hour! Then they decided they wanted to kneecap me!
In the end, they hooked me up to the back of a van, took me down to the industrial estate, which is just around the corner. I stayed there, and then I got in touch with Martin from P3. I know Martin. He's an absolute legend. He is more than a friend. Me and him are fish and chips! He's lovely, he's got a heart of gold.

So, I came here, well, it was a big adjustment.

Living communally after having your own space. I've always been a camper and I've always been a long-distance lorry driver. It doesn’t bother me living away in a truck. I’m not that good around people – I get on with everybody, without a shadow of a doubt, but I like to do my own thing … I think a lot of us are like that.
You see, I love driving, I love the independence, but it's cost me so many relationships, it's unbelievable. And like I say, my missus can't cope with it. She hates me driving.
I've always been a lorry mechanic and she knows I'm good at it and all. And, like I say, the only thing that she doesn’t like is when I'm away for a month or two months at a time. Cause that's what it’s like, do you know what I mean? It is hard graft. I'd be abroad all the time. I prefer running abroad, I love going to Scotland, I love going to Cornwall, I love going across the water – I could do France in a day.
I was running out of R&J transport in Wales because it was their trucks. To be honest with you, when I caught Covid, I had to hand it back, because I wasn’t able to drive … I want to go back to driving. I’m good at my job.
Three years now I haven't had my license back. I had a seizure, it was to do with Covid and to do with drink. I used to drink quite heavily, vodka, and I stopped, like that, within an instance. I just stopped straight away, which wasn't a good thing to do. Now I've got to go to the traffic commissioner's court; I'll go to Birmingham to get my DVLA. It’s the cost though, it costs more than a pilot’s licence, a HGV one.

Next, I want to move into somewhere.

I want to move in with Annie. She just keeps saying to me all the time, I just want you sorted – I would never in a million years expect her to stay in the caravan with me. Next step is to get on the housing list … everyone here is helping me, bit by bit, there are some really decent people here.
That's what I want, that's my plan, and just to take every day as it comes.

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*Names changed to preserve anonymity.