Close this search box.

From Skeptic to Believer: Why I’m getting vaccinated

covid-19 vaccine vials lined up in a line with a focus and other vials blurred out
headshot of tammy lagree, rn, case management who battled covid-19 vaccine testimonial
Tammy LaGree, RN – Case Management, NMC Health

I have been asked about my thoughts and feelings regarding COVID-19, this is a tough and very personal topic for me. April of this year is when my life, as not only a healthcare worker but also
as a citizen in today’s society, changed drastically.

Most of the world has been forced to consciously change the way they think about everyday living, trying to be more careful not to contract or spread the COVID virus. I was more of a sceptic at first not really wanting to buy into the whole thing.

When I was out in public I would use
the sanitizer wipes to clean the cart before use as I have done for
years, but I did not like wearing my mask. I really felt like most of the
precautions we were “forced” to take were not warranted.

There were so many questions, search of the unknown, at first we all had
more questions than answers. Maybe standing 6 feet apart would help, but later maybe 6 feet was not far enough. Maybe wearing a face covering would help but then there was the dilemma of what kind of mask and
did America have enough personal protective equipment “PPE” to protect everyone?

In October [of last] year, I started feeling so extremely fatigued and sore I just wanted to sleep all the time. Then I developed one killer headache with nausea, and started running a fever.

I went to the emergency room to seek treatment and hopefully get some miracle medicine to make me feel better. OH NO. I was COVID positive. The doctor sent me home with medicine for the nausea told me to get plenty of fluids and rest.

Three days later however, I had lost my sense of taste and smell and had a horrible sore mouth. Getting plenty of fluids and nutrition became quite a problem. It hurt to eat. It hurt to drink. Everything was too hot or too cold,
and it was just so difficult to eat or drink. About 8 p.m. on Nov. 4, I started having such a terrible time catching my breath. My breathing was shallow, rapid and labored and my oxygen saturation had dropped to 76%.

I went to the ER a second time and by this time I needed oxygen to keep my [O2 level] above 90%. I was admitted to NMC Health as an inpatient. I was hooked up to telemetry, oximetry and IV’s. I was on an antibiotic, an antiviral, an antiemetic, a steroid and pain medicine.

“How did this happen?” I thought to myself. I was the case manager for the COVID Hall. I was helping to plan for discharge. I was setting up oxygen for home use and follow up appointments one day and now “I AM ON

I was in isolation. I was in this room all by myself. The only time people came to see me was to take my vital signs, give me medicine or my meals, I have never felt so well…..isolated. Lonely and scared, I really tried to do what the doctors asked me to. I had a really hard time wearing the oxygen, every time I fell asleep, I would take it off again.

The second night I was in the hospital though I had a life altering experience when I stopped breathing. I couldn’t cough or talk, I was choking from all the thick drainage. Trying to stay calm, I walked to the bed, put on the call light, and turned my oxygen up as high as I could before collapsing onto the bed.

The room was getting dark. It was closing in on me. Is this it? Am I dying? The fear took over and I started to panic.

Marcos [Campos], thank God, came in right away and yelled for help. The nurse came in right away they sat me up, and somehow I finally started to cough and was able to breath. I was so scared. I laid in my room all by
myself, still in isolation and cried, praying and thanking God that I didn’t die.

I thought about my Dad, my kids, my grandkids and how lucky I was to have such great family and friends. I spent a week in the hospital for my
birthday, and it has changed my life.

I finally made it back to work after an entire month off. I continue to have chest pain and fatigue and am seeing a cardiologist. I know that I have never been so sick in my life, so, when asked how I personally feel
about COVID-19, the pandemic, or what I think about taking the vaccination, I have come to this conclusion:

I will wear my mask. I will stand 6 feet apart. I will use hand sanitizer, and yes, I will take the vaccine to try and prevent the needless spread of this deadly virus to all of those I love and care about. I never want them to
feel the way I did. So for my family, my friends, my patients and all of you still on the fence about taking the vaccine, I feel like I cheated death.

I am a COVID survivor. I did my part to prevent spread now it’s time you do
too. Help stop the spread get your vaccination right away, I would never forgive myself for potentially being the one who gave this deadly virus to someone else.

Skip to content