Nurse asks Iowans to get vaccinated after her COVID-19 battle

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MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA — Nurse Julie Stevens decided to pass on the COVID-19 vaccine when she had a chance. Her reason was that she was concerned with side effects, and maybe missing some days from work if she had symptoms.

She ended up contracting COVID, and tried to weather it out at home. Her husband Taveis Stevens told her after five days of fighting the symptoms, she needed to head to the hospital. She was in the hospital for three weeks, and even three days on a ventilator.

“I thought this is it, because I was just trying so hard to breathe and they have a maxed out on my oxygen, so they intubated me,” said Julie. “I don’t remember the first day they did lighten my sedation, the second day, and I was able to communicate with people by writing.” 

She thought when she went on the ventilator, that might be it for her.

“Thought on the day that they intubated, would be my last day,” said Julie, “I thought about my daughters what was gonna happen, you know they’re my world, and I won’t be there for graduation, I won’t be there for their wedding, won’t be there for them having kids.”

She is now on supplemental oxygen and recovering at home. She is expected to make a full recovery.

“My message now is, get your vaccination,” said Julie. “You know I think that there’s a very common misconception that if you’re vaccinated you won’t get COVID but that’s not true you can still get Covid even though you’re vaccinated, for the chances of you getting COVID to the point that you need a ventilator or even hospitalization, is rare.”

“I would just say it, yeah if you’ve ever seen someone suffering through the symptoms of Covid like I saw my wife, you would want them to get the vaccination,” said husband Taveis Stevens. He also contracted COVID and was ill at the same time as Julie. Fortunately, they had family in town to help with their daughters.

Julie will get the vaccine in December before she can return to work. She is anxious to be back on duty in the Emergency Room at Marshalltown Unity Point.

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