COVID survivors urging others to get vaccine shot

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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PRAIRIEVILLE, La. (WAFB) - A Prairieville man who almost died from COVID is making a personal pitch to others to get the vaccine before it’s too late.

“You don’t take things for granted ... at all,” said Gary Stevens.

Stevens is 68. He said he checked himself into the hospital on January 22 after he started to feel sick. He added he was scheduled to get a vaccine shot the next day.

“Thursday, I went to the hospital. Friday was the day I was supposed to get the vaccine,” said Stevens.

Stevens didn’t check out until June 11. That’s 141 days he spent in the hospital. During that time, he was in ICU for three months, placed on a ventilator twice, and at one point, doctors believed he was minutes away from dying.

“They had said my kidneys had completely shut down and called my wife and told her to get the family in there, get by my bedside, and say their goodbyes,” explained Stevens.

Stevens lost close to 75 pounds and had to relearn how to eat, talk, and walk again. He said he still relies on an oxygen machine and can only move with the use of a wheelchair or a walker.

He hopes that by sharing his story he can maybe convince someone to get the shot and avoid his same struggle.

“I still can’t walk without the walker. I can get up and walk a few steps or get in the wheelchair but that’s it,” described Stevens.

His message is simple: Get vaccinated and don’t put it off because it’s not too late.

“I plan on getting mine because I don’t want to go through this again. I don’t even want to go through the hospital again if I could help it. I know there were great people there but I don’t want to go backwards ... at all,” noted Stevens.

He also said he still has to wait until his body recovers some more before he get can get the vaccine but he’s ready as soon as his doctor gives him the green light.

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