Michelle Tate was a healthy 40-year-old Zumba instructor, waiting to get her shot, when she tested positive for COVID-19 in April of this year.
After her 7-year-old daughter found her unresponsive one day, Tate was admitted to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital on April 24, and was upgraded to the intensive care unit on May 2.
At the time, her husband was already vaccinated and he and their daughter tested negative for COVID-19, but Tate had passed up a couple of opportunities to take the vaccine, she said because she had some reservations about it.
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“When I was sick with COVID, I felt achy all over my body. Like I felt like I had been in a boxing match. I was extremely tired. I was out of breath all the time… I kept telling the nurse that my body hurts, my body hurts,” she said.
Tate spent nearly three months in a medically induced coma. The doctor who treated her said she was on “a very advanced life support” treatment — extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO, longer than any other COVID patient at the hospital.
When Tate finally woke up in August, she faced an agonizing road to recovery, learning to walk and talk all over again.
“I still had the trach in my throat. I remember walking about a 110 feet that day, the same day,” Tate recalled in an interview with ABC News. “It took the staff, about 10 people, to get me up out of the bed.”
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Now, after nearly losing her life, Tate got to leave Memorial Hermann, but not before getting the shot.
“I decided to get the vaccine because I thought to myself, ‘There is absolutely no way that I’m leaving the safety of this hospital without being vaccinated,'” she said.
She described the moment the nurse handed her the sticker saying that she was vaccinated, saying she felt “very proud” like she had just voted.
“Do not deprive yourself of that shot. It’s very, very important,” Tate said. “I will go as far as to say your life depends on it.”
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