After days on ventilator, Louisville woman urges people to get vaccinated

Jessica Bauder spent 2.5 days on the ventilator while fighting COVID-19.
Jessica Bauder spent 2.5 days on the ventilator while fighting COVID-19.(WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 3:16 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jessica Bauder is a healthy 37-year-old mother of two boys who didn’t think it was necessary to get the COVID-19 vaccine, until she ended up in the ICU on a ventilator.

Her COVID-19 journey began with a fever, chills, and body aches.

“I knew something wasn’t right,” Bauder said.

She had COVID-19 and double pneumonia, and it was about to get a lot worse.

“At the beginning when I was home, I was so sick,” Bauder said. “I remember telling my boyfriend, ‘I’m dying, I feel like I’m dying. If I don’t get treatment I’m going to die.’”

Seven days after her positive test, Bauder went to the hospital, where she would end up staying for 12 days. When she arrived, her oxygen levels were at 86 percent. Doctors tried treating her with nitric oxide and used a BiPAP machine in an attempt to avoid the ventilator.

However, several days later, Bauder said her body wasn’t taking well to any of the treatments, so doctors sent her to the ICU and hooked her up to a ventilator.

She said she doesn’t remember much, but could imagine the agony and fear her family must have felt.

“I felt bad that my family had to go through that,” Bauder said. “Not knowing if I was going to live; not knowing if they were going to have to tell my boys their mom died.”

Doctors put Bauder in the prone position while she was on the ventilator, rotating her on her stomach for 16 hours at a time. After two and a half days on the ventilator and proning, her vitals and oxygen levels improved so much she was taken off the ventilator.

She said the ventilator, the prone position and prayers are what saved her life.

“I’m a 37-year-old mother of two, I have no health problems, and so you just don’t realize that can happen to you,” Bauder said. “If you can get the shot. It’s scary, but what I went through is even scarier, and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that.”

Bauder said she plans to get vaccinated as soon as she’s able to.

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