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COVID-19 survivor who spent 175 days in the hospital wants to encourage everyone to get vaccinated

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 19:44:59-04

WACO, Ky. (LEX 18) — Madison County native Olivia Tudor’s battle with the coronavirus was brutal.

The 30-year-old contracted COVID-19 in November and, within a week, was hospitalized at Richmond Baptist Health.

“I refused to go for two or three days of not being able to breathe, saying ‘No. I don’t want to go to the hospital because I don’t want to die alone,” Tudor said.

Tudor is a high-risk patient. She is diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disorder that weakens a person’s muscles. Her health quickly deteriorated at the hospital.

“I was on ECMO 91 days, on a ventilator 125 days, and then a total hospital stay of 175 days,” she said.

Terry Tudor said doctors gave her daughter a small chance of survival because of the severity of her condition and her underlying health issues. But family members said they leaned on their faith the entire time.

“Nothing is going to take you to your knees any quicker than to hear a doctor tell you that your daughter is probably not going to make it,” Terry Tudor said. “You turn to God so hard.”

On May 14, Olivia Tudor was finally discharged from UofL Health - Jewish Hospital, nearly six months after her initial hospitalization.

“I realize each day is a new day now, and so every day is happy to me because God gave me another chance,” Olivia Tudor said.

Tudor said her recovery is going well. She’s getting stronger every day.

“I am walking without a walker and I am doing steps,” she said with a smile.

Since she’s been home, Tudor has received her first shot of the Moderna vaccine. By next week, she will be fully vaccinated. In the meantime, she’s catching up on some of the day-to-day things she missed out on while she was hospitalized.

“I made a list in November of things that I wanted when I got out of the hospital, not knowing that my hospital stay would be six months. So I’ve been marking things off that list now slowly but surely,” Tudor said.

Gov. Andy Beshear lifted the state’s pandemic restrictions on Friday.

The moment is bittersweet for Tudor who is still recovering.

“You have to have faith that you’re going to be okay. We have vaccines now and people are getting their vaccines,” Tudor said.

The COVID-19 vaccine was not available in November when Tudor tested positive for the coronavirus.

She said she understands some still have reservations about getting their shot, but she wants people to reconsider the risk they’re taking.

“I would be more scared of getting COVID. People always say, ‘Well, it won’t hit me as hard.’ You think that, but COVID doesn’t discriminate. You could get it and you could die,” she said.

At least 7,147 Kentuckians have died from the coronavirus, according to state data.

Tudor, who many are calling a walking miracle, said she’s blessed and grateful to have survived, but she doesn’t want to see anyone else fall victim to the virus, especially with the vaccine readily available to them.