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41 Days: A vaccinated woman's message after long, unexpected battle with COVID

Lisa Armstrong had her shots, but ended up with a severe case of the virus anyways
Posted at 3:20 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 18:35:05-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A vaccinated Muskegon woman spent 41-days in the hospital battling a startling onset of COVID-19 before finally leaving Wednesday.

Lisa Armstrong says she received the Johnson & Johnson shot in April but began feeling ill midway through September, experiencing extreme fatigue and nausea.

“My husband was actually gone for a couple of days and I called him and said, I’m dying. You’ve got to come pick me [up] and take me somewhere,” said Armstrong.

It was certainly the right call. Armstrong did have COVID-19 and with her kidneys failing and her body shutting down, doctors induced a coma and put her on a ventilator. For 21 days – half of her entire stay – she remembers nothing, hooked up to a machine to help her breathe.

Eventually, with a few scares in between, Armstrong recovered and began rehabbing.

“Two-and-a-half weeks ago I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other,” she said, “and now I’m actually walking without assist.”

“I never even expected to be here for this,” Armstrong continued. “Just like kids driving cars fast, we all think that it’s not going to happen to us, which I certainly did, I’m a breast cancer survivor and never saw this coming.”

Armstrong is, of course, thrilled to finally be going home. She’s still an advocate for the vaccination but reminded everyone on Wednesday that the shots aren’t enough reason to let our guards down.

“That shot is not a cure,” she said. “That’s a misconception, I think, that a lot of people have is once you get that shot, you’re all set to go into the store without your mask, do whatever. And I think I’m a good example that that’s not the case. The shot is really to help you survive once you get it.”

According to recent CDC data, unvaccinated people are 6.1x more at risk of contracting the virus, and 11.3x more likely to die from it than their vaccinated counterparts.