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“This was life-changing”: Stoughton woman recounts fighting COVID-19 in an ICU

MADISON (WKOW) -- It's been nearly eight months since Amy Hausen was hospitalized because of COVID-19, but her memories of fighting the virus haven't faded.

"It was awful," Hausen said. "This was life-changing for me. I could have lost my life."

Hausen first developed symptoms on March 20. Ten days later, her symptoms were worse and she went to her doctor's office.

"I'll never forget that nurse's face behind her mask and her shield. She looked scared," Hausen said. "The doctor came in within 15 minutes and said, 'Ma'am, you're very sick, and we're taking you to the hospital.'"

Hausen went to UW Health's ICU and her condition deteriorated.

"I was probably there about 45 minutes in the ICU and the doctor said, 'We're going to have to intubate you.'"

Hausen was intubated for three-and-a-half days.

"My daughter was made to feel like that first couple days they were concerned I wouldn't make it," she said.

But Hausen started to get better and she came off intubation. However, that didn't last long. A few days later, medical staff had to intubate her for a second time.

Hausen told 27 News she received a different medication during her second intubation, and at one point, she regained conciousness.

"All of a sudden, I was awake," she said. "I wanted them to know I was awake, and I was trying to move my body, just a finger, and I realized I couldn't move anything. That's going to stay with me the rest of my life. Laying there like that with that tube down my throat, I could feel the tube, but I couldn't move anything."

Hausen went home from the hospital on April 14, but she said she didn't start to feel normal again until the end of May. She said she is thankful she hasn't had lingering symptoms.

Hausen said though she knows not everyone who gets COVID-19 will be as sick as she was, she wants people to know what it's like to have a severe case.

"I'm very glad for the people that don't get very sick, but you don't know who is going to get very sick and who's not," she said. "If this was your mother, or daughter, or aunt, or good friend, you don't want them to go through this."

She said it's been frustrating to see people on social media question the severity of the virus or refuse to follow precautions like wearing a mask or social distancing.

"It's not easy, but it's something we can do just to save more people," she said. "This isn't about politics. This is about people's lives."

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