“I felt like my ribs were going to break”: a Marion County woman’s experience with Covid

Laura Oss said she felt like her ribs were going to break when she contracted Covid and ended up visiting the emergency room. (Courtesy/ Laura Oss)

Laura Oss doesn’t remember the pain of being in the intensive care unit for a week with double pneumonia because she was in a coma.

That hospital stay 12 years ago was enough to convince her to quit smoking after 20 years.

She was reminded of the experience during her most recent trip to the hospital after she contracted Covid.

“Every time I tried to breathe, I felt like my ribs were going to break,” she said.

Oss, 48, tested positive for the virus on Aug. 5 and started to get body aches and headaches where she thought her head would pop off.

She didn’t want to eat anything and as a small person she didn’t have a lot of reserves, she said.

Oss, who lives in Aumsville, went to the emergency room at Santiam Hospital on Aug 11.

She said her body felt swollen and lethargic. The hospital in Stayton gave her anti-nausea medication by IV. She went home and drank Ensure and Gatorade.

“At night I would wake up feeling like I was going to throw up and pass out,” she said.

 Two days later she told her husband, “I can’t do this,” and they went to the emergency room again.

Oss said she didn’t have the nutrients and electrolytes she needed, and her lungs were inflamed because of Covid.

The doctor told her she wasn’t sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, she was young, and beds were full, she said.

“At that point I cried,” she said.

 She quipped to the doctor, “Can’t you just euthanize me?”

I am not a wimp when it comes to pain. I just felt like I couldn’t do it. I wanted just to be out of it where I couldn’t feel all the pain,” she said.

She said her doctor gave her five days worth of steroids and that got her on the way to recovery.

Now, Oss said she’s 85% back to normal and has returned to working for a local attorney. She said she still has a cough, though she suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Oss wasn’t vaccinated against Covid before her bout of illness, but now regrets that decision.

In January 2020, her husband got sick for a week, and they had to cancel a trip to Hawaii. She believes he had Covid and thought she would have natural immunity because she didn’t contract his illness.

That, coupled with an experience getting hospitalized after getting the flu vaccine, led Oss not to get vaccinated against Covid.

Either way she would end up in the hospital, she thought.

Now, she’s planning on getting the vaccine when she’s closer to fully recovered.

She urges others to get vaccinated too. 

“Please, please, please talk to (your) doctor about getting a vaccine,” Oss said.

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected].

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