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Bartlesville COVID-19 survivor shares regret over not getting vaccine

james cutler.jpg
Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 19:52:13-04

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — A Bartlesville man is sharing his regret over not getting the COVID-19 vaccine after the virus made him go from healthy to near death.

While his wife and daughter got vaccinated, James Cutler decided against it. He thought because he was healthy, he would be okay.

“I try to stay in shape," Cutler said. "I don’t have any underlying medical problems. I don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Never used drugs. And I don’t take any medication for anything. So I thought man, I’m good.”

However, Cutler’s son brought COVID home from summer camp. His wife and daughter didn’t get it, but he quickly developed symptoms like a high fever, aches and pains and had trouble breathing.

“I walked out the door a little bit and I couldn’t breathe," Cutler said. "And then my anxiety kicked in. And then it made it worse.”

Cutler went to the doctor, but he only got worse. He had a high fever for more than two weeks and lost 15 pounds.

“I feel like I’m a fighter, but I feel like there was a time where I told her I’m just about ready," Cutler said. "I’m done. I’m struggling. I’m hurting. And you know, I’m about ready to go.”

James was struggling to breathe, but his wife told him to keep fighting.

“When she came up she grabbed a hold of me, she said, 'Ok now try to breathe,'" he said. "'Stay with me babe. Stay with me. Fight it. You’re not leaving me.'”

He was afraid of what might happen if he went to the hospital.

It got to the point where he started planning his funeral.

“It’s surreal then knowing that, you know, we’re building a house and we’re trying to do all this and I’m sitting there telling her what I would want," Cutler said. "I was stupid. And I don’t want that for nobody.”

After being sick for about three weeks, Cutler is now better and back at work for the City of Bartlesville.

He has a message for those who haven’t received the vaccine.

“I want people to know this [the virus] ain’t the same one," Cutler said.

"Please. I just want them to look into it. Do what you think is best for you and your family, but I think it’s definitely worth a second look because it opened my eyes."

“Don’t be that person who was like me and it was almost too late," he said.

Cutler said he still feels lingering side effects in his lungs. Once he hits 90 days since he’s been sick, he said he plans on getting vaccinated.

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