TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — One frontline worker knows the effects of COVID-19 all too well. Lizze Buchanan came face-to-face with the virus herself.

Lizze’s dream has always been to help others.  

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a nurse just because I love it. I love taking care of people. and it’s been rewarding from the very start,” she said.

Lizze is a 25-year-old registered nurse with a BSN of three years. She will be graduating as a nurse practitioner in Spring 2021.

She was going to school in Louisville and then volunteered to work on the COVID-19 unit in a nearby hospital. Lizze took every precaution in and out of work to avoid getting sick.

“I had no pre-existing conditions. I couldn’t have been more careful. It could happen to anyone,” she warned.

She even decided to get tested for the virus before coming home to her family in Troy.

On December 19, Lizze was diagnosed with COVID-19, bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia. She was hospitalized at St. Peter’s Hospital four days later after experiencing severe trouble breathing. After two days in the hospital, she had to be rushed to the ICU in the middle of the night because her oxygen levels were dangerously low.

Lizze was in the ICU fighting low oxygen levels, a blood infection and fluid in her lungs. She couldn’t keep her oxygen level above 75% without 55 liters of oxygen per minute. She had to wear a BiPAP machine on and off to push air into her lungs since hers weren’t strong enough.

“I’m so glad they did because they told me I wasn’t going to get off the ventilator if they did make the choice to put me all the way under and sedate me,” Lizze said.  

On Christmas Day, her dad made a special appearance outside the hospital.

“He came at six in the morning, and he left at midnight the night before. So I was able to see him all day through the window. He was the only car in the parking lot,” she recalled.

Lizze was able to leave the hospital on New Year’s. However, she has a new battle to face. It could take months of rehabilitation, physical therapy and other treatments before making a full recovery.

“My body is not meeting the oxygen levels that it needs. So it causes me a lot of pain and I have to keep the oxygen on to manage the pain. If I don’t wear the oxygen for too long, I’m at risk for crashing again like I did in the ICU,” Lizze explained.

Lizze has a home oxygen monitor that she will use for the next two months. She said the virus can affect all ages.

“My advice is for everyone is to follow COVID-19 precautions. You can’t think you’re the exception in this world. Because the pain and the aftermath of this is something that I wish on no one. I hope everyone stays safe. I also hope that I’m just one bad story and not an example of many,” she said.

In August, Lizze stills plans on walking at her graduation where she will receive her Nurse Practitioner doctorate.