Last Friday I was lucky enough to receive the Covid vaccine, the vaccine I received was the Oxford AstraZeneca one. I was alerted by text message the previous week to let me know that I could book my appointment to receive the vaccination, as I was in group 6. Which is the current group that is being vaccinated in our town. We are incredibly lucky that the hub for our part of the county is in my small town. I feel sorry for those who live further afield. But for once living where I do has a benefit.
Mr Myasthenia was also messaged to say he could book in as he is also in group six and my unpaid carer. He booked in for 9am and I booked in for midday so that Dembe our Labrador wasn’t left. We were excited and nervous at the same time. I had read quite a few posts on line with people being quite poorly after the vaccination. You get the same when it is flu jab season so I do tend to take these with a pinch of salt. Just because someone else has a reaction doesn’t mean you will.
At around 9.10am on the Friday morning, Mr Myasthenia Kid messaged me to say he had his jab. That the process at the hub was like a well oiled military machine and that he had just finished waiting the required 10 minutes after his vaccination. He had the Pfizer one he told me proudly. The same one that his mum had the week before Christmas. He let me know that he was fine and that he hadn’t even felt the injection go in. Which for him is a huge deal, as he is a little scared of needles. Having to have gas and air for his travel vaccinations before we got married in 2000. He said he would come and get me for mine a bit later and not to worry, he didn’t have a headache or any of the other known side effects.
Mr Myasthenia Kid arrived just after 11.35 to take me to the hub to get my jab. He talked me through the process. I suffer with social anxiety so new situations can cause me to panic a bit. I am usually really good at covering this stuff up and most people who know me wouldn’t believe me if I told them I suffered from social anxiety. My social anxiety has increased during lock down due to not seeing anyone on a regular basis. I would have to navigate the vaccination hub alone, without my security blankets of Dembe and Mr MG Kid.
I remembered my face mask – I don’t go out other than when Jay takes Dembe out and I sit in the car, so I don’t have to wear a mask very often. I put that on as soon as I arrived in the car park. I was very grateful for my run down of how everything is done at the hub as I didn’t feel so anxious. There was a hand sanitiser station on entering the building. I booked in at the reception area and joined the queue. The lady at reception gave me a leaflet for the Pfizer vaccine but explained supplies were running low and I may be given the AstraZeneca one, in which case they would provide me with a leaflet for that.
My only complaint about the queue was that although the marks on the floor were spaced at every 2 metres they didn’t have chairs at every 2 metre gap. Which if you are crap at standing, many people with a wide variety of complaints are wasn’t very well thought out. The queue moved incredibly quickly. I would say that there were at least 20 people ahead of me and I was at the front of the queue in less than 10 minutes.
Once at the front of the queue you had to wait until one of around 10 booths were empty. Inside each booth was a member of staff booking you onto their computer and the person who was injecting you. I had remembered to print off my list of allergies from my computer which I try to keep updated. I like to try and carry a copy of this list in my handbag or coat pocket when I go out in case I am ever involved in an accident. My dad had been quizzed about his allergies two weeks prior to my appointment. when he went for his vaccination so I knew this was incredibly important.
Mr MG Kid told me that they had issues locating him on the computer when he was getting his jab. Low and behold they had the same issue with me. It was funny as the girl that was imputing the information onto the computer was someone I hadn’t see nor spoken to since probably around 2010. So it was hilarious when she said “is that Rachel?” and I said “Rachel?” as that is her name too. So she knew all my details to put into the computer but it was a situation where it was saying no! Rachel then asked me if I had anything with my NHS number on. Luckily I did, my list of allergies contains my hospital number and my NHS number. Rachel popped this on the computer and as if by magic my details appeared… exactly the same as she had typed them onto the screen a moment earlier.
Due to my list of allergies, the person that was doing the injection had to go and speak to the doctor in charge. She wanted to ensure that there was nothing contained within the vaccine that I could have a reaction with. When she came back she said that when my medical records had been reviewed by my gp practice they has put me down as needing the Oxford AstraZeneca one due to the allergies I have to a long list of medications. They double checked that I didn’t carry an epi pen or had an allergic reaction to a vaccination previously. Then without me even feeling it I had my vaccination. Due to the fact I am have allergies I was asked to sit and wait for ten minutes in the area they have near the exit. Normally with the Oxford AstraZenica one you can leave straight away. With the Pfizer one everyone has to wait 10 minutes.
I sat in the waiting area and within a few minutes I started to feel hot, weird and I had a funny feeling in my chest. I started to get tunnel vision. So I asked someone for help. I was lead to booth 11 which had a bed on it. I lay down and my face felt like it was burning. As soon as I was flat on my back I started to feel a lot better. I think I simply had a panic attack. The combination of having a nasty allergic reaction previously, being hot, wearing a face mask and being anxious, was too much and I panicked pure and simple. I lay down for around 5 minutes. As soon as I felt ok I sat up, then waited to ensure I was ok sitting up and then made my way to the exit. Dying of embarrassment for being that person, who is probably being accused of being a drama queen.
Friday afternoon a few hours after the vaccine I started to feel very tired and had the chills. As we have a digital thermometer in the house I checked my temperature regularly as I know some people have spiked a fever after the vaccination. My temperature remained normal, throughout the next few days. I would say I felt under the weather but was quite relieved that I didn’t have the headache a lot of my friends had said that they got within hours of having it.
At 1am Saturday morning I woke up racked with pain, all my muscles were burning, when I got out of bed to go to the toilet I was freezing cold. I felt like I was coming down with the flu. I took some paracetamol and went back to sleep. My left arm where I had the jab was very sore, the whole muscle ached. All day I felt pretty out of it, horrendously tired, muscles aching as the day went on the pain got worse. By 17.30 I went back to bed, I took regular paracetamol and drank loads. Resting and staying in bed was the only way to go so I got a new tv series to watch and lay in bed with that on.
When I woke up on Sunday initially I felt a lot better than I had on Saturday morning. This was temporary though. After a shower and dressing I was wiped out. The muscle pain had reduced and was now just uncomfortable. However on moving around more than a step or two I was shaking quite violently. I was struggling to concentrate and just felt really awful. At 3pm I gave up trying to remain out of bed and crawled back in.
What I also noticed on Sunday was that my glands in my neck, groin, armpits and stomach had swollen up. I had glandular fever when I was 21, many years ago now and since then whenever I am poorly with a flu like illness I end up with my glands swelling up. They get quite painful, they ache and no pain relief helps. The glands in my neck were up so badly that they were giving me earache. I tried to see the bright side and that my immune system was doing its job. Having chatted to some other younger friends I had been quite lucky. Some of them who also had the jab on Friday still hadn’t been able to get out of bed for anything other than the toilet.
The weird thing was whenever I was lying down and doing nothing I actually felt ok. However attempting to get up and do stuff made me feel awful. So they only thing I could do was just lie around in bed and hope that tomorrow it would be better.
Sunday into Monday I slept 12 hours, which for me is a ridiculous amount. I usually get by on 7-8 hours. I spent years managing on much less so I am happy to get more sleep these days. I felt ok on waking but didn’t say it out loud as I was terrified the minute I did anything I would be feeling awful again. I have to say thank goodness the side effects have gone. I am feeling so much better now. The glands in my armpits are sore but all the other glands have gone back down. My left arm is just sore at the site of the injection and only hurts if pressure is applied to it . I am at long last out the other side of it. I am not exactly thrilled that I will probably end up going through this again in 12 weeks but hey, my odds with contracting Covid weren’t good and I wasn’t prepared to just take my chances with it.
My Myasthenia Kid who had the Pfizer vaccine, had really bad fatigue on Friday. He felt really drained and his arm was very sore. Saturday morning he still felt quite fatigued and his legs were aching. However this wasn’t enough for him not to go into work. By Saturday evening he was through the other side of it and the only issue he had was a sore arm at the injection site and nothing more. When he had the flu jab with me in November all he had was a sore arm where as I was poorly for a few days.
I would still have the vaccine even with knowing this. It is short term discomfort and feeling rough, to be protected. I know those who are anti – vaccine won’t agree and that’s fine, that’s your prerogative.