I worked at the Mersey Hospital as an admin assistant for the anti-natal clinic. I was one of the last ones to get vaccinated. I’m not anti-vax and I’ve had my flu vaccine every year. I just wasn’t sure about the COVID vaccine. The fact that there were no long-term studies rang alarm bells, but I wasn’t able to afford to lose my job as a single parent of two children. I needed to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. So, I decided reluctantly that there was no choice but to get the jab.
I got the Moderna vaccine on 19th March 2021. A couple of days after, I had a pain in my foot which I thought was strange because I have a high pain threshold. I also had brain fog, which lasted a couple of days and I also thought that was strange. I even texted my sister half-jokingly, to say, “If I die in my sleep, I’ve had a bad pain in my foot and I had the jab.”
I woke up the next day and continued my life as I usual. I was so busy I didn’t really think anything of feeling a bit more fatigued than usual. This went on for a few weeks and then I felt back to normal, up until week nine.
On 21st May 2021, I went out for dinner with my family and all of a sudden I was hit with a thunderclap headache and felt like I wanted to vomit. Someone at the table gave me Panadol to take and I went straight home to sleep.
The next day I went to the hospital because it had returned, but this time it was far worse. I had a severe thunderclap headache. The doctors were dismissive of it and told me that it was just a migraine.
I knew it wasn’t and they ran blood tests. They took my blood pressure which came back 209/119 and also did a CT scan on my brain, without the contrast, which came back all clear.
I just knew something wasn’t right. I know when I have a normal headache, but this was a pain that I’ve never experienced before and as I said earlier, I have a high pain threshold.
They sent me home medicated and I don’t remember anything from that point on. I woke up the next day. The headache got worse and I apparently vomited four times, according to what my daughter tells me, but I cannot recall any of this.
I stayed home that day and that night I couldn’t even feed my kids. I was basically just sitting there holding my head, not knowing what to do with myself. My daughter asked me what she could do to help and I responded, “I don’t know.” She responded asking, “Should I call an ambulance?” and I replied saying, “I don’t know.” Luckily her intuition was right and she called the ambulance anyway.
The ambulance arrived and they took me lights and sirens to Launceston Hospital. On the way there, the paramedic was trying to keep me awake because my blood pressure kept dropping as I was going to sleep. In other words, he thought I was going to die.
I want to thank him, whoever the man is, for the way he was directing everyone. It was him who was keeping me alive, the others were just saying it’s a migraine.
When I arrived at the hospital, I overheard the man saying I was having a stroke and they had to treat me as a stroke patient.
I woke up one day later. I couldn’t talk and I was paralysed. I had double vision and I couldn’t open my eyes properly. I was in and out of consciousness, but when conscious, I could hear what they were saying. I even overheard the doctor telling my family it wasn’t looking good, as I had a stroke in the spinal column.
When they moved me from ICU back to the ward, I was in a room with three other people. I was hooked up to multiple monitors. A day later I was moved into a single room and all the monitors were removed. By that stage I still couldn’t talk, but I could understand what everyone was saying. I was using basic sign language to communicate. The doctors hardly came in to check on me.
A couple of days later, when I started to recover, the nurses and doctors were more active with me. The nurses were great. I felt so humiliated not being able to function at all, but they assured me they were used to it and I was truly thankful.
I had a catheter, a nasogastric tube and I was on a drip for what was going to be the next six weeks when the nasogastric tube was taken out. The catheter was taken out four weeks after that. I was in the hospital for a total of 16 weeks. During that time I had a number of bladder infections, which meant I had to be on antibiotics during this time as well.
After the 16 weeks I went home to live with my mum and I am still with her four months on. I’ve been going to physio weekly. I’m able to walk a little bit, with a walking stick, but not too far. Every week I feel like I can do a little bit more, but it’s so frustrating because I’ve always been someone who’s been independent and able bodied.
I still get the odd headache and have really bad fatigue. I can’t do much in a day. For a long time I had double vision and my right eye had a mind of its own, which was frightening me. It took a while, but now my vision has improved despite losing peripheral vision in my right eye. The left side of my body doesn’t feel any hot or cold because I have nerve damage. Also, swallowing food and drink is still difficult.
When I heard my long-time friend Rachel was also injured by the vaccine, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I knew how frightened she was to have it, especially after what she had seen happen to me. She even flew down to Tasmania to fight for me in the hospital.
What are the chances of this just being a coincidence?
Both of us have always been healthy, active country people, with no major underlying conditions before the vaccine.
By sharing my story, I’d like to say, “Don’t have the vaccine”. But let’s just say, “Make an informed decision, don’t do anything without all the information first, listen to your body and use your intuition”.