I’m a 20 year old from Perth. I have no underlying health conditions and no family history of major diseases. The only incident I’ve had was when I ruptured my spleen playing AFL two years ago and was hospitalised for eight days. I work at Woolworths and in my second year of my Bachelor of Health and Physical Education at Notre Dame. I love football, I go to the gym most days, I’m super active and really take care of my health, and I take vitamins every morning. As I’m studying health, I have a pretty good understanding of how the body and immune system works. I know a lot about the heart, exercise, and what it takes to keep fit and healthy.
I’ve been the black sheep in my circle for a while when it came to the vaccine. From the beginning of when COVID started, I felt something was suspicious with the whole bat story. As soon as they began mandating and forcing the vaccine, I started to have an active problem with it. I honestly think if we were given a choice, I might have gotten it, but the mandate sounded the alarm bells for me and I felt there was an ulterior motive.
My whole family got it before me, but everyone was pretty neutral about it. I had no one to talk to about my feelings around the vaccine and I kept putting off getting it. I also felt a lot of social pressure. My gut feeling and instinct was telling me not to, and I’m usually pretty right about those things.
The cut-off date to get the first dose in WA was 31st of December 2021. I was kicked out of work that day for not getting it, and I couldn’t go back until I was vaccinated.
For a week or so, I was so lost and didn’t know what to do. Then I found out I’d have to be double vaccinated to be on-campus at university. I needed money and my education, so I went to get the vaccine, but I really didn’t feel good about it.
I actually decided to get the AstraZeneca because they were recommending Pfizer for the younger age group. My thought process was to do the opposite of what they said, because I felt they were feeding us so many lies.
For two weeks prior, I was extra diligent with supplements and on a strict protocol of fulvic acid everyday, eating really well and detoxing from alcohol.
I got my first dose of AstraZeneca on the 14th of January 2022. The day after, I had a fever and felt very sick with common flu symptoms. That lasted about two days, and then I had eye-migraine-like symptoms for another week after that. That passed, and I was allowed to work at Woolworths again until the 31st of January, as that was the cut-off date for the second vaccine. On the 31st of January, I was fired again.
I wanted to wait as long as possible between the vaccines, but it got to the point where I had no money, so I had the second AstraZeneca on the 18th of February. Afterwards, I stuck to the same protocol and made sure I was really diligent with my health. I didn’t get sick after that second vaccine, and felt okay to get on with things.
On Thursday 10th of March, in the late afternoon, I started feeling really light-headed and had pins and needles in my hands and arms. This was not normal for me. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I decided to skip basketball and footy training that night as I needed to do my uni assignments. I got in the shower around 9:30pm, and suddenly my heart started to beat violently and really fast. It felt like it was bashing against the inside of my chest.
My mind started racing and I knew what was happening. I got out of the shower and told my mum. She could feel how fast it was going and told me to lie down in bed. Then I started shaking from my feet and it crept up into my legs, all the way up to my shoulders. My whole body was shaking uncontrollably for about 30 minutes.
It went away for two minutes, and I thought it had passed. Then it came back again, and much more intensely for 20 more minutes. My dad called the ambulance. The paramedics came into my room and I could only just walk out to the ambulance as I was in the peak of an episode. They put me onto the stretcher bed, wouldn’t let my parents in, and wouldn’t treat me until I tested negative for COVID.
During the 20 minutes while I was tested for Covid, I felt sharp pains down my left arm. The paramedics still wouldn’t treat me, and said they had to wait until my COVID test came back. I felt that I was about to have a heart attack and was still shaking. They just stood there and did nothing to help me.
When my result came back negative, I was relieved because I didn’t want them to blame this on COVID. The paramedic said, “Oh thank God, that’s one less thing we have to worry about”, as if I’d have called in for COVID and not because I was about to have a heart attack!
They drove me to the hospital, and at this point, my heart rate had started to drop and I was only having little twitches in my leg. They wheeled me into emergency, where they plugged me into ECGs and left me for 5 hours until a room freed up. I was checked on briefly every couple of hours. They found a room for me at about 4am and wheeled me there, keeping the ECGs on and hooked me up to a heart monitor. I was left there for a few more hours. I probably slept for about 30 minutes.
During the time I slept, my heart rate dropped back to 48. After that, a nurse kept saying that wasn’t normal (even though that’s a normal sleeping heart-rate). I got an ECG scan, a blood scan, and a blood pressure test, and they all came back normal. They ruled out it being COVID which was what the paramedics initially suggested.
The doctor then proceeded to ask if I was on meth. I thought he was joking and laughed only to realise he wasn’t joking! I had to explain I had not done meth. After that, the doctor left and then came back to ask when I got my vaccine, how long ago, how many I had. He left for 30 minutes, came back and said we believe this is a side effect of the vaccine as this occurred within the time frame in which we’ve seen similar results to other young healthy males. He stated it was pericarditis. I was sort of relieved at that point, as I thought he was going to tell the truth. The doctor leaves and comes back to tell me he didn’t realise I had the AstraZeneca instead of the Pfizer and said it must be a cold then.
I said I haven’t had a cold in the past eight months. He then said, “I wouldn’t expect you to remember when you’d last had a cold”. From the look on his face, I felt he didn’t care and didn’t believe me, which to me felt really scary.
At 6:30am, he came back and said, “Okay you’re good to go. Can you catch an Uber home?” I felt they wanted me out of there as soon as possible. I was very weak, but I was still able to walk okay. My parents had waited in the hospital car park the whole night. They tried to get into the hospital multiple times but were told they couldn’t come in. My parents were told they’d be notified of how I was going, but they weren’t updated whatsoever.
I was sitting on a chair in the emergency hall, waiting to be discharged, and I asked my treating doctor to write down the vaccine comments on my record. He appeared flustered and communicated he wouldn’t put it on my record. The doctor called my mum and told her I didn’t need to worry about a third vaccine. My mum replied, “What do you mean? We’re in WA, and he’s studying to be a teacher!” The doctor said, “Oh, then he shouldn’t hesitate to get another vaccine.” He completely changed his story as the phone call went on, saying it was the cold (that I never had).
The doctor’s notations on my form were also incorrect, specifically writing that my heart rate only got to 110. It was at 185. I went home and was so exhausted, but couldn’t get to sleep until about midday.
The next few days, I was bedridden and extremely fatigued. My dad got COVID on the 15th of March, so I couldn’t go to the doctor. Another week passed by, and I felt like I was slowly getting better.
Currently, I feel mentally ready to go back to sport and normal life, but my body definitely doesn’t feel 100%. I feel really off. My spleen has started getting swollen again ever since, and I get a hot tingly sensation in my heart every couple of days.
I’ve always felt like I was really in-tune and aware of my body, but now I don’t really understand it and have lost a lot of confidence in my physical performance. I’m unsure about my future in sport, and what my body can handle. I was very stressed and anxious about the 3rd vaccine and the implications for my health and well-being. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do my practical for uni, not be able to coach and play sports, and not be able to work.
On the 22nd of March, I had a Tele-health appointment with my family doctor (who I’ve seen for years) because I wanted to get an exemption. I really didn’t think there was much hope, and thought maybe I’d get a four month one at best. My dad has a good rapport with him, so dad joined the call too. I explained the situation in full, and my dad said he didn’t feel comfortable with me getting anymore and the doctor said, “I completely understand. We will sort out an exemption”.
He got me to fill out an exemption form for a permanent exemption to take to him in person. I took it to him that afternoon and he signed it. I’ve never felt more relieved in my life.
The last six months have been really hard due to all of this. I’ve never been a worried or anxious person, but ever since my episodes, I’ve been extremely anxious. Now, I feel like I can somewhat move forward and I am forever grateful to my family doctor.
I’m not looking for sympathy and want to stay anonymous, as it has been very emotionally and physically draining. I currently don’t have the energy to talk about it too much right now. I’d like to get on with my life in these crazy circumstances.
I just wanted to share my story so it could be properly documented and hopefully raise awareness. I want to help other people know they’re not alone, and to share my story which has a semi-happy ending. Sending love to everyone who’s struggling – I’m with you and hopefully this will all end soon.