My name is Jason. I’m a 36-year-old male and I’ve been doing martial arts for 10 plus years. I am a father to two young kids; a three-year-old girl and a nine year-old boy. I have always considered myself to be very healthy and physically fit, and I have not dealt with any health issues in the past.
On the 7th October 2021 I tested positive for COVID-19. I had felt a bit off after finishing a workout and knew that something was wrong. My doctor told me I would need to isolate and that I should go to hospital if my symptoms progressed. The first time I called an ambulance was because I was having difficulties breathing. However the paramedics told me I was fine and went on their way.
A couple of days later I felt as though my breathing difficulties were getting worse so I called the ambulance again and this time was taken straight to hospital. Once I arrived at hospital they checked my vitals and rejected me as a patient as there were not enough beds available. Unfortunately, the ambulance was unable to take me back to my residence so my wife had to pick me up from the hospital. At this stage just walking through the car park to get to the car was very difficult.
As soon as I arrived home, I contacted my GP who said they would give me a script for prednisolone, but warned that it could negatively impact my breathing. They also suggested that I purchase an oximeter to monitor my oxygen levels. One of my family members organised for one to be shipped to my house urgently.
The oximeter arrived about 48 hours later and I was able to see that my oxygen level was down to 82%. I called an ambulance for the third time and was taken to hospital immediately. By this stage I was hypoxic and my lips were turning blue.
Once I was admitted to hospital, I was taken straight to the emergency ward where they did a number of tests and took x-rays. They diagnosed me with double pneumonia and I was transferred to a COVID ward at a different hospital. My condition did not seem to be
improving so I was put on a CPAP and told by the ICU doctor that I should be on a ventilator. I was then taken to the ICU where I was given large doses of Remdesivir, Dexomethazone and a number of other medications including blood thinners. Before I was sedated and put on a ventilator, the last thing I remember telling my doctor was that I didn’t want to die.
When I woke up a few days later I was told that I had improved and that I could come off the ventilator. I was transferred to a separate COVID ward and put on a CPAP and high-flow oxygen to help with my breathing as I was still having difficulties. Doctors then did a CT scan that showed I had three pulmonary embolisms which prompted them to double my dose of blood thinners and continue treating me with Remdesivir. My troponin levels were also higher than normal during this time (0.115ng/ml). Troponin is a protein that is sent into the bloodstream when heart muscle is damaged.
As I continued to improve, I was taken off the high flow oxygen and fitted with nasal prongs. I spent about two and a half weeks in this particular COVID ward before I was discharged with a number of medications to take. Before I left a few of the nurses recommended I wait six weeks before receiving any kind of COVID vaccine. Another nurse suggested I wait three months and one of my doctors told me I would only need to wait for a few days before having a COVID vaccine. I spoke to my GP about this and was given a six-month exemption. When I finally got home from hospital, I found that because of my depleted oxygen levels, I struggled to walk further than five metres without needing to sit down.
I had been fortunate enough to be able to work from home over the last couple of years. However, once my six-month exemption was up I knew I would need to get vaccinated as my workplace had been discussing staff having to return to the office to work. I received my first vaccination on 1st March 2022. About 5 days later I started experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing.
I ended up going to emergency where they did further tests and informed me that my troponin had significantly increased (0.25ng/ml). My d-dimer levels were fine and my ECG showed slight lateral changes but the doctors weren’t too concerned about this. I remember asking the doctor about the chest pain as I had never experienced anything like it. I told them that I had received the Novavax vaccine five days prior. They said that they didn’t know much about this particular vaccine and couldn’t tell me what had caused me to have chest pain.
I was discharged from hospital and told to follow up with my GP who completely dismissed the idea that my chest pain was related to the vaccine. They told me that my chest pain must have been because I had struggled with COVID six months earlier. I was given a referral to a cardiologist. After an ECG and a stress echo the cardiologist told me
that my high troponin levels were most likely due to stress and anxiety. They told me that my heart was fine and that I should receive my second vaccination.
I received my second Novavax vaccine on the 9thApril 2022 as I was at risk of losing my job if I wasn’t fully vaccinated. I still experience intermittent chest pain but it doesn’t seem to have worsened after having my second vaccination. My only other symptom has been severe lower back pain, which I experienced when I received my first vaccination and also when I was hospitalised with COVID.