Hi and reply

September 25, 2008 at 11:05 pm

My reaction started in my head, with severe headache 2 days after the flu shot. I couldn’t sleep at all, the pain was constant and lasted several days. My vision darkened for a couple of weeks, and my hearing lessened to buzzing and ringing. At the same time, I noticed swollen glands under my chin, and I couldn’t chew or swallow without drooling. I had no sense of taste. No fever though. I felt very cold all over. all the time, icy spine, achy in all my muscles.

Then the cramps started on both sides, becoming more and more terrible; then the tingling took over, then the burning feet, then the terrible cramps in my ribcage: I had to tear the muscles apart with deep breaths,holding my breath as long as possible. I could hear sounds like Velcro tearing apart as I tried to breathe. It was my contracted muscle fibers around my chest being torn apart as I tried to breathe. But I stayed awake for the terrible hours of choking and pain and forced myself to breathe and hold my breaths so the contractions couldn’t immobilize me and suffocate me. I had some severe bowel and bladder incontinence at that time too. After that, the weakness and pain took over my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, back, hips, legs, feet. The contractions were constant, and I could feel my capilliaries and nerves activating one by one throughout my entire body, then worsening to frequent painful nerve spasms (several per minute).

As the days went by, I lost the strength and ability to walk or think, or speak or read. My memory has been affected; my concentration damaged; my comprehension impaired. This all took place over a matter of several months, and has only lessened somewhat as I started healing in spring. At various times, I attempted to get help from the medical staff, but they haven’t said or done anything to help me. I taught myself to speak properly again by reading difficult books out loud; my handwriting has improved to where it is now mostly under control again. I constantly correct my mistakes and try to retrain myself in every aspect of normal living. But I’m very weak, and in a lot of pain, and still can’t walk properly, and am usually exhausted, even when I just get up in the morning. I’m used to all this now, and am trying to cope with it. I’ve learned some coping skills, and best of all, I’ve learned that life goes on, except that everything’s different now, because I’m different. Thanks for asking, and for your kind concern.

— Donna

ps: I forgot to mention that I am extremely sensitive to light and sound now, even for a music teacher. The sound of a spoon tinkling on a counter-top is enough to make to tremble for half a minute. Louder sounds make to shake for much longer. And I have to wear sunglasses outside all the time, and keep the rooms darkened indoors, because the light hurts my eyes.

I have to call it a day now; I’m too tired to correct my mistakes, and my head aches badly.