The Vaccine of a Lifetime

Because I have Crohn’s disease(auto-immune, intestinal), and it’s been acting up(highly upsetting), I have been on a drug which I need to inject every other week, called Humira.

I will say, that it has helped me in terms of my appetite, reducing nausea, and reducing time spent on the toilet. It’s also brought my sedimentation rate down to a normal range, which is a good sign. A high sed rate indicates inflammation.

Because Humira majorly suppresses immune-system function, I’ve been required to get just about every vaccine imaginable, to protect myself from serious infections, that I’d normally get over, but could kill me, now that my immune-system is so suppressed.

I had the flu, pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis C vaccines, and had no real issues with them. I actually got everyone stuck into a different place on my body, in one day.

I still needed the Shingles vaccine, though, and had been putting it off because I had heard that it can be really hard on your system. Also, there was a nationwide shortage of it.

When I heard from a friends husband, who is a pharmacist, that the drug was actually in stock, I realized that I could put it off no longer.

I went to a local drugstore, that had the first vaccine. You need to get two of them. Months apart.

I also immediately bought Tylenol, to have on hand, just in case.

I was ushered into a little 3 walled cubicle, where people could catch views of you with your shirt off, and your bra showing.

The pharmacist, who was giving the vaccine, had a really shaky hand.

Just kidding.

He did ask, however, if either of my arms, or shoulders were injured. Worrisome question.

My left shoulder has been painful for many months now, probably in part because I hold my shoulders up to me ears as a stress response, much of the time.

I asked that he give it to me in my right arm. He seemed way too happy about giving me the injection.

His John Lennon glasses partially hid his nefarious glances.

“This is going to sting a little”, He said.

Then he jammed the needle into my right shoulder, and pushed in, rather quickly, a sticky mass of orange goo.

I’ve dealt with many injections, and unpleasant medical tests in my past. Boy, did this shot hurt!

Immediately afterwards, I felt my shoulder begin to swell, and I felt like I was coming down with the flu. My brain proceeded to shut down, and I felt a little spittle dripping down the side of my chin.

I somehow made it home, and popped some extra strength generic Acetaminophen into my mouth. I did so every 4 hours of the next three days, as well.

I couldn’t sleep on my right side, because my shoulder was so swollen and painful. There were, like, rocks under my arm, and in my groin area, which I’m guessing were inflamed glands.

I had the vaccine on Tuesday afternoon, and awoke on Saturday to a very unhappy body. My right side was numb. Not just my arm, but my WHOLE right side. My right arm was intensely painful, all the way from my neck to my fingertips.

I decided it best to go to Urgent Care, to make sure that I hadn’t had a stroke, as my cholesterol is way too high, and I refuse to take Statins.

There were about 3 people in the waiting room. Saturday night. Maybe not such a bad time to come in?

After waiting for 20 minutes, and pretending to read my spiritual book that I had brought with me, the nurse came out and led me to a medical room.

All of my vitals were fine. My blood pressure was actually low-so maybe that spiritual book helped me, just by virtue of it sitting on my lap?

The doc came in. An elderly man, with gray hair, and very long sideburns, but with a pleasant bedside manner as well. His last name was Pray. Seriously. Very comforting.

He understood my concerns, but told me that if I felt I might be having a stroke, I’d have to go to the Emergency Room.

No thank you.

He spoke to me for a few minutes about my symptoms; headache, photosensitivity, numbness on right side of body, neck pain, etc…

He came up with what seemed like a reasonable diagnosis.

Apparently, the Shingles vaccine, can set off something called a complex migraine, which exhibits symptoms that are very close to a stroke.

This is what he thought I had. He proceeded to ask his nurse to give me three more shots, after checking for any drug interactions with the numerous meds that I’m already taking. More shots. Couldn’t be more excited.

So, I got some sort of Cortisone shot in my arm, a non-steroidal pain med in one butt cheek, and Benadryl in the other.

Boy was I high. Or just completely out of it. My boyfriend took me to dinner afterwards, and I continually repeated myself. I walked into chairs, on my way to the bathroom. I wanted to lay down on the booth cushions, while we waited for food.

Kind of a big ordeal. I felt like I had a horrific hangover on Sunday. But the pain was mostly gone, and I no longer was unable to feel the right side of my body….

I’m not looking forward to getting the second vaccine in the series, but I’d rather be discomfited for awhile, then die of a Shingles infection.

1 Comment

  1. Shaky hands doing an injection, banish the thought! 😂 I want to see this dude in his John Lennon specs.

    All of this awfulness for one injection? Jeeees. Glad you got a decent doc when you went to urgent care. Mr Pray. I think I’d find that unsettling rather than comforting.

    I know some vaccines can cause short term side effects but this seems pretty damn intense. When’s the second one? I really, really hope it goes more smoothly for you! Xxxx

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