Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Chronic illness, constant pain, 21 visits to A&E – and still they tell me to have a second jab


ONE dose of Pfizer, just one! Within 30 minutes, while I was still driving home, I had a sudden feeling of the worst flu. My throat, eyes, lips and neck swelled to double their size and I couldn’t breathe. Within an hour welts appeared on my legs, arms, chest and even in my hair. I was taken by ambulance to A&E and given an epi-pen. Twenty-four months on and I have a formal diagnosis of chronic angioedema and urticaria. I’m no better, every day my lips and face swell. I have drooping eyelids, blurred vision, tremors, uninvestigated and untreated spikes in heart rate for no reason, and protruding veins all over my body. Then there is the horrendous tinnitus and 60 per cent loss in hearing. Sinus problems (lesions in the nasal cavity), pain at the back of the head, stomach pain and an intolerance to more than 200 foods. I can’t go out in sunshine because it literally burns the scalp and skin. This is now my life.

The doctors’ advice is to have the second jab! I don’t think so. It was 18 months and 21 visits to A&E before my GP surgery finally got to see me face to face, and then declared that I was too much of a specialist case for them to treat. 

I am no anti-vaxxer. I had the jab in good faith thinking that it would mean life returning to normal, to see my children and grandchildren. The lack of medical care and investigation on any symptoms other than the urticaria and angioedema is both criminal and despicable along with their constant texts and letters telling me to get a second dose. 

It’s an emotional journey and a very visual one. I have lost all confidence in socialising; the constant swelling has meant my skin has aged ten years in 24 months. I can no longer see well enough to drive, and that is a loss of independence. 

The UK CV Family group is a lifeline for me. I can’t thank the creators of the group enough for giving me the simple realisation I am not alone. Daily we see new members. I welcome them with the same message: welcome and so sorry you have to be here. 

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Nicola Cooper
Nicola Cooper
The writer is 56 and a member of UK CV Family.

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