This story was submitted by Jacqueline Payne:
It was in 2006, 6 years ago, that I took the TDaP booster shot before entering college. I was going into music school and was checking off a long list of college requirements I had to complete by the August 11th start date. One of these requirements happened to include updating my vaccination record. It was because of this that I went to my family clinic on August 3rd for the booster shot. I was highly irritated and brought with me a terrible fear of needles. I’m still embarrassingly combatant with any nurse having to draw my blood, even though it doesn’t do me any favors. I finally worked up enough gumption to let them stick me, and from that moment on, my whole life changed. Before I left the office I felt woozie, but then again, I always felt woozy after shots, mostly from my mental fear of being punctured. I just didn’t have a good record.
However, this was very different. I felt worse as the day went on, and the next morning, I woke up with an orange tint to my skin. I thought it was really funny. I laughed it off when I should have been asking my parents to call the doctor. I still wonder why my mother didn’t just call the doctor anyways. Maybe I didn’t act as though it was that big of a deal. I only knew that if your eyes turned yellow, that meant you had jaundice and that your liver wasn’t functioning correctly. Little did I know, the vaccine was poisoning my body.
To be truthful, I had a long history of avoiding doctors (probably for the needles), and I didn’t like taking medicine in general. I thought I was some kind of tough girl. I mean, I had a fort in my backyard and I was still building medieval weapons on it when I was 18 years old. I also had a scooter and was doing tricks off the curb long after it was cool. My science projects were another story. My room was a constantly evolving laboratory of continual project messiness. If you ask my mother about these things today, you’d get one embarrassing story after the other, and I’d have to leave the room. Unfortunately, worst of all, I was stubborn as hell, especially with getting medical treatment. So, the second day after the vaccine, my skin was more yellow/orange than ever and I now felt like I had some kind of virus.
My mom asked me if I wanted to go to the doctor, and I said NO. I had so many excuses in the book, and I guess my mom had learned over the years not to fight me. But, I wish she had. Sometimes fighting is the better alternative when dealing with stubborn teenagers. Early next morning, I woke up in darkness in a pool of sweat with a terrible pain all over my body: I couldn’t move my arms or legs, my tongue felt twice its regular size, and I was so weak I could make any noise come out of my throat. My only choice was to fall back to sleep and hope someone was going to find me. I was so out of it that fear of something bad having happened to me didn’t even cross my mind. When something like that happens to you, you just don’t think clearly, because you can’t.