On Thursday evening, I wrote that I felt some very minor side effects from my first AstraZeneca vaccine. I was feeling some muscle aches in my arms and that was pretty much it. About ten minutes after I hit “Publish” button for that post, things went downhill very quickly.

I had planned on going to sleep anyways after I wrote my post but as I crawled into bed, the muscle aches had expanded to all parts of my body. I also started to feel the chills come on. I began to shiver ever so slightly, even as I was under the covers. I was feeling very uncomfortable and it came on lightning quick. Thirty minutes ago, I was feeling normal. It caught me by surprise at how quickly I felt ill.

Oddly, I was feeling like my intestinal muscles were cramping. It’s hard to explain, but I knew it wasn’t because I had ate something bad. It’s like if your leg muscle cramping, except this was some of my intestinal muscle. Those cramps came in waves and it was quite painful. So I had that to deal with, along with the chills, and the whole body aching.

With all that going on, I found it very difficult to sleep. I just didn’t see how my body and mind was going to relax enough in that state to let myself fall asleep. I had several people warn me during the day to stay hydrated after the shot. I took their advice and was drinking water all day and throughout the evening. I brought some water with me to bed. Even while I was taking a turn for the worse, I forced myself to continue to drink water.

The area where the shot was administered, which had been pain-free all day, all of a sudden became very sore and painful to the touch (much like the rest of my body). It was like my body had gone to battlestations. I guess that’s exactly what it should have been doing.

I was in this first stage of discomfort for who knows how long. It must have been two or three hours. Sleep did not come at all. I’m not sure what came next. I think it was the headache. A painful headache developed. It made tossing and turning painful.

My chills gave way to a fever, probably around 5am. I got hot, my body ached, my head was pounding, and I was just feeling miserable. I had to pee and it was an ordeal to even muster the strength and endure the pain of getting up to go to the bathroom. I didn’t really have any choice other than pee in my bed.

After urinating and getting back into bed, I thought that I couldn’t even remember that last time I felt ill, even just a quarter as bad as this. Since the pandemic began, with physical distancing, mask wearing, avoiding crowds and public transit, I had been successful at avoiding a single cold or flu. Now, lying in bed, I felt just awful. Yet, this was a good sign that my body was creating antibodies in response to the vaccine.

Friday morning was a bit of a blur, I may have fell asleep for about ten minutes here or there. I do remember feeling very hot and sweating. I also somehow gathered enough strength to send out an e-mail to work saying I was going to take a sick day. My headache had not subsided all this time.

I believe around 11am, I decided to take an Advil. I would have taken one earlier but I was hoping I wouldn’t need to and wanted to just let my body do its thing with the vaccine. I had, however, been without sleep all night and was feeling the worse I’ve felt in probably three or four years.

After I took the Advil, about an hour later, I got really hot again, felt like I was sweating through my PJs and my sheets. The only thing I could do was just lie there and let it happen. The suddenly, I realized my headache was almost gone and my fever had gone down significantly. I wasn’t feeling hot anymore and I stopped sweating. I’m not sure if it was the Advil but if it was, it had done an amazing job.

By this time it was about 12 or 1pm and I felt good enough that getting up from bed didn’t feel like agony. This allowed me to make some food and a coffee. I was starting to feel much better. I didn’t do too much for the rest of the afternoon. I went back to bed, drank water, and I was able to fall asleep for about an hour in the late afternoon.

My condition remained the same throughout the evening, though just before bed, I felt the tiniest of all over muscle aches and a bit of a chill. I was able to sleep normally on Friday night. I woke up feeling ok on Saturday morning. It was almost like nothing had happened the day before. The only thing that seemed out of place was that I felt hot and sweaty doing less strenuous things than normal. Not sure if it was because it was sorta sunny on Saturday or if I still had a bit of fever. I also got tired quickly. I had to nap in the afternoon.

On Sunday, I felt completely normal again, with the exception of the injection site, which remains sore, like someone had punched my arm real hard.

As an adult, I’ve had several flu shots and I’ve had the hepatitis vaccine but nothing has come close to what I’ve experienced with this one. It really did a number on me but that’s ok. It means it worked and that’s the important thing.

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