This is Stephen's story:
Most of you won't know the exact details of what happened that day, so here they are in my own words.
I had my first dose on the 7th April 2021 of AstraZeneca.
Monday the 3rd of May (2021) was just a normal day, or so I thought.
I was on my way to work when I started feeling pain at the top of my back,the top of my chest ,tingling down my arms and pins and needles in my fingers.
I had one of the young lads from work in the car, I explained to him he's going to have to walk to work because I need to go to the hospital quickly.
Me being me,I sparked up a cigarette, opened a can of monster and drove to the hospital sharpish.
I managed to reverse into a space,even though I was starting to get muscle weakness in my left arm (I had to use both hands to get it in reverse).
I walked into A&E,gave the receptionist my details and sat in the waiting area.
"Mr Bowie, you can go down to the ward now" so I try to stand up,nothing would move,"I'm sorry but I can't stand up, I think I need help ".
Next thing I know, I'm in a wheelchair heading into A&E, being lifted onto a bed and not being able to move, I was paralysed from the neck down.
I think I was like this for 2 weeks, spells in ward 204, ICU for a couple of days, back to 204, then 205 until I was ready to be moved to the neurology rehabilitation unit in woodend.
I ended up having a rare stroke, called a spinal stroke, and spent almost 3 months in hospital, I had to learn to walk, feed myself, pick things up, basically learn to do everything again.
6 months later and I'm still learning how to do things,unfortunately my spinal stroke is not the only thing I'm fighting at the moment, depression and anxiety have appeared to add to my problems.
Thankfully I have an angel that is trying her best to help me through this, Julie Taylor, I wouldn't be here without you and I love you so much ❤.
The doctor that treated me in A&E (I'm sure his name was Dr John Reid) came up to see me in the ward. He told me that someone else had been admitted with the exact same symptoms as mine and it was extremely rare that 2 spinal strokes would happen in the same hospital within 2 weeks of each other. He then told me that we both had our 1st Astrazeneca vaccine under 4 weeks before the stroke and he had filled in a yellow card.
A big thank you to my friends, family and all the staff at woodend/forresterhill for supporting me through this nightmare.
There's a long way to go yet,I just hope I have the strength to keep fighting.
Thank you for reading and sharing my story.