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Tim McAdams, a 59-year-old pilot, health enthusiast, husband and father was content with his job training pilots for Airbus Helicopters — a job he held for over a decade — until Airbus mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for its employees.
Up to that point, Tim and his wife Beth McAdams had approached the vaccine as a question of “risk management,” they told The Defender in an interview. Because Tim was fit, healthy and had no family history of illness, they didn’t think he needed to get the shot, despite repeated urging by Airbus.
“But when my employer mandated it, I thought, ‘Well now all of our retirement plans, everything could be in jeopardy if I have to try to find another job,’” Tim said.
He didn’t qualify for a medical exemption and had no religious beliefs that would exempt him, so they felt he had no choice.
Tim got his first Pfizer shot on Oct. 17, 2021, and the second on Nov. 7, 2021. Three weeks later he had two cerebellar strokes, a rare stroke in the cerebellum that accounts for only 1-4% of total strokes.
“I woke up in the middle of the night, dizzy, throwing up and with difficulty moving my legs. My wife took me to an urgent care facility and they diagnosed me with vertigo,” Tim said.
The hospital sent him home with drugs for nausea. The next night, he said, it happened again. They returned to urgent care.
Although the doctors still thought he was suffering from vertigo, they wanted to observe him overnight in the hospital. But, Tim said, “They only wanted to send me to a hospital within their hospital [system], which was a two-hour ambulance ride away,” even though there were approximately 15 hospitals closer to them in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, metroplex.
“Patient care was not the priority,” Beth said.
Beth and Tim returned home instead. But the next morning when the symptoms returned, they went by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Doctors there told Tim he had suffered two strokes, one on each side of his brain.
“Cerebellar strokes, in themselves, are very rare to begin with,” Beth said. “And then to have them bilaterally was very very strange. We were just shocked. I mean shocked is all I can remember,” because Tim was such a healthy person and had never had any health issues at all.
‘You’ll never ever get a doctor in this facility to admit the vaccine had anything to do with it’
In the hospital, the McAdams asked the doctors repeatedly what could have caused this rare event, but “they always shrugged.”
It didn’t dawn on them that the vaccine could have caused the strokes until Tim’s doctors began questioning them about recent events. They asked whether Tim had fallen, suffered any injuries or done anything at all they could possibly think of that was outside the norm in the previous three months.
“And I told the doctor, ‘Well, the only thing is three weeks prior I got the second shot of the vaccine,’” Tim said. The doctor responded, “‘No, that had nothing to do with it.’ And he walked out.”
“The thing that got me,” Tim said, “is they were telling me they had no idea why it happened, but they were really quick to eliminate only one possible cause, the one change that had happened.”
After the doctor left, a nurse who had been in the room spoke up. “For political reasons, you’ll never ever get a doctor in this facility to admit that the vaccine has anything to do with it,” the nurse said. “But I think it does, and I encourage you to research that and contact VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).”
Another nurse told Beth that she worked all over the metroplex and had seen countless vaccine injuries. The nurse told them vaccine injuries were “definitely prevalent and needed to be investigated,” but the doctors were “not willing to have a conversation about it, not even willing to say, ‘Well, we’re not sure.’”
That nurse also encouraged them to report Tim’s injury to VAERS.
After that, things took a turn for the worse. While showering in the hospital, Tim started to feel his legs shake and give out. He lurched for the door, seeking help.
Beth said, “I heard this clunk where he opened the hand lever of the bathroom door, opened it a little bit and let out the most horrific moaning scream I’ve ever heard.”
Tim was rapidly becoming paralyzed on his left side as the nurses dragged him to his hospital bed.
“I’m looking at him. Tim can’t talk, he can’t even raise his hand, barely. He’s trying to grab three of his fingers to tell me that he thinks it’s the third stroke,” Beth said.
But it wasn’t another stroke. Tim was suffering from brain swelling, which they treated with drugs and Tim soon returned to normal.
But a few days later, the swelling returned. Beth was awakened in the night by a call informing her Tim was being rushed into surgery for an emergency craniotomy.
After the surgery, he remained in the acute-care hospital. “It was such a wild 80-some days in the hospital because along the way he developed double pneumonia and lung failure,” Beth said.
Tim was intubated a number of times and eventually given a tracheotomy and a feeding tube. His vocal cords were damaged in the process.
Eventually, Tim began to recover.
Getting the story out to warn others
After the ordeal, Tim had to learn to do everything from scratch — to breathe on his own, walk and talk. He was in a rehab hospital for 30 days regaining those basic functions. “They got me out of the bed into a chair and into a wheelchair and a walker,” Tim said.
Outpatient rehab followed. Tim was able to return to a greater degree of physical normalcy, and he continues to improve. But he still struggles with fine motor skills, loss of balance and dizziness multiple times a day.
“Fortunately, cognitively, he is 100% there, thank God,” Beth said. “It’s the coordination and putting things together. The thoughts are there, but he can’t speak them as fast, so it’s speech coordination and mobility, which is typical for this type of stroke.”
Tim was able to return to work. He couldn’t fly but could teach in a flight simulator. On the job, he began suffering headaches and high blood pressure and had to make the decision to stop working.
“That’s very disappointing to me because it means that at least for a few years, I can’t go back to work because I can’t risk my health. And of course, I spent 40 years in this career and I love flying.”
This was difficult to come to terms with, Tim said. He was anxious at first to get recertified to fly. But his doctor pointed out that “in my business, I don’t have the luxury of having a second pilot — it’s what we call ‘single pilot.’”
The doctor told Tim, “If this had happened when you were flying, you would be dead. And so would everybody that was with you.”
“So with that thought in mind,” Tim said, “I’m thinking, well, maybe I’m better off not flying. I don’t want to put myself or anyone else in jeopardy.”
“At this point, Tim wouldn’t be physically able to fly anyway,” Beth said. “Life is different today in many ways,” Beth said.
Tim is on disability, which has hurt their finances. They downsized, sold their home and moved out to the country where things are less expensive.
From a day-to-day perspective, Beth said, “It’s handlebars in the shower for balance. I always have an eye and an ear on him. He’s still a fall risk because of the balance and coordination. So I don’t like to leave him alone. He’s not able to work out in a gym.”
But, she said they continue to stay active. “I firmly believe that eating healthy and staying active is key.”
Tim’s primary care physician for more than 15 years, and who helped him recuperate and make decisions about work, blamed Tim’s stroke on the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Tim said the doctor himself got a blood clot in his leg after being vaccinated, lost one patient and had two patients — Tim and another person — who had strokes, all in a very small family practice in Colleyville, Texas.
As they settle into their new home and new normal, the McAdams are starting to connect to others and share their story.
“We’re just now starting to try to get the story out in hopes that other people may think about the risks — especially now with the whole [Biden] administration push for more vaccines, boosters and stuff — so that people understand the risk in doing that,” Tim said.
On Monday, Tim and Beth talked with Children’s Health Defense (CHD) Polly Tommey, program manager for CHD.TV. Polly is on CHD’s nationwide “Vax-Unvax” bus tour gathering stories from people injured by vaccines.
Click here to learn more, see the bus schedule and share your story.
Watch the #CHDBUS interview with Tim: