OMG OMG OMG OMG
We just got our COVID-19 vaccines!!!!!!
We got our first dose, second dose will be in three weeks. We got the Pfizer one. It was free of charge.
Did it hurt? No
Do we feel weird? No
What was it like?
We found out at work that our industry was added to the list of essential workers. Immediately we went to book our appointments. We could have gotten them right up the street, a 20-minute walk, but we would have had to wait a month longer. The soonest we could get appointments was a week out, at the big hospital three towns over.
Some of our coworkers were able to get their shots later that same day. It depends on where you live and how far you’re willing to drive. Those who were enduring a two-hour commute when we were all working on-site have found themselves luckier to live near medical centers with a shorter wait time.
We were pretty wound up. All week we kept looking over at each other and going, “Shots on Friday!”
We woke up like an hour earlier than we needed to. I already had my clothes laid out and my purse ready by the door.
As we were going down the stairs to get our ride share, one of our neighbors suddenly opened a door and I almost crashed into him. No mask, of course. I had this mix of feelings: BOO mixed with ‘where is your mask’ mixed with ‘do not knock over elderly man’ mixed with ‘oh, yeah, this is one of three neighbors I actually like.’
None of this was visible on my face, fortunately.
“We’re getting our shots today!” I exclaimed, to explain why we were running down the stairs. “We’re excited!”
“Oh GOOD,” he called.
We told our ride share driver, We’re getting our shots today!
“Oh, that’s good,” he said.
It’s about 25 minutes away. We chattered away, remembering how funny our April Fool’s Day event was yesterday.
We got to the big hospital complex and had no idea where to go. Most of this type of COVID activity has been outdoors. It took us about five minutes of wandering around to finally find where to go, a covered driveway area with roped-off lines and folding tables.
They looked us up by medical number and handed us each a clipboard, where we filled in our names, birthdates, and medical numbers again. There was a handout explaining about the vaccine.
After we got the clipboards, we were directed to stand in the holding area, which was really the paved part of the driveway. There were at least a dozen other people there. We were maybe 15 minutes early.
They saw us early!
We went together, since we’re married and we had the same time slot. I took his picture while he got his injection, and he returned the favor.
I chatted with the nurses. I told them that it was the anniversary of when I got COVID. They commiserated with me about what it was like to get sick in March 2020, when there weren’t really any treatments and they weren’t really admitting anyone to the hospital. “They weren’t even doing steroids then, were they?” I thanked them for being there and helping us get these vaccines.
“This is going to change our lives so much, thank you!”
I have to admit that I had poor expectations of what the shot itself would be like. I’ve had problems with needle phobia and needle reaction since I was a little kid. Forty years of wigging out whenever I had to get a shot or have blood drawn. Even three years ago, when I went to get the flu shot, I had to put my head between my knees afterward.
I also had strong expectations of how my immune system would react, since I’m a COVID survivor. One of our good friends had both his shots, and he felt cruddy for two days afterward. Never mind that he’s pushing 70 and carrying a lot of extra weight... I felt like, that will definitely be me. If there are side effects, of course I will get them all.
It’s weird to know something intellectually, and yet also have an emotional setting about a physical sensation. Like, my brain knows that this is the best thing I could ask for, a millionaire privilege, and that this is a very exciting milestone. Yet the reptilian part of my brain is jibbering and crouching in some unlighted cave.
I feel totally fine. Like, not even sore.
The injection itself was a peculiar sensation. I’ve had tons of vaccines, including hepatitis A and B through an old job. I swear I could feel it “squirting” in. Clearly that vial was not empty.
Something happened after I started training in martial arts a few years ago. I lost my needle reaction. I’ve had a few injections, including at least three flu shots, and I’ve had at least a dozen vials of my blood drawn. Nothing. I don’t get dizzy or shaky any more, I don’t have to put my head down, I can just get up from the chair and walk off like it was nothing.
I’m guessing that maybe there is something about martial arts training that affects heart rate variability or the vagus nerve in some way. Something about my baseline anxiety level has permanently changed.
After we got our shots, we were sent to a waiting room where we were supposed to sit for 15 minutes before leaving. A nurse sat at a desk keeping an eye on everyone. The chairs were all spaced in a diagonal grid, six feet apart. We had our time stamps written on our forms, so we could count the 15 minutes.
We sat there reading a couple of news articles, and then we left. It was fine.
We crossed the street to a little pond where we ate our anti-Dementor chocolate bar and did some bird watching. WE SAW A GRACKLE! [haha, Cornell Ornithology Lab, there are too grackles in California!] And I got video to prove it.
Now we’re chillaxing on the couch. No strenuous workouts today, just in case. Later we’re going to get takeout and celebrate Shot Day with some cake.
How about you? All fifty states have plans to open immunization for everyone 16 and up. Do you need help setting up your appointment or did you get yours already? Are you going to help someone else figure out next steps?
Let’s do this. Let’s fight coronavirus together and put an end to the pandemic.
Shot Day for all!
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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