We have matching appointments to get our shots next Friday. Hallelujah!
The gossip started spreading around work very quickly. Everyone in our industry in California is eligible for a vaccine appointment. We’re critical infrastructure, so it was surprising that we all had to wait as long as we have, considering how much mandatory work-from-home has been interfering with our duties.
I heard about it from my boss’s assistant, who got it out of his email, where it was forwarded to him from another manager, who got it from a friend of ours who has moved on to another company.
All of this before it hit the local news, any of the newsletters I get from various regional governmental entities, or any kind of notification from Kaiser.
It’s been hard to wait.
The older folks in my book group were all making fun of me the other night. They’re making plans to go to Sizzler together because they’ve all already had both their vaccines. “Jessica probably doesn’t have hers yet,” ha ha ha hahaha.
Outside of work, almost everyone I know has gotten at least their first shot already.
It’s been hard to wait because I feel like I’m in the worst group. That is, middle-aged long-haul COVID survivors with no other pre-existing medical conditions.
I got COVID before the shutdown.
I couldn’t get authorized for a test. My doctor refused to believe I was sick until I emailed him a list of my symptoms a week later.
At the time I got sick, there were zero approved treatments. We weren’t even supposed to take ibuprofen. (Not sure if that’s still true). I was recommended: Tylenol.
Finally I got a chest x-ray, which showed peribronchial thickening. Basically worse than smoker’s lungs even though I’ve never smoked. I got antibiotics for a secondary infection.
It was a little easier when I got bacterial pneumonia two months later. I was able to get a COVID test that time, and antibiotics again, and an inhaler, because they know how to treat pneumonia at least.
It has taken a full year for me to feel basically recovered.
The way it feels is like, you were dumb enough to get COVID, so you’re expendable at this point. Not sick enough to die or be on a ventilator, so quit complaining.
Meanwhile, here is a long list of millions of people who are eligible for a vaccine before you, including [my coworker’s young friend] who has no pre-existing conditions and signed up to do a single delivery for Uber Eats just to get the shot.
All this time I’ve been petrified to get exposed again, particularly from the hundred people in my apartment complex who refuse to wear a mask.
Other people who have gotten COVID twice have died or wound up in the hospital on second exposure.
I’m 45 and I have scarring in my lungs from COVID. Too old to tolerate the virus well, too young to qualify for the vaccine.
Nobody cares. It’s not sexy or romantic to be chewed up and spit out by coronavirus. Millions of people have died, millions more have lost parents or spouses or siblings. Quit complaining.
Now will follow, for us, one of the longest weeks of the pandemic. The last week in which we are both completely vulnerable, the last week in which one of our thoughtless neighbors might cough near us in the lobby, or the laundry room, or the elevator.
We know what to do by now, which is to stay inside, avoid opening the door or being near anyone, and just keep our heads down. The boredom and the restlessness are a different flavor when they have a quantifiable deadline.
We celebrated, of course. We crossed the room to each other and held hands and did a little dance.
Then I texted my family and my bestie.
Helped a coworker find a location where she could schedule hers.
Talked another friend through why it’s necessary to get booster shots, that the content of both shots is the same, and basically how the immune system responds to different vaccines for different viruses.
You know, how people usually only get chicken pox once but you can get the common cold several times a year? And you had to get booster shots for measles/mumps/rubella when you were a kid? It’s because they test and find out that antibody protection only lasts a certain amount of time for certain shots, and the immune system responds better when you get another dose at a later point.
I’m going to be super stoked after I get my shot, for so many reasons, but partly because it will give me more credibility when I talk about vaccines.
65% of American adults age 65 and over have already had theirs. It’s safe!
A couple of our older friends have complained a bit about how they felt cruddy when they got their shot. But that’s okay. None of them have said they wished they could take it back.
That cruddy feeling is the feeling of your immune system responding, which is how the darn thing is supposed to work.
I’m not looking forward to that part at all. I know what my body did when COVID finally started dragging me down. It’s like bracing yourself to get punched in the mouth. Which I have done. The scientific part of my mind is very much looking forward to the onset of that woozy feeling, the stronger the better, because it will mean IT IS WORKING.
We’re making plans.
We have our “essential workforce authorization letter.”
I’ve already planned out most of what I’m going to do next week. We’ll go together. We’ll get our shots together in the same 10-minute time slot, possibly in adjacent chairs. The location passes by one of our favorite restaurants, so we can grab an early lunch together on the way home. Then I’m going to change into my favorite fleece pajamas and take a nice, long nap.
I’ve got a book picked out, and a TV series, and some nature webcams just in case the mood strikes.
I haven’t chosen my actual Shot Day outfit yet, something in layers that allows easy access to my bicep and also looks like party clothes.
Nor have I chosen what flavor of cake we’ll get to celebrate.
We’re still working out plans for what we’ll do the first time we hang out with my bestie, and whether my family will all be vaccinated in advance of Memorial Day.
(Memorial Day, guys!!!)
All of that is coming.
So many things to look forward to!
It’s almost over. Just to get through this next few weeks, staying safe, clean and careful, isolating and marking the time, making plans for a better and brighter day when we can forget all of this ever happened.
When are you getting your shot?
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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