I’d been waiting for a month for this day to arrive – my second shot of Moderna. Ever since I let that first needle stick my arm a month prior, I eagerly awaited to receive that second dose. It’d been a major source of conversation between everyone I knew who’d visited the county mass inoculation site, or CVA, or their doctor’s office. Maybe it wasn’t Moderna they took, could’ve been the Pfizer, or even the J&J, but man, it governed our lives.
I’ been symptom-free mainly, from that first shot. Got a little headache and a red mark on my arm from where the shot went it. That’s it. Others weren’t so lucky, like a friend of mine who got the Pfizer. She had the full slate of side effects: uncontrollable chills, fever, headache, nausea – for four days. And as quickly as they came on, they left. Yet my brother-in-law had nothing. My son got everything on both doses.
So I became a bit obsessed with what would happen to me when I raised my sleeve a second time. Read everything the CDC put out, or what my doctor’s office emailed. Of course, you hear all sorts of horror stories. I have a friend who seems to be obsessed with putting out the worst news on how the vaccines wreak havoc in your innards. I got to a point where it seemed useless to buy into such nonsense. I already had the first shot and now the second shot awaited me.
Last Sunday, I received an email for my second dose, sent to me by the county department of health. It told me what I should do (wear short sleeves, arrive on time) and not do (take painkillers before receiving the vaccine). There were time slots available throughout the day. I signed up for one after work.
The county mass vaccine site is about 25 minutes from my house, but I left an hour early. Last time, it poured with rain and there was almost no parking to be had. This time, the sun shone brilliantly and I snagged a spot practically right next to the entrance. Even though I arrived early, they let me in. Filled out a consent form and immediately was led to an open table. A volunteer took my sheet, looked up my name in the computer, verified I’d received the first dose then took my card as he placed a Modenra sticker on it. The doctor asked me a few questions, the same questions we’ve all been asked over and over again, then cleared me for the shot. In it went. Fifteen minutes later, I walked to my car and drove home.
At bedtime, I felt a slight headache come on, but no head-throbber. The next morning, I noticed my bedroom seemed awfully bright. It would be, at 11:00 am. That’s what the clock said, anyway. I slept twelve hours. As I rolled over, my body felt like a day after skiing – a bit stiff and sore. And geez, my arm hurt something awful. I crawled out of bed and poured a bowl of cereal. As I chewed my shredded wheat, it occurred to me that these side effects were pretty tame. Not the crippling body aches, soaring fever or uncontrollable chills some posted on Facebook. I took the day off and planned to do some reading, but wound up falling asleep on the couch to some movie I’d seen a million times.
By dinner, the fatigue wore off and the aches lessoned. By the next day, they were completely gone.
Now, I have another date to look forward to: May 5. For some, it’s Cinco de Mayo. For me, it’s Reclaim My Life Day. The vaccine will have done its job by then, and I can go forth into the world (masked, of course) and resume what I can of my pre-COVID life. I have friends who are in the same situation as me and are also looking forward to gathering together and making what we can of the coming days.
I’ll not shed my mask in reckless abandon, as I could conceivably carry COVID and pass it along to others. No, instead I’ll go forth, without fear or dread of catching it, getting a booster if necessary. It seems as if my life has been returned to me and that gift must be taken advantage of. You don’t realize how much you miss if you never placed that much importance on it. Over the past year, I had plenty of time to contemplate that. I plan to say “yes” more, try new things, go out of my comfort zone and take a few chances. After a year with no quality of life, I’m sure going to stock up on quantity.