145. Second Time Around

Wednesday April 28 2021

As I pass by the certificate on the wall, I take note of the name. Turns out the the guy waiting for me in the clinic office is head of the pharmacy. Does that mean he’s a pharmacist by trade or maybe just someone with leaderships skills put in charge of those who handle controlled substances.

I suppose it doesn’t matter, does it? He’s the guy holding the needle brimming with my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. I don’t need to know his major at college for this slightly invasive procedure.

I take of my jacket and start rolling up my sleeve. Left arm again, because I need my right hand more if something were to go wrong here.

“Did you have any reaction to the first shot?” asks the pharmacy manager guy. Gads, he’s even wearing a white lab coat. Do they have to wear those?

“Yeah, I did,” I tell him about the fever and chills and muscle aches and fatigue and lost day of work, but skipped the part where I cried in the shower because, I could tell, he was losing interest in my woe.

“That happens to some people,” he says. “You might get the same reaction to this shot; we just don’t know yet how it affects everyone.”

“Um, that sounds a little experimental, don’t you think,” I say. I give him a weak smile and look for reassurance. I’ve read that there are five million people who are past due for their second shot. I’m wondering if I should join them.

But not finishing this two-part series comes with its own problems, the biggest being that you don’t build the immunity you need to fight off not only COVID-19, but the second dose can also reduce the effects if exposed to coronavirus variants.

“Well, I did get to binge Schitt’s Creek after the first shot,” I say. “Maybe I can finish Season Five now.”

“The wife and I started watching that,” he says. “But it’s hard to make the time for it.”

“Sounds like you need another COVID shot,” I say.

He doesn’t laugh at my joke. You know, maybe he doesn’t deserve Schitt’s Creek.

I go into work afterwards and get through the day feeling just fine. So, I guess my immune system is good and doesn’t feel the call to battle this time.

Rode that wave until evening, when the muscle aches start creeping in. I take some acetaminophen and go to bed early. The next morning, I gauge my situation as only about a five on the Feeling Crappy Scale. I can push through this, I think, and I make it through a shower without breaking into sobs, so there’s that criteria to consider.

At the office, I’m asked if I’m okay. I’m not contagious, I tell them. Just a reaction to the vaccination. I look terrible, they say. Well, I’m not wearing makeup today, so…

They tell me to go home and feel better. I do. Go home, that is.

I don’t even have the energy to take in Season Five of Schitt’s Creek. I tell the dogs to just let me sleep for a while and, bless their furry hearts, they all curl up with me and ask for nothing for a couple of hours.

After the first shot, it took a day of feeling miserable before returning to my normal self. This time, recovery was a little longer, but the effects were milder.

Still.

I feel good about finishing the vaccination and have no regrets about my decision. In two weeks my immune system will be military-grade strong. This is a plus for not only me, but everyone I encounter who is immune-suppressed. You know, even if I knew ahead of time how my body would react, I would still do this thing. But I’d schedule the shots on a Friday so not to use up my sick days at work.

Something I’ll remember when it’s time for the booster shot this fall. Fingers crossed the next one goes well, because I’ll finish Schitt’s Creek long before then.

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