I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to think about the Covid vaccine let alone actually get it for myself. I have access to the internet and therefore I know things.
I have no idea actually what I thought I knew. I was scared though.
Had it been tested? Was it safe? Was it a conspiracy? Would I come with horrific side effects? My questions had a million answers but what was true and what was fiction?
I put my head in the sand and dug in my heels. There was no way I was going to be first in line for this thing. That’s what I told self. That’s what I told my boss, my wife, the dogs. I said it to anyone who brought it up and then I would repeat it under my breath for awhile afterwards.
People around me started to get their vaccines. I kept waiting for the extra eye or the arm to fall off or some catastrophic event. Surely something was going to happen. There was a reason for my fear and I was actively seeking that reason.
Then one fateful day I referred my darling spouse to a local job. A good admin position with the state. She was happy. I was happy. We were all happy she found something that would give her related experience to her education.
Little did I know what I had actually done is get her into a role for vaccination clinics. You know where I’m going with this. It’s basically the premise to a horror movie where the dumb one invites the monster into the house.
I had just invited the monster in. Suddenly the pressure was on. She got her vaccine right away. Protocol and all for the job. I watched closely. Was she going to get super sick? Pain? Would she grow a tail?
When a week passed and all was normal after her 1st dose I let my guard down. I know, that was a stupid move on my part. It had only been a week. But I was worn down, worn out, and it was the end of the day. I was practically delirious.
I got the call that there were extra doses. That they would have to toss them if there were no volunteers to accept the vaccine.
My weakness. I hate waste.
I drove the 30 minutes with every cell in my body freaking out. While I navigated the drive willingly, I was still terrified.
I considered my options, I could keep driving on past and go straight home.
I could pull in to the parking lot and fake an illness. I could walk in and then bolt when they came at me.
Worst case scenario, I see the needle and pass out unexpectedly.
I’m pretty sure the scary movie sound track followed me to the clinic site. My heart was pounding. I had almost convinced myself that I could just pretend to be lost and go back to my car.
Before I knew it I was at the doors. No turning back now.
I walked in, wide eyed and nervous.
I sat as instructed and uncovered my upper arm. I didn’t say much, I really wasn’t warm to the idea of chit chat. Everyone was wearing a mask so the unknown fear was even worse. Cue the louder background noises and dim the lights. This is the part of the show where the woman gets probed by aliens. Or stabbed in the shower.
I felt the cool alcohol wipe swipe the selected area of my arm and I think I heard someone mumble about possibly feeling a pinch. Honestly they could have done anything to me, I was frozen solid in the chair. I didn’t dare so much as shift my weight or my legs were going to carry me right out of there.
They say white men can’t jump but I guarantee this white woman can hop a table and bolt if she sees a needle coming at her.
Or she can make a mockery trying.
Instead, I just stared straight ahead. Stayed still and silent.
It was done. Bandage slapped on the little red dot and off I went to wait my 15 minutes in vaccine jail.
I didn’t know what to expect but I didn’t feel much right away. I drove home and an hour later started to feel a dull ache and stiffness starting under the bandaged area.
It didn’t take long before the body aches and pains took over. Then the exhaustion.
If only that were all.
I was cold, but not feverish. I was running to the bathroom but more like Frankenstein running.
Imagine it. Stiff from scap to toenail. Holding the one arm and dragging a leg while wrapped in a blanket and moaning loudly. It was not pretty.
I thought long and hard about getting that 2nd dose. Should I or shouldn’t I? I was informally polling every single person I came I to contact with.
Have you had your Covid shot?
1 or 2?
Did you almost die?
How bad? How long?
I’m pretty sure people lie. There is no way you only had a rash on your arm, Karen. I nearly shit myself unable to get out from under my blankets due to the pain and you simply had a rash?
Regardless of the fear I strolled in like a viking for round 2. The final show down between me and this vaccine. This time I was going to win. Well, I crossed my fingers and hoped I would win.
It didn’t start off well. Maybe because this time it felt like the person giving the vaccine used a hammer to get it into my arm. That was awkward.
I got my trusty bandage and made my way to the 15 minute holding area. This time one of the clinic workers was exceptionally chatty. She made the mistake of asking me how it went.
I stared at her with wide eyes over my mask and told her it hurt. Really bad.
She wasn’t swayed a but from the chirpy, one sided conversation. I was counting down the time before side effects would kick in and I wasn’t in the mood for any nonsense. Unless she could tell me if I was going to feel the need to write out my final wishes there was nothing I cared to hear.
Once I was home I swallowed some Advil and hoped for the best.
Before the night was over I was wrapped burrito style in a blanket and passed out like a drunken college kid on the sofa.
I woke up in exceptional pain.
My head, my body, my arm especially. I could barely get up. I had been asleep for 13 hours and my bladder was very, very full. It was imperative that I did move but it wasn’t easy.
Turns out I was running a low grade fever. I did some work from home and kept the day low key. No other symptoms presented except being overall sore and exhausted. I slept another 13 hours that night.
Day 2 post final vaccine and I was feeling much better, a little tenderness at the injection site but way more human. Maybe even super human.
If you are wondering if you should get your vaccine, do it. The minor irritation for a couple days is far less terrifying than contracting actual Covid.
Do it for your parents, your grandparents, the elderly greeter at the grocery store. Mostly, do it for the sake of not having to wear a damn mask everywhere.