The first shot

I posted the day of, but here’s the follow up.

The appointment is for the evening, so I can go after work. The info on the procedures onsite are nil. I have no idea what to expect.

I find that far more stressful than the idea of the shot itself.

Your mileage may vary.

But the pest control company had sent a rep for my quarterly service – and he got his first shot just before he came to me. So he could tell me what to expect.

That helped. But still….

The fairgrounds are sprawling and there are multiple buildings. He said to follow the “crowds” but by the time I go it’s hard to tell, from where I’m parked, whether the people I can see – hardly a crowd – are coming toward the nearest building or returning to their cars from one of the others.

I logic it out though, and head to the far buildings.

I have a moment, as I walk through security checkpoints toward the checkin, where the oddness of this masked, pandemic-laden existence is striking, almost breathtaking.

Or maybe it’s being out in the world that’s odd.

I almost actually laugh at this strange world. Not that it’s ha-ha funny. It’s just so bizarre. The surreal feeling I could not shake at the beginning of lockdown is back suddenly and with a vengeance.

These are actually the times we live in. I mean, how crazy is this?

Then I’m in the building, keeping to the marks on the floor that keep us spaced. Inside there really is a crowd. And it doesn’t feel safe, even double masked, to be even in this giant warehouse of a building with all these people. This can’t be safe.

I wish it was a drive-through arrangement. I would feel less exposed. But they have taken all the precautions they can. And it’s the process here, and I want this shot. I want it a lot.

There’s a lot of standing, waiting turns to be checked in, through wide and socially distanced bank lines toward vaccinating teams. I’m aware of all the people. I’m pacing as I wait, burning excess energy, getting my steps for the day. As long as I can’t go anywhere anyway, I might as well make progress on that.

Finally my turn.

It’s quick. I don’t watch. I am not especially afraid of shots (though if you are that is okay – it’s a visceral self-protective fear response that many people have – but even without fear, I don’t like to watch myself get stuck.

(My dad says he had to watch the second time, to make sure they were really giving it, because he never felt it at all either time.)

But the vaccinator is a pro and though I do feel it, it’s no more than a quick pinprick. Novocain is more painful to receive.

Then there’s the waiting. I’m not at any special risk so they only have me sit for 15 minutes to make sure I don’t have any unexpected reactions. If I were at higher risk they’d watch me for 30. I spend 10 of it scheduling my next appointment and registering with the tracking app to provide regular feedback on my progress. This is how we’re continuously learning about any reactions and side effects as more people get vaccinated.

As I wait, the only side effect I feel is a sort of … well strangeness in my arm. Not pain, exactly. Just awareness. Sensitivity.

My arm feels like it was recently poked with metal and my nerves remember it.

Ha ha ha. Exactly so.

But again, it’s not like pain. It’s not even discomfort.

In 15 minutes I’m free to go, to drive home and get some water, make some dinner, finish my steps (almost done!), and pedal my distances.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds. Mom said her arm was sore the next day. Dad had a headache. Neither was debilitating. Even their second shot was barely a blip for them.

As for me… so far, so good.

I’ll let you know!

But if you get a chance – go get the vaccine. Protect yourself. And if you won’t do it to protect yourself, do it to protect the people around you, by making sure you can’t accidentally carry COVID-19 to someone else.

Stay safe out there, friends!