I finally got vaccinated. After one and a half years of wearing masks, worrying constantly, and washing hands, I am now fully vaccinated. When the FDC first announced that they had approved a vaccine for the Coronavirus in January, I met this announcement with much skepticism, fear, and dread. I feared getting that shot in my arm almost as much as the possibility of getting the ventilator at the hospital after being diagnosed with covid-19. I was standing between two sides of fear, not sure which way to go. Eventually, I decided to get vaccinated. This is my Covid-19 vaccination story — and what happened next.
My Covid-19 Vaccination Story, part I
Making the decision to do it
Initially, I was terrified to get the covid-19 vaccination. Like the flu shot, or any kind of treatment that involves the needle piercing the skin, I wanted to avoid getting it if I could help it. If the vaccination had been a pill instead, then I would have gladly taken it — and much sooner at that. After all, a pill that you can take orally is painless, quick and easy compared to that sharp needle in the arm. Furthermore, I could have taken that pill with a nice cool cup of OJ or my favorite brand of flavored sparkling water (Ice, of course). It would have been a more pleasant experience, but since there is currently no covid-19 vaccination pill, that is a moot point.
To be honest, what really got over my fear of getting the Covid-19 shot was the imminent death of a family member. Because of Covid, I haven’t seen her for a year and a half. And because of her fragile condition, I wasn’t able to see her unless I was fully vaccinated. So, wanting to help her more, I decided to get vaccinated. My fear of losing her without helping her outweighed my fear of the vaccine.
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Once I made the decision to get the vaccine, it was as if all of the weight and worry were lifted off my shoulders, and miraculously my fear left me. What replaced the fear was excitement. I was excited to see how it would affect me and I was excited to document the process. I was still dreading that needle in my arm, but it was with a rather morbid interest, much like how some people are fascinated by blood and gore.
That ill-fated first day
On the day of, I didn’t make an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Instead, I made a spur of the moment decision and pointed my car in the direction of the nearest Publix. I walked right in. Once in, I had to brazenly go through a crowd of people waiting in line to pay for their groceries. On the other side of this crowd was the pharmacy, which at this point looked like a beacon of both light and darkness, a determiner of what happens next.
Well, that first I showed up without an appointment. And then I was turned away. I was told that they weren’t giving vaccines out on that particular day. Both disappointed and relieved, I turned away and left.
The next day
The next day, I came back, with my son in tow, to once again request the vaccination. I was hoping that the second time would be the charm, because I couldn’t face another rejection. As luck would have it, they were doing vaccines on that day.
Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of people getting the Covid-19 vaccine on that particular day. There was just one elderly couple getting the vaccine. I suppose that many of them had gotten the vaccine at the first opportunity. So, by waiting to get the vaccine, I didn’t have to wait too long to get that first jab.
While waiting, I had to fill out two forms of paperwork. It was just a consent form, asking me if I had been sick with any flu-like symptoms or was pregnant or breastfeeding. I had to sign to give my consent to receive the vaccine. With fascination, I signed and gave my consent. Doing so felt like a contract, a promise that I had to fulfill. It was certainly a responsibility that continued to weigh heavily upon me.
I’m not sure how long I waited to get the first jab. But it certainly felt long enough. I think it was more than ten minutes but probably not more than twenty. I wiled away the time by keeping my 1 year old son entertained. He didn’t want to sit in the Publix buggy (don’t you just love that word?) so I kept him on my lap some, and then I let him push the shopping cart around while I kept a firm hold so that he wouldn’t knock things over.
Getting the first shot
Soon, much too soon, they called my name. I picked up my son and then together we took those steps up to the counter, where people normally go to pay for their prescriptions. They had me sign on the electronic keypad to once again give consent. (By the way, can anyone sign their name correctly on those keypads?). Once that was done, I was directed into a room in the back. This room was so small with counters that lined one side. On the other side were windows but the shades were drawn so people could not see in. There were two chairs in the room: one was a rolling backless chair that could spin, and another was a black plastic chair. To be honest, it felt like an execution room.
So, I sat in the black colored chair holding my son close to me. The pharmacist came into the room shortly after and took his position in the rolling backless chair. As I always do whenever I get a shot, I looked away with my eyes clenched tight, pretending it wasn’t happening in order to minimize the pain as best as I could. And then, just as I thought that, it was over. The needle was being drawn away from my arm and a band aid was covering the punctured area.
After getting the first shot
Relieved, I stood up, but was disappointed to learn that I had to sit just outside at one of the tables for twenty minutes in observation. The pharmacist explained that this was protocol in order to watch for any immediate side effects that might arise from the administration of the vaccine. Resigned, I sat at one of the two tables just outside, feeling like an exhibit at the zoo. I could feel people’s eyes on me. I might as well have had a sign on my forehead saying Not fully vaccinated. Danger. Keep away.
Afterwards, I was relieved to find out that I didn’t experience any side effects from this first shot. Other than some soreness in my left arm where they had stuck the needle, which I had quickly remedied with an over the counter ibuprofen, I was fine. I assumed that I would be fine when I got the second shot a month later. But I found out that I was wrong.
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