In the previous episode, I elaborated in much detail about my experience getting the first Covid shot. In this article, I am going to continue that story. Before we delve into what happened during and after getting the second shot, click the link here to read part one of my Covid vaccination story.
My Covid-19 Vaccination Story, part II
Between a rock and a hard place
After I got that first Covid shot, I had to wait twenty-eight days. During this seemingly interminable wait, I felt as if I was between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, I felt as if I had my foot in both worlds. You could say that I was half vaccinated. I wasn’t exactly unvaccinated since I had gotten the first shot, but I wasn’t fully vaccinated either. Similar to how I felt nearly my entire life as a biracial person, I was once again stuck in between two extremes.
For twenty-eight days, this was how I felt. When going out in public, I wore a mask and tried to keep some distance between me and the next person in line. I noticed that there were more and more people who were not wearing masks, and I assumed it was because they were fully vaccinated. Part of me longed to join this elite group, one which you could only join if you had two dates on your Covid vaccination card. But the other part of me knew that I would still keep wearing my mask. I would keep wearing my mask just to be safe, and because I kind of liked wearing one.
You might also like: Why I Actually Like To Wear A Mask
But then as the weeks dragged on, I saw the numbers of Covid cases increasing. Specifically, I saw the Delta variant make its rounds all across the country and the world, forcing many back into lockdown into the safety of their own homes. I consumed articles about vaccinated people still carrying the virus, such as this one here. And I wondered if getting vaccinated was pointless if it didn’t offer the bulletproof protection that I was seeking.
Getting the second Covid shot on an “unlucky” day
Despite my fears, soon the twenty-eight days came to an end. On day twenty-nine, I went back to my local Publix to get that second Covid shot. Last time, I was almost giddy with excitement. This time, I just wanted to get it over with. I had waited long enough after all. So, I got the second Covid shot on the morning of the 13th of August, which was a Friday.
Getting the second Covid shot on a Friday the 13th was absolutely perfect. I have always have had fairly good luck on Friday the 13th. I suppose the only bad spot about that day was that it rained that morning. But rain isn’t necessarily bad. Rain helps plants grow, moisturizes the Earth, and even helps to relieve stress. So, the fact that that day started off with rain was actually very good because it put me in a better mindset to finally get this last and final shot.
Thankfully though, the rain didn’t last long. It rained for a few hours, with rolling thunder and water falling heavily, making the ground tremble as it soaked up all that moisture. Soon, the rain stopped and you could smell the petrichor and see the water clinging to the leaves on the branches. When the rain did finally stop, I went to the nearest Publix to get the final Covid shot, once again with my 1 year old baby boy.
At the Publix
As soon as the automatic doors closed behind me, I walked straight up to the pharmacy counter and asked to get the second Covid shot. But alas! — they informed that I had to wait about twenty minutes before I could get it. I bit back my disappointment and decided to do a little shopping, walking up and down the aisle looking for the BOGOs — which are really the only things worth buying at Publix.
Thankfully, the twenty minutes passed pretty quickly while I meandered through the aisles. I made my way back to the pharmacy. This time, I didn’t even have to ask. They just called my name, had me once again fill out the immunization consent form, and then once again I had to wait. Unlike last time however, the wait before getting the shot lasted just a few minutes.
The pharmacist called my name once again and I was directed back to that oh so familiar room. Sitting down in that very same black chair, I was again reminded of being in an execution room. Once again, I had my son on my lap. The pharmacist came in, explained that I may experience some flu-like symptoms for the next day or so, and then proceeded to administer the shot. Again, I looked away, my eyes clenched tight, and then it was over.
I was now vaccinated.
(I hesitate to say that I was fully vaccinated. Even though I had gotten the required two shots of the vaccine, I wasn’t fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, an individual isn’t fully vaccinated until two weeks after getting the second dose of the vaccine.)
What happened after
After getting that second dose, I felt that oh so familiar soreness in my left arm. It hurt when I tried to move my arm back and forth like a pendulum. Last time, it helped when I took an over-the-counter ibuprofen. But the soreness didn’t seem to abate this time around to my shocking disappointment. But thinking that it would go away by the next day, I shrugged it off, only to be proven wrong immediately.
The next day, on the 14th of August, I woke up extremely early. I felt cold. I was shivering and had chills. Even when I turned off the A/C, I was still cold. I ended up getting back into bad with the blanket around me, trying to get warm. Hoping that this was just temporary, I drifted back to sleep. When I woke up the following morning, I felt terrible. I was still cold, tired, and had a headache in my left temple that just wouldn’t go away. I also felt weak but had no appetite. So, I ended up taking brief naps every few hours or so. The naps seemed to help, but they weren’t enough to completely vanquish this ever persistent sick feeling.
That day was definitely the worst and seemed to drag on forever. Until about 5:00 on that day, when I started to feel like my old self. I no longer felt tired, no longer had a headache, and no longer wanted to take a nap. Instead, I had gotten my appetite back and had a craving for kimchijeon. And then, by 5 o’clock, I started to feel better. It was strange and miraculous, almost as if I was only supposed to feel sick up until a certain point and then it was gone as quick as it arrived.
What happens now
As I write this today, I realize that it’s been exactly seven days since I got the second Covid shot. Despite the expected side effects that I experienced, the rest of the week went by without a hitch. I spent much of the week working on blog articles for this blog. I also saw my 5 year old daughter off to Kindergarten, a moment that is fused with much joy and happiness and minute traces of sadness and desolation.
And then after another week, I will be fully vaccinated at last.