Sunday, April 4 was Easter. It was also the day for my second COVID shot. (I got the Pfizer.) And that was the focus of our holiday.
The setup at Kaiser Permanente was radically different this time. I walked into the part of the building I’d gone to the first time and was intercepted by a worker just as a poor fellow nearby started keeling over as someone urgently summoned nurses over the intercom system. Oh dear. Aside from the fact that I hope he was OK, it turns out I was supposed to go up to the roof, where several tents had been set up. I can be very squeamish in medical settings and around shots, and I went to the correct location and tried not to dwell on the poor man I’d just seen.
There wasn’t quite the ebullient cheer that I encountered during my first shot, but it still went pretty smoothly. And fast. Even though I was early for my appointment, it wasn’t crowded and they whipped me right through. A breeze came in through the tent walls and felt really refreshing while I was sitting out the required 15 minutes.
A doctor came over to introduce himself in case I needed to ask him for help, and my immediate impulse was to reach out for a handshake. The way his hands were tucked into his sides reminded me that handshakes are Not A Thing right now, but it’s amazing that after more than a year of barely interacting with anyone other than Bill, that impulse is still there.
Although several of the people I know personally who’ve been vaccinated breezed through their second shots, I was fully prepared to be miserable. I’d seen a lot of talk online of people spiking fevers and being uncontrollably chilled, and I was careful to have easy-to-fix-and-eat food on hand, lots of Tylenol at the ready, and an empty schedule on Monday. Bill even worked from home that day in case I needed him. I was really ready to feel terrible.
So what happened? I had a mild headache the day of the shot. My injection arm hurt and I was really fatigued on Monday. I took a long afternoon nap and was still too tired to even take a shower. I was very thankful I’d made a lasagna on Saturday night and dinner was already taken care of. I’ve been grappling with another headache on and off since the 48-to-72-hour mark, but that could be allergies as much as the shot.
But I never ran a temperature. The highest I got was 98.0, which is slightly elevated for me; I discovered in a year of daily temperature-taking that my normal body temp hovers around 97.5. I didn’t get the chills. The second dose side effects have been a real crapshoot among my friends and family; Bill breezed right through both shots, but some of my Facebook and Twitter friends have reported fevers, aches, and the shakes. And there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who gets hit with what aftereffects.
In the car on the way home, Bill said “So. Two weeks from now. Fells Point?”
It felt very weird to say “Yes.” I don’t think my brain has fully grasped the idea that in less than two weeks, we’ll be OK to start going out in the world and doing things again, albeit still masked and distanced.
Re-entry is going to take some getting used to.