I remember some long waits in my childhood: the one for Christmas, the one for summer vacation. Even some when I was older. Nothing, though, will surpass the wait for the second vaccination.
It’s amazing to me how time slows down when something big is coming. Ever since I got my first Covid shot back in March, it seemed like April 23 would never get here.
That first shot went well, with a minimum of bother and almost no pain or side effects. I considered myself lucky. And then, as the long wait began, I began to hear things.
Some people fared worse after the second vaccination. Some didn’t. You heard of people getting the virus after the first shot, but before the second. And a few were getting the virus after both shots.
Added to this were reports of new strains of the virus, from South Africa and other countries, that have made their way to the U.S. This might lead to more shots in our future.
All of this was buzzing in my mind last Thursday, and I found it hard to fall asleep that night.
Friday morning I was a bundle of nerves. Thankfully I had work to take my mind off things. My appointment was for 12:50 p.m., after which I’d take the afternoon off. Possible side effects, you know.
The drive to the old Sears at the mall felt weird. Walking in, I noticed a different atmosphere than the one back in March. It was a lot emptier, for one thing. I checked in as before, and answered eight questions related to the virus. All of the answers needed to be ‘no’. Then I got into a short line with just a handful of people, and struck up a conversation with an older gentlemen in front of me.
We talked about the mall, what might happen to it (it was 90 percent empty) and what might replace Sears. A new anchor store would be the best outcome, I said, but we both agreed that anything could happen. The old Circuit City, at the mall’s other end, was now a trampoline place. No one could have imagined this back in 1990, the year the mall opened.
Then we got separated, and I was led to Station number 4. And it was nothing like my March experience. Instead of the brisk, professional nurse of my prior visit, I got a middle aged man with white haired crewcut. On his shirt was the insignia of the Concord Fire Department. Paramedic, I guessed.
His manner was strange. He tried to project authority but also seemed unsure of himself, walking around me as if I might explode at any second. His nervousness made me nervous. And the way he spoke rattled me, just like a cop might at a traffic stop. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
Sitting there, with two other stern volunteers nearby, I felt as if I were in a police station. Then the fireman asked me to roll up my sleeve. No problem. I expected to feel a jab, but when I glanced to my left I could see him putting on gloves, and making a production out of it. A nurse or doctor would have had them on in a couple of seconds, but this guy was taking forever.
All the while, I was holding up my sleeve, waiting, waiting. He finally got around to my arm, and this time I felt nothing. No pain, no sensation. As in March, I had the feeling, “Did this actually happen?”
We were finished. As I was leaving, he handed me my white card and a round Lindt truffle. Sort of a good luck token. I sat in the waiting area for ten minutes and exited. The whole visit was 25 minutes, much quicker than before.
So now I’m home, around eight hours after getting fully vaxxed. No effects so far. A couple of cat naps, but I take those anyway. I don’t feel the heavy fatigue I’ve been hearing about.
I hear there’s a two week period after the second shot where you’re in another kind of in limbo. What else is new? Two more weeks I can do.
After that I can exhale – maybe. As more of us, including kids, get the shots, we can all start to exhale. And get out there to do the things we used to; knock on wood.