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June 14, 2021

Window on the World Column | The Marvel of a Vaccine

It was 2020 and, like a champ, I had the flu and the pneumonia vaccination in one foul swoop. It was recommended for us folks of a certain age. We weathered mild side effects from both shots, and I didn’t get either virus. Result… Back in the early days of Covid, we foolishly thought those shots might help us to fight the mega beast, the virus of the moment, the C-virus. And then we didn’t.

Move stage forward to 2021 and the miracle cure for Corona that was allegedly going to show up in breakfast cereal or the love of dogs has still not yet appeared. We are mostly in the vaccination zone. Some are waiting to see and not getting the shot yet. (I’m curious as to what exactly they are waiting for. Maybe to see if the vaccination kills mankind before Covid-19 does; I’m not entirely sure.) A lot of us — and I put myself and my husband in that category — started signing up on every website and vacc list possible to get in line for whichever shot we could get in the arm first. We were very afraid of getting the virus. No such fear of the shot.

My husband has pre-existing medical conditions; and I’m not making that up. We asked his primary physician and his cardiologist/lung specialist whether they could give him the shot early in the process. They did not have the ability to do that. They told him to get in line with the rest of the world. Those were not comforting days.

So, we watched, and we waited. We signed up where we could with state and local websites, pharmacy chains and more. We waited some more. Fortunately, our daughter, who works in medical, was able to secure both Moderna shots in a blink of an eye and with no side effects. She took them entirely in her stride. My dad appreciated the Astrozenica and commented that he felt young people should be in line before him, because he’d had his life. Nice of him, but that’s not how it works.

My husband was stressing. He knew that, with his lungs compromised in the way they are, a dose of Covid would finish him off at the ripe old age of 61. I was willing to pay good money to get him vaccinated. I didn’t want to lose my husband so young and that was a real threat.

And then it was a damp, dark Sunday and we got a call telling us we could just simply sign up at a local pharmacy. Oh! It was our turn? Worth a try. We scuttled down there to sign up. Putting pen to paper felt like progress at least. We were physically enrolling. All our website efforts had brought no Covid forward motion to our household at this point. So, this small effort couldn’t hurt.

Later that day we got a call that we were in line for the shot, both of us! Hallelujah. We could scarcely believe it and certainly couldn’t get down to the pharmacy fast enough. I’ve never been so excited to get a shot in my life. It was no biggie and soon we were home with one stamp in our vaccination passport. One more of those and a couple of weeks after that I will be ready for the next stage of life! I could almost smell the jet fuel in my future.

The next day and I felt nauseous, queasy, tired. I went to work and then meekly limped my way home again and to bed. I felt horrible. My husband the same. I had a headache down one side of my face, nausea, jaw ache and enormous exhaustion. Husband felt similar. My friend who had the shot the same day had a sore arm. They are not kidding when they said that people all react differently. My daughter had the same Moderna vaccine and didn’t blink an eye.

The next day and we were both still living in Oddsville. “Maybe we have a bug?” he remarked casually as we crawled like old people around the house. He felt alarmingly dizzy. I tried to work but was still off my game. Maybe we did have a bug? “Don’t be silly,” my friend noted. “You both had the shot for the Coronavirus. This is a big deal, and your immune systems are responding appropriately.” Ah, yes. There was that.

It took us four to five days to feel like ourselves again and we were still happily sprouting to anyone who would listen that we had received the vaccination and we were joyous about it! “Can’t wait until I am fully vaccinated!” I would tell any audience out there. I also shared our experiences of the aftereffects, not to be a maudlin drama queen, but because I think it is interesting to share these snippets of information for those out there that might not be wanting to be doing a mega presentation the day after the Corona shot. I, for my part, will be better prepared for the next one and take at least the day after the shot away from life, lest I feel anything like I did the first time.

We are crawling back to life, the world over. Most of my friends in Europe have had or are having the vaccination. Though we will likely be masked and socially distanced for a while, the universe as we know it will be opening up again, the more people who are vaccinated. And this is a good thing. Don’t make it into a political hot potato that it never should have been in the first place. Vaccines equal freedom and we all love that!

My girlfriend in England is looking at winter flights to come and see me and I’m wondering when it might be possible to get to see my family in the British Isles again. I’m not booking anything; I’m just thinking about it and those thoughts make me happy.

A year on from the strangest year in the history of, we are emerging from our holes like winterized moles craving the light of spring. We certainly need to be prepared and cautious; but like spring, life is budding in her inimitable way and opening her precious petals toward the sun. I’m so happy this marvelous vaccine has found its way into so many arms and the human race is on its way to being able to enjoy the world again. Did I mention I could almost smell the jet fuel?

Lucy Jensen
Soledad Columnist

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