Guess who’s double vaxxed

My original appointment date for my second vaccine was August 31. I was disappointed in how far away it was, but it was still closer than that of many other people I knew, so it was fine.

Luckily, my area recently allowed people to accelerate second vaccine appointments, and I was able to rebook my appointment for July 1. That’s a full two months earlier! It was the same location as the first vaccine, so I knew what to expect and was all set.

On the afternoon of July 1, I put on a cute top and my favourite pants–because I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to wear nice clothes in the past year–and was driven to the centre to get my second vaccine shot. It was very efficient. I felt like I flew threw the line. My first shot was Pfizer but the second was Moderna, and they asked me at every checkpoint if I was okay with this. I said I was. I had a nice chat with the nurse who did my shot while I got it done, waited the mandatory 15 minutes, got my sticker and receipt, posted some excited pictures to instagram, and headed home fully vaccinated.

My arm was pretty sore already, but I was mostly fine. I had no side effects after the first shot other than a day of a sore arm, so I didn’t anticipate any this time around. I thought I would just have to sleep on my right side for a night and otherwise it would be fine.

This was not the case.

About 2 am, my arm was so sore that I couldn’t sleep. I took some tylenol, brought up a bottle of water, and went back to bed. When I woke up properly several hours later, I had a massive headache and was shivering. It wasn’t a particularly chilly day, and I was under my duvet, but I was shivering. I went downstairs and had some water and some milk, already feeling a bit nauseous. I was still shivering, so I put on warmer clothes, dragged another blanket onto my bed, and then did the obvious: I texted my mom. She told me to check if I had a fever and to take another Tylenol and try and sleep. My temperature was 38.1, which is basically on the cusp of what’s considered a fever, so I decided to indeed take the tylenol.

Two minutes after I swallowed it, I was running to the bathroom where I threw up twice. Never a fun experience. Brushed my teeth, decided I was not going to risk trying to swallow another pill, and proceeded to bury myself under my blankets in the dark and try to nap.

After a while I dragged myself downstairs to continue drinking water and I managed to keep down a piece of bread, although still nauseous. I wrapped myself up in blankets on the couch and decided to watch some TV, needing a change of scenery from my bedroom. I watched one episode of the Netflix show Sweet Tooth, which I’m watching right now. I decided I needed something that required less focus once that was finished, so I watched two episodes of Bones on TV, a series that I’ve already seen in its entirety. For some reason I find watching a show about murder and forensic anthropology very relaxing.

The rest of the day was taken up by finally taking a tylenol, watching some youtube, napping further, and managing to keep down two oatmeal cookies. By the end of the day I still wasn’t feeling great, but it was an improvement compared to that morning. I had more energy, was no longer feverish, and could get to sleep soundly.

I felt much better this morning, although I still had a headache upon waking up. I suspect that was mostly to do with me not having eaten much yesterday (my body: “we need food to run!!” me: “well I gave some to you and you THREW IT OUT”). I had a small lunch and felt fine. I’m not shivering or feverish anymore, and my body feels a lot less sore overall.

Yes, I got the vaccine and felt sick and miserable the day afterwards. But it was ONE DAY of feeling sick and miserable. That’s nothing compared to what I could experience if I got COVID-19, or what a member of my family could experience if I got COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is important, it’s necessary, and it is absolutely worth a day of being sick in bed.

I don’t have any set plans for when the two weeks are up and I am considered fully vaccinated. My hair is ridiculously long right now, so I’ll be scheduling a trim. I’ll be waiting anxiously until movie theatres open here–I cannot express how excited I will be to watch a movie in theatres again. I want to see my friends, I’m already plotting out plans with one of them. I also desperately want to travel, but I’m not sure where and I’m not sure when I will feel 100% comfortable doing so. All I know is this feels like a step forward, and I’m so happy we are finally, slowly, getting there.

A first…

I got a COVID-19 test for the first time today.

That’s right, April 2021, people my age are already getting vaccinated in many parts of the US, and meanwhile I’m getting my first COVID test.

I’m not sick and I’m not showing any symptoms, but I’ve been to a lot of doctors visits in the past few weeks, and I live in a hotspot, and I got a bit paranoid. So I made an appointment at the nearest testing centre and headed in today. It was very efficient, you can tell they’ve got it down to a science at this point.

I have no idea how people on movie sets or other jobs with frequent testing do that every single day. I felt like I could feel that swab in my brain. I was STILL feeling it when I got home. I can’t imagine doing that frequently, or even administering a test myself, the way I have seen some people do.

I think the test will most likely come back negative, I’ve been as safe as I possibly can be right now. But I don’t regret doing it. It was free and quick and even though I felt like an Egyptian mummy getting my brain pulled out through my nose, I would rather be safe than sorry.

I can’t wait until I finally get a vaccine. I can’t wait until enough of the country is vaccinated that we are all worrying much less. I can’t wait until cases go down, hopefully before that time. I can’t wait until I leave the house to do something other than doctor’s visits or COVID tests. I feel lucky that these tests even exist and are free, I feel lucky that so many people have worked so hard to create vaccines that I will be able to get within the next few months.

I think I’ll probably still wear my mask on public transit for a while, especially while crowded. Ironically enough, 2020 was the first year of my entire life that I didn’t have some sort of respiratory illness, and I’m hoping to keep that streak going, at least for a little while longer. But it will be nice when masks are less of a necessity everywhere you go.

I’ll have something more interesting to talk about next time, but today, I just wanted to commemorate this occasion. May it be the first and also the last.

One Year

A year ago today, me and one of my close friends went to the Royal Ontario Museum to check out some of the new special exhibits. It was a pretty busy day with lots of people, and we bought tickets to both the special exhibits and took our time going through, even with the crowds. After the museum we headed to eat at a place neither of us had been to yet. We shared pizza and dessert, and vowed to check out the build your own cannoli stand next time we came. We chatted about how work was going and future plans and movies coming out. We hugged goodbye after dinner and headed to our respective homes.

Ten days later, a state of emergency was declared in Toronto due to COVID-19.

Since then, I have yet to return to one of my jobs. The other was on and off during 2020, and then mostly off, so I applied to another one. I haven’t seen the friend I went with in person since our museum trip because she moved to another city with her fiance this summer. I sent her a reminder that it had been a year today, and we texted about how much things had changed and wondered about when we will get to see each other in person again.

This is not the conversation I expected us to be having at this time when we were hugging goodbye a year ago. Even if she had still moved, which I knew she had been thinking about, I would have visited already. We would have been talking about events we had attended together, new work achievements, new gossip. Hopefully a year from now, that’s the conversation we will be having.

It’s been weird spending a year in a global pandemic. I know everyone’s experience has been different. I’ve been very lucky in a lot of ways, since I haven’t been sick myself and no one in my immediate family or friend group has been sick or passed away. I haven’t had to worry about paying for rent. I don’t live alone. I haven’t seen a lot of people, but I have seen one or two friends in person, and most of my immediate family.

It’s been weird because it feels like so much has changed, but also nothing has changed at all. I have written before about how I have felt kind of stuck and I know I am not the only one. It’s hard to make plans for After Pandemic when nothing can move forward but ALSO when you don’t know how things will be done differently. It both gives me time to think about what I went to do next with my life, and frustration because I don’t know how to accomplish what I want in this environment or when I can or should start doing things. It’s a very strange feeling.

I want 2021 to be better than 2020. Obviously, some of that is out of my control. I can’t control government rules or when the vaccines get delivered to me. But I just want to say, by the end of the year, by a year from now, that I’m going where I want to be going. That I got to see my more of my friends in person. That it was still a strange year, but a better strange year.

So here’s to one year, and here’s to 2021.