The Reaction (Day 82)

I did indeed mind over my vaccination reaction anxiety--I was really in a great mental place last night. 

However, I did not mind over the actual reaction, which hit me like a freight train late last night. 

Let me tell you: it continues to be no joke. It is as if my immune system took the vaccine as a personal insult against its abilities and decided to show off all its tricks: chills and uncontrollable shivering, drenching sweats, spiking fevers, body aches everywhere and vertigo, which makes even laying down feel like I am rocking in rough seas below deck.  

And, not to be forgotten, my left arm is so sore that moving it makes me involuntarily scream. I now refer to it as my "Rona Arm." 

I've decided to take this reaction as a positive: I must have a robust, young-at-heart immune system. 

My husband asked me if I was still going to do my Abs class (Absolutely! Even if I fall asleep or vomit partway through). Nicholas asked me if I was going to take a day off from writing here. 

Obviously, not! 

I had to take the day off from everything--I could barely stay awake long enough to cancel meetings. Mike had to drive the kids everywhere and reportedly burned through a tank of gas. I desperately need to shower but I fear I'll get dizzy and fall. I'll fallen asleep while writing this several times. 

And I think I've forgotten what it was like to be sick. It's been 1 year and 3 months since I last had any sickness, thanks to our lockdown. I don't even remember how I ever rallied through anything. 

Everyone tells me: you just have to get through 24-72 hours and you'll be fine. I tried not to take Tylenol (my opinion is one should let the immune system do its thing without suppression, to minimize the duration of whatever it is doing) but eventually gave in because my arm just hurt so darn much. 

I want to remind everyone that the science and the data points to second dose reactions not being the rule and I know plenty of people who had no reaction. Plus, this reaction, while absolutely horrendous, is harmless. So, don't use my story to deter you from bravely getting your shot. I still believe in vaccination and while I might require anti-anxiety meds to get any future boosters, I'll still do it because of what my friend Jackie reminded me: 

She'd rather me in bed with a fever than in bed on a ventilator. 

These are the strangest of times, aren't they?

We are trying to get appointments for a two-part vaccine which comes with the anxiety of a reaction. We are all masked--at least here in the Northeast. We are all filling out Covid-19 wellness checks for everything--sometimes up to 10 a day in this busy household. My kids have their temperature taken more times in a day than they did in a year prior to 2020. And while we do all these new, bizarre global pandemic things, we are also doing normal things: sports, dance, work, school. 

It was hard for me to take a day off today and only made possible by the fact that it felt physically impossible to move and my vanity would not allow me to show up to a video call looking like I was just plucked from a grave. It is a normal thing to do in 2021--call out sick for a vaccine reaction--but still completely strange. 

I think the strangeness of living normally in the abnormal is something I'll struggle with for a long time. I haven't quite accepted that we can do normal things because I don't fully know that we can. 

So, I'll leave it with that, friends. Here's hoping I am closer to the 24 hours than the 72 hours and it's like everyone says it is and I am suddenly back to my normal (ish) self tomorrow or the next day or whatever my immune system is finished with its show.