Better late than never, I suppose, on this one!
Well, I’m more than a month out since being fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. AND I FEEL GREAT!
For the first time in a year, since this pandemic really got into full swing, I feel confident at work; taking care of COVIDs, by now, has become old hat, but even more so, I don’t think twice about taking care of them. I’m less nervous, less anxious, and for me, that is everything.
I’ll never forget the fear, the trepidation, the anxiety, of donning all my PPE, my CAPR helmet, and heading into that first COVID room. It usually was accompanied with the thought, “well, here we go, for better or worse” and “this might be the shift I get COVID so be prepared”.
For you non-medical professionals out there, imagine having an extra stressor at your job that caused you have those thoughts every time you went to work. Imagine the angst it would place on your life, especially if your job was already stressful. Now, imagine that thing you’re extra nervous about can kill you. Envision yourself seeing others die from it, not just once, but several times. You see these people suffering, because let’s face it, it’s not a pleasant, peaceful death, but one in which they are tormented, incapable of breathing, and cannot see their families. Imagine that.
That was my 2020.
So of course, I was going to get the COVID vaccine; even if it is new technology, even if it is only 95% effective (that is a great statistic, by the way). Was I nervous a bit? OF COURSE I WAS! Who isn’t nervous about taking new medication?
But I listened to my docs–the colleagues who have been by my side this entire pandemic and prior, and you know what? The had insightful things to say. I read literature. I listened to scientists. And you know what? I got the shot. It was the best decision I could’ve made for myself.
Gentle reader, I want to put you at ease, so let me walk you through what it was like.
I received Pfizer’s vaccine, and it comes to you in two shots spaced 21 days apart. I received the first vaccine on a day I was at work. For 15 minutes post shot, I sat in a room with others to make sure I didn’t have any kind of allergic reaction. I felt very safe and secure. I experienced no symptoms, save for my deltoid being sore later that evening. It was no different than any other vaccine I’d received in my lifetime. Think flu vaccine. If you’ve never gotten the flu shot, think tetanus vaccine–sore arm, can’t really sleep on it that night but feels better the next day. No biggie! (Let’s be real, better than getting COVID. Am I right?! Yes.)
Okay so second shot. I got it exactly 21 days later, practically to the minute. Again, I was at work that day, and again, after getting the shot, I sat for 15 minutes in a room of people in case I had a reaction. I did not. I did not have any symptoms until around 3PM when my arm started to feel sore. No biggie.
By the time I got home that evening from work (12 hour shifts, in case you didn’t know) around 7:30/8:00, I was feeling fatigued. Not horribly different from the end of any regular shift, but I felt some chills as well. But by the time I’d showered and gotten into bed, I felt freezing. No fever, just extreme chills. I woke up the next day feeling shitty. I took some Tylenol and it made me feel a bit better. But generally, I felt malaise and myalgias throughout the day. This is a normal immune response.
My fever only got to 99.5 at its worst (I don’t get fevers ever, so that felt hot to me) but I know others who got into the 100 range after their second shot. Thankfully, I was able to just hang low that day, and relax. I took some Advil, and the next day…I woke up feeling normal. So, to reiterate, this is a NORMAL IMMUNE RESPONSE. My body was making antibodies–little soldiers who will go to war for me and kick the ass off that coronavirus bastard. That’s a good thing!
And that was it. 36 hours of feeling a bit crummy. And completely worth it if it means my chances of getting COVID are 5%. You know what’s even better? The Pfizer vaccine is reported to 100% keep you from being hospitalized if in that 5% chance you do contract COVID. So I am now 100% protected against COVID making me sick enough to be hospitalized. For me that is a TOTAL win. Let’s be real here, and I’ve said in this previous posts: you do NOT want to be intubated.
I know not every person is capable of being vaccinated, so don’t “at” me with “but…I have blah blah and my doctor says…” Yes. I know. Not everyone can be vaccinated. People who are immunocompromised may not qualify for this kind of vaccine. ALWAYS check with your docs first. Hell, I checked with mine before getting vaccinated, too! That’s being a responsible patient and taking responsibility for your health.
I am just giving you my experience and why I chose to get vaccinated. If anything, for the peace of mind it gave me, it was completely worth it. And I’d do it again.
So there’s my story. Take it for what you will. Agree, disagree, indifferent, you do what you want to do with your life. But know that this vaccine is the key to ending this pandemic and getting life back to “normal”–whatever the hell that is!
But really, just be safe out there, practice good hand hygiene (as always), WEAR A MASK, and if you think getting vaccinated is right for you, check with your doctor and SIGN UP!!