One week past my second vaccination dose, one week to go until my COVID-19 immune response is full bore. Here’s how it went:
Getting the shot was a breeze. I found parking right away, not always guaranteed at Boston Medical, and there was no crowd at the clinic. A trainee was working with the nurse who administered my shot, and she engaged me in conversation, so I didn’t even realize I’d received the jab. My nurse recommended taking a photo of my CDC vaccination card and storing it in a safe place as documentation. I overheard another patient saying she planned to get hers laminated, which I thought was a good idea. Everyone was upbeat and wished me well. Very professional.
I drove home without a problem, ate some lunch and even did a little work at my computer. Then, the fatigue fog rolled in, not on “little cat feet” à la Carl Sandburg, more like a herd of elephants. I shut off my iMac, went upstairs, lay down in bed, and binge-watched Downton Abbey for much of the rest of the day. And I slept.
By Wednesday, my joints were flaring. No fever, and I was able to get a few hours of work done. But sitting at the computer became impossible by early afternoon. And my morning energy dissipated like mist. Fortunately, I had cleared my calendar in anticipation of a reaction. Back to bed and more Downton. It has been decades since I’ve spent that much time in bed watching TV because I wasn’t feeling well.
Throughout the day, family and friends kindly checked in to see how I was faring. By evening, about 30 hours after I’d received my dose, I felt the aches and fog lifting. I had done my best to keep hydrating, as the nurse had recommended, so I’m sure it helped some, but I also know my body well, and it always takes time for my system to clear. Just a waiting game.
I slept well again. On Thursday morning, I felt like myself, although I noticed that my left arm felt warm. When I checked in the mirror, I had a huge rash that stretched from where I got the shot to a few inches above my elbow. A little online research turned up a new term, “Covid arm.” This is a non-serious reaction to the shot, more common with Moderna, that can occur up to a week later, on average. Mine was only very mildly itchy and responded well to cortisone cream. I also took a Benadryl tablet that evening, which may or may not have had an effect.
Five days later, the rash is almost gone. I’m looking forward to next Tuesday, when I’m fully immunized. Months ago, when the Covid variants surfaced, I rescheduled my haircut to wait until I was fully vaccinated. Thanks to serendipity, I picked next Tuesday. Taming my four-month-long mop will be a great way to celebrate.
Image: Chris Barbalis