Two weeks ago, I received my second vaccine against Covid-19.
The vaccine being Moderna, in case you are interested.
Initially I planned on writing something after my first shot, but then I thought, anyone nervous about getting the shot will be more interested in hearing my after-effects. And apparently, there are plenty of nervous people about there.
As a matter of fact, even where I work — a Franciscan convent with about 40 Sisters living on campus over the age of 70 — I learned that when the notice went out to employees the shot was available, only half of the staff signed up to get it.
This, despite most of them being on reduced hours, working from home, or furloughed.
How they thought we’d return to some degree of normalcy, I’ve no idea. But hey, I’m not here to judge.
In any case, when the time came for our booster shot, suddenly several of the other employees decided they’d get the shot after all. Because when those of us who got it the first time didn’t keel over and die, they felt safe.
Gosh. Thanks, guys. Right back atchya.
Anyway. I got both shots and lived to tell about it.
In case you’re one of the nervous ones, that first shot is pretty easy. My arm was a little sore the next day, but not near as bad as when I had the flu shot. So that’s cool.
That second shot though….
Maybe you’ve heard that people are more likely to have a reaction to the second shot? There’s a reason for that.
In a nutshell, after you get the second vaccine your immune system says, “hey, we’ve seen this before!” and springs into action.
From what I read, the stronger your immune system is, the more likely you’ll feel like crap after the second shot.
Knowing this, I figure I’ve got one helluva good immune system. The day after the shot, I was… well, shot.
Feverish, fatigued, nauseous, every joint crying out for mama… basically I was on the couch for the day, alternating between sleeping and watching old movies.
The next day I felt… better?
I mean, yeah, I definitely felt better. No worries there. Only I felt… not right.
Then the next day arrived and I still felt a little off. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t label it. Didn’t have a fever, no aches or pains, no fatigue… just a vague sense of unease.
And then for some reason later in the day — still not sure what made me think to do this — I decided to take my blood pressure. (After Husband’s heart attack nearly two years ago, we got a blood pressure cuff so he could monitor it at home.)
Can you guess where this is going?
Yeah. I found out I have high blood pressure. Like, scary high.
Now, just to be clear, getting the vaccine did NOT give me high blood pressure. As much as I would like to blame outside forces, the fact is, high blood pressure is just a thing with my family. Both my parents had it and all my brothers and sisters have it.
I suppose the family dog had it too.
But for many, many years, I was the outlier. The only one in the family with consistently low blood pressure. My readings were so healthy, they were brag-worthy.
And you better believe I bragged.
Damn those genetics!
So now there’s a pill bottle next to my toothbrush, where there was no pill bottle before.
I’m genuinely unhappy about this, but I also know it’s for the best so I’m trying to be grateful that I found out now, before something serious happened.
You might be wondering that if the vaccine didn’t trigger my high blood pressure, how did I miss all the signs before? How come I only just now became aware?
That’s a very good question. I have a very good answer: I’m a dope.
Were there times before when I couldn’t sleep because it felt like my heart was racing? Most definitely. Also, the weird twitchy eye thing that was happening? Or my sudden inability to focus or stick to a coherent thought?
Where was I? …
Oh yeah! Stress. It could all be attributed to stress.
Of course, I couldn’t think of anything I was stressed about, but still. Stress was a logical answer.
I was also getting lots of headaches, but I figured I was out in the sun too long.
(Please forget the fact I now live in Minnesota.)
Like I said, I’m a dope.
One of the things that might happen after you get the vaccine — I’m not sure if all places do this, but they did here — you are given instructions on how to register for V-Safe with the CDC.
This is where you give your information on what kind of shot you were given, yada-yada, and then you start getting texts from the CDC asking how you’re feeling, what symptoms you have and so forth. The point is to help them gather more information about the vaccines, have your side effects monitored, and they’ll even send you a reminder when it’s time to get your second shot.
I recommend this, especially if you’re a dope like me.
In truth, I credit V-Safe with helping me detect my high blood pressure.
Had it not been for their daily “How are you feeling today?” texts, asking me to choose between a smiling face, neutral face or frowny face, I likely would have ignored my symptoms far longer.
So there you go. That’s my vaccination story.
I am now a proud, card-carrying member of the Covid-19 Vaccination Club.
I’m also a member of the Must Take Prescription Pills For the Rest of My Life Club.