I got my first shot yesterday! Of course I have created a small photo essay, all watercolorized because it feels creepy to take pictures of strangers getting medical treatments. That would be because it is creepy, but now that it’s art, who can object? Also the photos sucked.
The Clatsop County Health Department had put up a survey in January for people to sign up for the vaccine. It was kind of a confusing survey and I ended up filling it out at least twice if not three times, but they told me that was okay when I of course emailed to apologize. The email offering me a vaccination slot came in last week and I was so excited I filled that out twice too, which would have been more problematic except I fortunately only hit the submit button once. Hot tip, Clatsop County residents! The email looks like spam and seems to be from a lightbulb on a yellow background. Lightbulbs are not even in the top fifty things associated with Clatsop County to the best of my knowledge but hey whatever, health department, you do you. Anyway, the email leads to a web page with many appointment slots and I signed up for yesterday.
Now it was April 1 so I was a little worried that they would give out placebos – ha ha! April Fools! No vaccine for you! – but I believe it was the real deal. My arm hurts like thunder today, so it had better have been real.
The process was very simple. It was at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds; I parked across the street and walked across the bridge. There were lots and lots of volunteers everywhere, all wearing blue vests. From the entry to the actual vaccine I was briefly checked by at least ten volunteers. There is a .pdf release form with the original email that you have to fill out, print and sign. I had already done this, so it was faster. If you hadn't done it, volunteers sat you down at a table to do it.
There are a lot of flags at the Clatsop COunty Fairgrounds. There was a lot of walking, too, which was not great for some people; the man ahead of me had a cane and I felt bad for him. For me, though, it was a beautiful day and I like walking.
You have to walk through a couple buildings to get to the vaccine area. It would be much better if there were actual animals in the pens you walk by because hey! sheep! but alas there is only dirt and flags. The floors were all meticulously marked with tape Xs 6 feet apart and tape arrows telling you where to go. Every so often there were volunteers checking my papers and waving me onwards.
Eventually I arrived at the actual vaccination area. There, they checked my papers again, gave me more papers, including a vaccination card and sent me to a numbered compartment. This is where I panicked a bit, because on one of the papers they gave me, it said Do Not Take Ibuprofen Before Shot! in bold letters and I, of course, had. Not for the shot, really, although I thought it might help, but mostly coincidentally. The shot giving lady, who was super nice and had really beautiful long silver hair, sighed at me. "It's okay," she said, "But definitely don't do it for the second shot! That's the shot that really counts." The shot did not hurt barely at all and it was done very quickly.
Then she waved me through the other side, where there were more volunteers who finally took away my original papers and gave me more papers and sent me to sit down in a chair. There were many people sitting in chairs. You have to sit there for fifteen minutes while volunteers occasionally walk by to see if you are dying.
I was having a small panic attack, hence the lack of photos. Well, and also it would have felt very rude, all those people in chairs. It’s weird; when I was having my colonoscopy they asked me what my panic attack triggers were and I was like, uh? Life? but now I have realized that it might be the fear of fucking up. I was really afraid they were going to send me home without a shot because of the ibuprofen and maybe that was what triggered it. Or maybe it was the general, sit here in case you go into anaphylactic shock atmosphere, who can say? I would not want to go into anaphylactic shock in a chair with a ton of strangers watching, so absurdly embarrassing. Thus I spent 15 minutes intently playing games on my phone, breathing gently, and convincing myself that I was not actually dying, just panicking.
I was fine later, filled with despair as I often am after these little interludes, but fine. My arm hurts quite a bit where they gave me the shot but since my other arm hurts worse (the doctor believes it is cervical radiculopathy, a fancy way of saying pinched nerve) I do not really care. Otherwise I have no side effects.
I will get the next one the week of April 26 and then. . . and then. . . I don’t know. Nobody knows. I am still wearing a mask, because I don’t know about you, but once I learned about respiratory droplets and how they travel I decided to wear a mask at the grocery store for the rest of my life, because EWWWWWW. More importantly however, I am going to be a Grandmother in July and thus for most of the month of July I am going to be in Asheville, NC, fulfilling my Grandmotherly duties of, um, I don’t know because I have never been a Grandmother before. My mother came for ten days when my daughter was born and taught me how to give her a bath, because I was so afraid I might drop her that I was mostly sitting in the rocking chair weeping. So I had better refresh my baby knowledge, since I haven’t given a baby a bath in, uh, a very long time. I already bought my ticket and now I won’t have to worry about giving my granddaughter the plague.
I’m wearing a mask on the plane because EWWWWWW strangers and also I am not an idiot, thank you. With all this going on it’s hard to believe that there are still people out there wandering around refusing to wear masks, refusing to get vaccinated and so on. The numbers are going up again because everyone wants to believe the plague is over. It is not over. Go get you some new ma/sks. We are a masked people now and that is okay. Think of what we can save on teeth whitening.
And here I am, unwhitened teeth and all. I got my shot right in the heron.