My Vaccination Experience
I am a chiropractor. There are chiropractors in the world who are against vaccines. There are up sides and down sides, but for me, the possibility of long term respiratory or neurologic symptoms, infecting and possibly killing family friends or patients not to mention never being able to go see a movie or eat inside at a restaurant far outweighed any hesitation. Some are having short term side effects, but it’s still a lot better than getting truly sick or killing your grandmother.
I was late for my first appointment. My boy had a stomach ache. I had to pick him up from school. The dog still needed her walk. I didn’t know where the county fair office was in the Civic Center complex. I was supposed to meet Dawn there. I missed lunch.
That was the week we had the high wind warnings so I was glad to have a jacket while searching for the entrance. I didn’t find that entrance but I did find a very long line of people, mostly in scrubs, each standing 6 feet from the next stretched across the back lot of the Civic Center.
Standing in that line, I had the feeling that I was in line with people all over the world. Even with those who were not yet standing in a line, but waiting for their chance. Now having read that so many are in “wait and see” mode, I know that feeling was wrong. Perhaps they will come around and the “wait and see” is just part of their line.
Fortunately for me, Dawn, the massage therapist who works in my office had arranged for her shot at the same time. She sat with my boy Dean in the car while I slowly made my way across the parking lot texting updates. We hoped she could have her first shot. They were asking for pay stubs or photo work IDs to prove you were in health care. Being independent, neither of us had those, but we had our business and professional licenses. We hoped me vouching for her and explaining that she worked in my clinic would help. She was turned away about 20 feet from the door. Dean, age 6, and I pushed on.
I thought it would be a good experience for Dean to see me get a shot. He had an awful vaccination experience a year ago with trainees at his pediatrician’s office and remained fearful. Sadly, when I got the shot, it really hurt. Not the poke, but the injection of the vaccine itself. Maybe my muscle had been tense. Then, walking to check out, I began feeling light headed. Was it the shot? Was it no lunch? Was I dehydrated? Was I going into anaphalactic shock? I’ll never know, but I put on a brave face for Dean and didn’t accept the offer of a paramedic consult with water and treats.
They ask you to wait 15 minutes after your shot before leaving. They asked me to wait 30 having a history of anaphalaxis, (fire ants, Georgia, 1988). This gave me plenty of time to obsess about why I was feeling light headed and could I drive and what Dean will experience if I needed attention. Then I found Dean’s snack bar in my back pack. We shared that and I started feeling better. At the 20 minute mark, I decided to go. It was 3:30 and I still hadn’t had lunch. Major nap that afternoon and a raging headache through the night. Was it the shot, dehydration, sugar crash? Probably all of the above.
Now I am part of the 4% in my county to be fully vaccinated. Fortunately, my wife, a pre-school teacher, is as well. I was fatigued the day after the second shot, but that was it. Keiko was fine after both shots. We are supposed to be vaccinating people over 75 here now, but as I looked around the large open space of the Civic Center waiting area, I’d say 3 of the 150 people there were seniors, the rest like me, in health care, getting their second shot.
I am a chiropractor. I have patients who have been sick, one with ongoing symptoms and others who have relative or friends who died, but I do not treat Covid-19. Standing in line twice, being in that room after, those other people, the ones in scrubs, they looked tired. I think we all had a certain anxiousness going in; the feeling of just having to make it a little farther. After the second shot; not a feeling of celebration, but a feeling of relief and gratitude in the room, very quiet, reflective. I think if we could all see what those people have seen, to have reports from the trenches, we would not have any “wait and see” people in our line. We would all be feeling we just needed to make it a little farther.
We don’t know if the vaccinated can carry or transmit the disease, but I feel my family and my patients are safer because I am fully vaccinated. I will continue to take all the precautions I have been, but now, when that woman stands too close in the grocery store or that guy walks by with his mask on his chin, I don’t get quite as nervous. I hope you will join me soon. Perhaps we could go to a movie.