Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Over Coming the Fear...

 

One of my Gathering Girl pals has been bugging me about getting signed up to get my Covid-19 vaccine. She’s been bugging everyone in the group because, she says, she misses us all and the sooner we get our shots the sooner we can all do lunches again. She knew I was dragging my feet about signing up. And to be perfectly honest I was scared to death I’d have a severe reaction to the vaccine. I’ve had severe allergic reactions to three different drugs and was hospitalized after eating shell fish so it wasn’t a totally paranoid notion coming out of La-La Land. Having your throat close up after popping a single pill or biting into an egg roll is something you don’t forget. And add to my memory bank of scary allergic reactions is the day Levi my Might Schnauzer got a routine vaccine and while I was writing the check for his visit, he passed out in the vet’s lobby. It was like his legs turned into pudding and he went over in slow moment in a pool of dead-looking-dog. That earned him a free overnight stay in doggy hospital. Trust me, that place isn’t into giving services away for free so you can bet they were as worried about reversing his adverse reaction as much as I was. They all went into STAT! action like they were filming a scene for Grey's Anatomy or ER. I was so shocked Dr. McDreamy himself could have been giving CPR to Levi and I wouldn't have noticed.

After having my friend and niece both texting me about the vaccine on the same day, I finally bit the bullet and at midnight I did an online registration. I only signed up at one vaccination site thinking it would be awhile before I heard anything because others had told me they’d registered at 4-5 places intending to take the first appointment offered and still had long waits to get a call back. By 10:00 the next morning I got a text offering three appointments. That same day. I panicked! First of all I might have been up and walking around but my brain was still half asleep and second I needed a shower. Badly. I'm not a spur-of-the-moment kind of person but I want to be in the next chapter of my life so I told myself, Don’t even think about, just get your ass in gear and get in the shower!

When I got to the big box store that was giving the vaccines I couldn’t find a parking place and I thought the uphill hike to the building was going to kill me. And I was not prepared for what I saw when I got inside! Later I learned that they had 1,200 vaccines to give out that day and I’m pretty sure half the recipients of those shots were waiting in a line that threaded and snaked all over the store. When I finally got to the front of the line there were twenty tables of techs in white coats doing the injections. When my tech read my paperwork she called a nurse over to review the information on my medical bracelet and after my shot the nurse took me to ‘Vaccination Jail’. A place where I had to stay an hour instead of the fifteen minute others people in a different waiting area had to stay. Fine by me. I happily waited close to a person who presumably could jab me with an EpiPen and would call 911 if my tongue got too big to fit in my mouth or to talk. It's happened a half dozen times in my life. Don’t want to repeat it.

When I left Vaccination Jail the nurse leaned on me pretty hard about signing up at the website that does wellness checks over the next week and then again after the next injection. It took me forever to register because my phone doesn't like to take photos of QR codes that are supposed to simplify our lives. They might work for young people with steady hands but for this old bird they suck. Finally, I found a way to sign up online and shortly after I got my first wellness check. Two hours later I got my second wellness check and I had to dig out my thermometer because those daily wellness checks require temperature readings. Got the third wellness check this morning. Presumably, if I don’t give acceptable answers on the wellness check questionnaire a real person will get involved? Not sure how that works. What if I'm laying on the floor with a delayed reaction and don't answer the wellness check text or answer a follow up phone call? I'm hoping a med-vac helicopter will swoop out of the sky, land in my backyard and the dog will unlock the door so I don't have to get a broken window fixed after they save my life. Do I live in a fantasy world or what! (Actually, the dog we had before Levi could open our doors with the lever style door nobs, so that part is not far-fetched. Levi could, too, if he'd put a little hop to his stretch but sometimes he can be dumber than a fruitcake.)

The whole vaccine process was time consuming, taking up most of my day if I count the shower time, stopping to pick up dinner on the way home and playing with the stupid QR code. But I was impressed with how organized the whole process was. And I will be more prepared when I go back for the second shot and I'll bring something to do beside practice how small I can write on the back of a couple of receipts. Mostly I sat there twirling my thumbs and watching all the masked faces and smiling eyes as they passed by my jail cell.

Anyway, I wrote this post on Saturday for Wednesday’s publishing date. But if you’re reading this please note that I added this paragraph as a last minute update proving that I’m alive and well with no more of a reaction than a few days of being really sleepy. My great-niece had the same side-effect so I know it wasn't just me being melodramatic or me accidentally taking a melatonin instead of a vitamin gummy. (Yes, I did that once a few years ago after which the sleep aid got moved to the master bathroom.) I was super afraid of getting the Covid-19 vaccine and I'm glad it was the Pfizer because I heard on the news that more people had minor side effect with the Moderna. I probably wouldn't have gotten the shot for weeks if my friend and my niece hadn't led me---gently in one case and not so gently in the other---to the Trough of Hard Decisions. Now, I'm feeling smug that I overcame my fear and I'm belting out the lyrics to an old Beatles song. ©

"What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key
 
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends"
 
One vaccination shot down and one to go! 

47 comments:

  1. Good thing you got the pfizer.

    Allergic Reaction After Getting Moderna’s Covid Vaccine

    The patient, who has a severe shellfish allergy, recovered quickly with treatment. Until now, reports of severe reactions had been linked to the Pfizer vaccine.
    I'm signed up but waiting for a callback

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    1. Thanks for the information! I'm glad I didn't read that article before I got that shot, because I didn't know going in which brand I'd be getting.

      From the article: "During December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 10 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 4,041,396 first doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (2.5 cases per million doses administered). In nine cases, onset occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination. No anaphylaxis-related deaths were reported."

      Good to hear from you, Dean. Knock on wood Michigan might be experience spring. My side of the state still has snow cover but temperatures are going to be above freezing for the next 10 so it shouldn't last long.

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  2. Yeah for getting your vaccine with no dangerous side effects!

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  3. I'm happy it all worked for you. Once on the list to be vaccinated here you automatically get follow ups. Rick got one this morning and he had one within the first 24 hrs as well. That is a great little perk. Sleepy seems to be the main side effect and that isn't a bad one, I'll take it. Again, glad you are well!

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    1. Of all the side effect you could get, I'll take sleepy any day of the week.

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  4. I’ve had both..Moderna...no problems other than a rash on my injection site on first one and slight chills for a few hours on the second one. I’m glad I did it.

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    1. I guess those kinds of reactions just show that the vaccine is working. I react that way to the common flu vaccines.

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  5. I'm really glad you got your vax. I'm happy that I'm now eligible for mine, come Thursday (tomorrow). I'm registered at two places, so I hope to hear from them ASAP, and Rick and I will both grab appointments cheerily. Anything to get back to Normal faster.

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    1. We all want to get back to normal and vaccines are the fastest way.

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  6. So glad you got it but totally understand your reluctance. Not sure if I had your history I'd have done it. Kudos.
    Don't feel badly about sleepy. Dr. Fauci said he slept for 24 hours after his.

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    1. Wow, I didn't hear that about Fauci. At least I could function with a few short naps in between.

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  7. Yaaay! Glad you got the vaccine. There does seem to be an increasing supply around us lately for some reason. Maybe some federal leadership? LOL. Anyway, I've had both of mine (Moderna...minor side effects but SO worth it) and I'm ready for life to resume. It will take a while, but meanwhile, the sun is out and it's going to be warm for a while. Double yaaay!

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    1. It's so nice outside! I"m glad we live in a place where most people comply with the mask mandate. I'll keep wearing mine in public for a long time, I think.

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  8. I am so jealous that you got your vaccine (but happy for you too). I am registered several places but no news is no news... I check the local pharmacies' online appointment form several times a day but "no appointments available"... Hoping soon.
    Feel well!

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    1. Well, I have to eat my words! I was at my Walgreens picking up my meds and they mentioned that they had a cancellation so they had an extra dose which they offered to me!! So I have gotten my first dose of Moderna and I so far my side effect is feeling really happy about it! :)

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  9. I'm ashamed to say I did not go online and do that thing . I should have cause I'm all about helping keep the results accurate but it went by the wayside. Glad you had no isdued.

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    1. Ya, I figured it was for others as well as myself for them to gather data on side effects.

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  10. Glad your vaccine worked out. I got mine a little over a week ago. My experience was awesome. I went to a vaccine day in which a local lab gave out 10,000 doses at a hotel convention room. They were streamlined like you wouldn't believe. Walk in and as you walk in line they check you in on an iPad, continue walking as they lined us up next to chairs 14 deep and 22 wide. Right after I sat down two people with a push cart crossing in front of my chair were giving vaccines to my 22 chair row. One was scanning the vaccine and entering data while the other gave you the shot. Got the vaccine within a few minutes of sitting down. Monitors watched the area and then had you stand up as a line and exit after 15 minutes. I heard on the news that night that this was the largest in the country and that they had consulted with Chickfila managers to streamline the whole process. If only every site could be run like this. And the bonus was that when you schedule the first, you get your second dose appointmnt. I guess they are doing the same 10,000 exactly three weeks later.

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    1. Wow, 10,000 doses! Our convention center was doing vaccinations, too and a lot of people I know got theirs there. Don't know the details but I heard it was 5,000 doses a day. My second dose got auto-scheduled too so no worries on that.

      I hope the fact that so many vaccines are reaching so many that we'll round the corner soon on virus.

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  11. WOW! Very brave of you! Glad you have family/friends to encourage you. I have probably the same deadly allergies as you (for sure shellfish) so I feel better knowing you survived!

    I don't think I could wait in DisneyWorld lines nor do I want to go to a huge confined center breathing in air with 5,000 people. Might be summer for me ....

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    1. No one in those lines were social distancing but everyone did have on a mask.

      Make sure you read the first comment in this thread from Octdean and my reply. With your shellfish allergy you might want to be fussy about which vaccine you get.

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  12. I got my first Moderna shot on 1/31 and the second one on Monday. No issues with the first shot. On Tuesday following the second shot, I was really tired. Managed to walk 1.25 miles in the early evening, but skipped my barre class. Feeling great today, though, and am looking forward to having dinner with my fully vaccinated daughter on 3/14, especially since she's cooking.

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    1. Being tired is a minor thing compared to all the doors having the vaccine opens, isn't it.

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  13. I'm glad to hear it went well and you overcame your Fears and had no adverse reactions or lingering side effects. I'm getting the Pfizer on Friday at one of the Downtown Phoenix Universities that is Hosting an 'Event' as they like to call them here to make people wanna go. *LMAO* I've been missing real 'Events' but I'm not lulled into thinking this 'Event' would be one that normally I'd be excited to attend... tho' I am Thankful as Hell I FINALLY Qualify for my Vaccine. With the almost 2 Million folks living in our area I thought it would take forever to get Phase 1 out of the way and move to the Phase 2 people. Some smaller Counties are giving the Vaccine to anyone and everyone with no Tiers and restrictions, but you have to prove you live in those Counties to Qualify... dammit. They made The Man wait 30 minutes due to his high risk factors after each injection... other than being a very dramatically moody pain in all our Asses since he got his Vaccines, he's just Fine physically. But, he's worked the last Nerve of us all... he shouldn't worry about The Rona killing him... when he's Triggered the whole damned Family with his Moods and Dramatics. *Le Sigh* Today I totally lost my shit at him when he had a meltdown and picked a fight with The Son over a Cast Iron Skillet... Honest to God, The Son was just trying to be nice and cook us all Breakfast, The Man had to go in there and stir up shit about how he wasn't using the Cast Iron Skillet properly... I told him I was ready to take a sledgehammer to said Skillet just to show him how much I don't Care about a damned Pan and anyone picking a fight and melodrama over a damned Pan! He had The Son in Tears, which was ridiculous... over a Pan! Princess T and I then lost our shit at him, so he's presently moping in the Bedroom, knowing he shit the bed on this one and we're fed up with the Tension and Moods he's had since getting his shots.

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    1. Oh my gosh, sounds like you all need vacations...separately at your house. The stress caused by all that's been going on the past years is getting to us all.

      So glad you're getting your shot soon! That should make you breathe easier.

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  14. Good for you! Glad you got your first vaccination and handled it well. Things are looking positive for everyone who wants the vaccine being able to get it--and sooner than later. I just hope those lousy variants (is that the right term?) don't get a foothold! About two weeks after I got my first shot, I felt a deep surge of hope for regaining some freedom from Covid 19. We will not soon forget this experience.

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    1. The experts on TV say the best way to stop the variants is to get the vaccine. The less people who have the virus the less the virus and mutate.

      I was actually surprised at how relieved I felt afterward, not just because it went well but because the more that get it the sooner the world can put the pandemic behind us.

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  15. I like reading about how my blog friends are after getting the Covid jab so thank you.

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    1. Anything for blog fodder I always say. Thank you for reading here.

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  16. My son's allergy doctor told him he had to get the Pfizer vaccine. He is 55 and hasn't got it yet.

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    1. I didn't know going into the process which one I was getting but I'm glad it was the Pfizer. My doctor didn't recommend on over the other.

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  17. Congratulations Jean! Glad you got your first shot and survived. I've heard from another American friend who just got her second shot, that you could spike a fever...which is good news because it means your immune system recognized the intruder...hehehe! I will live vicariously through you though...as I won't be able to get a shot before June of this year.

    Deb

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    1. I've heard the side effects are worst to the second shot no matter which one you get. I will have some over the counter stuff on hand just in case.

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  18. I'm very relieved you got the shot, especially since you'll be moving into an environment with others in close proximity. Plus, it will be good to be with your friends.

    Big hugs to you.

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    1. They held a vaccine clinic right at the older section of the complex where I'll be moving. I'll be in closer to others but getting services like that will be easier.

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  19. I'm so, so happy for you: not only for the shot, but for your courage, too. I have both of mine now (Moderna) and one more week to go before that two-week period for the protection to ramp up is over with. I had quite a reaction, but it was almost symptom-for-symptom what I'd read about online, so I didn't worry about it too much. The chills and fever lasted only a few hours, an Advil took care of the headached and muscle aches, and in less than 48 hours I was good to go.

    Did they give you a CDC card, or something similar, with your vaccination recorded? I got a little card, and after I got the second shot, I scanned it into my computer and iPad. Then, I took the actual card down to my local print shop and had them laminate it. It's protected and tucked into my wallet now. I have no idea if I'll ever need it, but at least I can whip it out like my driver's license!

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    1. Yes, we got a card. If you ever fly you'll need that vaccination card. I think it was smart of you to copy and protect it. When everything starts opening back up again I see other places were lots of people attend requiring proof of vaccinations.

      I'm so glad I didn't get any reactions like you did but if I do on my next shot, I don't think it will worry me like I was with the getting the first shot.

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  20. I'm registered, but haven't gotten an appointment yet. So glad to read about your experience and that you're well on your way to being protected.

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    1. Thanks. I couldn't believe how relieved I was not only not to have any grave side effects but to all know I'm half way to getting protected enough that going out in public won't be so scary.

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  21. Good for you!! I was a little concerned about H when he got his shot. He's landed in the ER twice due to allergic reactions to medications: swollen tongue and puffy duck lips. But he had no side effects after the first shot. He'll get his second one on March 17. We got the Pfizer vaccine, too. He got his at the VA and I got mine at Walgreens. I got the first appointment at 9:45 and it went relatively fast. I was surprised.
    My cousin had a dog that could open the door: a German shepherd named Tootie.

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    1. H will get his second shot before I will, hope it goes well too. Allergic reactions to drugs is so scary!. Never heard the lip thing called duck lips but that's a great description. I got those this week.

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  22. Good, I am glad you did it. Wasn’t so bad now, was it? It’s a good thing that they kept you under observation afterwards and that all is well.
    I’ve had my first jab and had no side effects to speak of other than a sore arm, although I am dairy intolerant and suffer from one or two allergies as well. For me these intolerances and allergies started with advanced years, funny how that happens.

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    1. I'm not afraid of needles and shots. I used to get a lot of them when I was younger, to desensitize me from a boat load of allergies. My allergies have gotten few over the years, but getting the vaccine did worry the heck out of me so I'm glad the first one is over.

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  23. I'm glad you got your vaccination, and your second one must be coming up soon -- then a two-week wait for your immune response to ramp up and presto! you are fully vaccinated. I'm enjoying my new freedoms and even had a friend (also fully vaccinated) over for dinner this past week.
    When I had my first shot, I had to wait 30 minutes because I've had moderate allergic reactions to two drugs in the past. For the second dose, I brought a book to read -- but, because they had refined their protocols during the intervening three weeks and because I didn't have any reaction the first time, I only had to wait 15 minutes.

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    1. I got my second shot yesterday and only had to wait 30 minutes this time. I feel to relieved. Can't wait until my two weeks are up.

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