Coming out of my cage

… am I doing just fine?

After a long year and change, and a weary ordeal trying to secure my appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine in New York City, and finally getting my doses…

I’m finally fully vaccinated against COVID-19*
*many variants of it, at least

To be honest, I thought I wouldn’t be eligible to even enter the rat race for vaccine appointments until about now, but I like to think that New York’s Governor Cuomo couldn’t take California’s Governor Newsom announcing earlier 30+ and 16+ eligibility dates, which was why several Mondays ago he announced that 30+ could get vaccinated the following day and 16+ the week after. I had to wait until the 16+ date, but it was still a month ahead of when I thought I’d be able to even think about getting vaccinated.

And because I was mentally unprepared to even have a vaccine appointment, I quickly became really overwhelmed trying to plan for a post-vaccine life. Could I see my family? Could I meet friends in the city? Could I attend a wedding a month later?? After 13 months of not having to plan more than a few days in advance and calculating almost zero risk with other humans, I felt myself shutting down a bit once my appointments were booked.

But here we are, maxed on the vax. So here’s what my personal experience was like.

I booked my husband for his appointment first, since he was eligible before me, and that was an ordeal of periodically refreshing and checking several sites for appointment availability. (I’m SO grateful for TurboVax, even though I wound up finding my appointment without it, but it was still an invaluable resource.) About a week later, I was exhausted after several days in a row of failing to get myself an appointment when my coworker told my team that a drugstore chain I don’t normally visit had a lot of appointments. I couldn’t believe that I was scouring various mass vaccination sites and hospitals but let my own drugstore loyalty card blind me to this avenue, and was able to actually schedule an earlier appointment my husband’s.

My first dose was inconsequential. My arm was sore at the injection site, to the point where I recall being embarrassed that it ached too much for me to reach for a glass of water, and when I tried to lift the glass up, it felt too heavy with how much soreness I was experiencing. The next day, it was still a bit sore to lift up over my head.

On the other hand, my husband experienced a bit of a fever after his first dose, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence we learned that people who recovered from COVID-19 would have existing antibodies already and have a reaction to their first dose.

My second dose was actually even LESS consequential. The most exciting thing that happened was I bumped into a YouTuber and make a cameo appearance in his video. I experienced even less soreness in my arm and by the next day felt basically nothing. My husband also didn’t experience any side effects after his second dose.

I was quite anxious about having adverse side effects, especially because I had a work presentation the day after my second dose and was hearing a lot about people having fevers and being unable to stay awake for long stretches of time and feeling like they were hit by a truck, so I was relieved and even a bit suspicious to have practically no side effects.

Today, I can do all the things that the CDC says fully-vaccinated folks can do, like be indoors with other humans without a mask.

Honestly, it’s terrifying. As I’ve written before, I have been extremely conservative over the past 14 months. I don’t leave the building very often, and I do not interact with other people at all. The thought of my first outing being a wedding where I didn’t know 90% of the people in an indoor setting nearly gave me a panic attack.

But despite how terrible things still are, I do feel like I can start feeling optimistic about the future. Better days are ahead, even if people lied, cheated, and stole for the vaccine or denied the efficacy of masks. Maybe I can see my family this year, or see my close friends get married. Maybe I can hug my mom, or play video games in person with my friends. Maybe I’ll be able to see my coworkers in the office, or a live show. Not immediately, and not even guaranteed this year, but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible, even if I don’t know how much tunnel is left.

I spent most of April being honestly pretty stressed, depressed, and starting to burn out, so my April playlist was short. I started strong but for most of the month, when I had a song in my head, by the time I got to a computer I had forgotten about it.

If you’ve gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, what was your experience like?
What are you most looking forward to doing in the better times to come?
I’m so excited to see my family, but on the mundane side, I am really excited to go to a grocery store someday soon. Or something sillier like a discount retailer, like TJ Maxx!

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