Sunday, August 21, 2022

Good ideas aren’t always the best ones

There are times when good ideas end up being not the best ones, when the consequences almost cancel out the benefits. That happened to me this past week.

On Thursday, I went to have my second Covid Booster shot. A second booster is only available to over-65s, I thought, but I found out recently that I’m eligible, even though I’m not yet 65, because of my coronary artery disease. Pretty much the only time that’s been an “advantage”. I seized the opportunity.

The night before, I went online to make the booking at the pharmacy nearest to me, and, at the time, all the Thursday appointments were available, so I was the only one booked in at that location. That didn’t surprise me, because the vast majority of New Zealanders are double-jabbed, many already may have had their first booster, or they’ve had Covid and have to wait three months for any booster. The staff there told me that most of their vaccinations are given to walk-ins without appointments.

I had my jab around 10am Thursday, then stopped at the nearby supermarket for some bits and pieces for the week, and went home. I didn’t plan on doing much in case I started to feel bad, but I felt fine all day—until I didn’t.

Around 8pm, I started to feel yucky: “flulike” symptoms of aches and a fever-like feeling, even though my temperature was normal. I eventually took some paracetamol, watched a bit more TV, and went to bed, still feeling bad.

Around four hours later, when the paracetamol was wearing off, I woke up. I got up to take some more, and immediately started shivering badly, similar to after the dental hygienist appointment last June, though not as bad. Just like I did in June, I put on sweatpants and a sweatshirt (which again confused Leo, because it’s what I put on when I get up in the morning) and went back to bed.

Four hours later, I woke up again, took more paracetamol, threw an extra blanket on the bed, and crawled back in. Leo snuggled up against me.

I woke up a few times after that, feeling utterly awful, and I started regretting having had the shot, since this was by far my worst reaction to it. On the other hand, I also knew that it meant my immune system was responding, which was the whole point, and that not going through the awfulness could’ve meant dealing with far worse from the actual disease—or not, but there’s absolutely no way to know what would happen.

Still, one thing I was certain of is that there’d be no way I’d get another jab of that particular Pfizer vaccine again, not when each of the last two jabs made me feel worse than the one before. However, there’s unlikely to be any more jabs of that one, anyway, because new vaccines are in development. In any case, it’ll probably be a year or more before I’ll have to decide.

This incident also now seems suggest that the shivering thing is the way my body now responds to what it perceives as an infection. There are things I can do to better prepare the next time I feel yucky like that, such as, I can keep a bottle of water and packet of paracetamol next to my bed, rather than having to get up in the cold and go into the even colder en suite to take the pills.

Feeling so utterly beside-myself-miserable, as I did, I couldn’t help but think about how Nigel would’ve looked after me, the same way I looked after him when he was sick—until that last time, when nothing I could do for him could possibly make any difference (though I tried, anyway, of course). Still, Leo stayed snuggled up against me all night long—and he’s laid in my lap much of Friday, too. Obviously it’s not the same, but it definitely does help.

The whole thing was over by late Friday afternoon, maybe 20 hours after it began.

The question now is, given my terrible time with this jab in particular, will my values hold up, will I continue getting Covid jabs, or will I hesitate? I honestly have no idea, but there are times when the consequences of a good idea almost cancel out the benefits. That fact, and this particular incident, will definitely be on my mind from now on.

The photo up top is of me after my jab, during the mandatory waiting period. When I shared it on my personal Facebook, I joked, “you’d think I would’ve turned my ring the right way round…” The photo below is of Leo on Friday, as he napped on the blanket on my lap. Yes, he’s using my hand as a pillow. He’s a good boy.


Roger Owen Green said...

Odd that I've heard more people with bad reactions to their second booster than to any of the others, including someone who passed out and hit their head.

I've had NO reactions to any of the shots, FWIW

Arthur Schenck said...

My second regular jab was apparently better than the first, but each booster was bad, the second the worst of any of them. I have absolutely NO idea why that would be.