Covid Vaccine Pt. 2- My Story

So, 28 days rolled by and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty anxious throughout. I’m human and even though I’ve spent countless hours researching and reading about the vaccine, I was still nervous. Nervous I would have a reaction or who knows what–you can’t ignore every story true or false that is online. Honestly, I don’t have the time to debunk everything or debate things with people regardless of what they are about. Online, I keep to myself as much as possible. I appreciate everyone has their own mind, freedom to make their own choices, and the ability to do so as needed, when needed. I don’t judge anyone period about anything. Leading up to the day hubby and I continued to do as we’ve been doing for years–taking our vitamin d, vitamin c (fresh made juice everyday), long walks, nutritious meals, and lots of rest.

The day of we got up and showered and ate breakfast and left for our appointment. We arrived with a couple of minutes to spare to a waiting room filled with people waiting and a line to get in. We talked with a couple of older men standing there and were surprised with what we heard. Both men had been very hesitant to get the shot. Most there that day were getting their second dose. Neither man went into details as to why they were hesitant, but both said they were not the type to get flu vaccines or go to the doctor regularly or deal too much with the medical world or science or the current state of affairs. That said both agreed they were there to get vaccinated because they wanted their life and world around them to get back to “normal” and felt it never would as long as people, for whatever reason, chose not to be vaccinated. In a sense they were saying–“they were taking one for the team.”

As I stood there listening to them I realized that what they were saying perfectly/simply described my reason for getting vaccinated. I understood my husband’s reasons and agreed with them and had I not he would have still went ahead and gotten vaccinated. This was the first time in our marriage where making a health related decision was done individually, whereas all others have been together. He’s gone to work for 15 months and worn a mask. He wants to be able to take his mask off. He made the decision on his own regarding his own health and mine to wear a mask. Now he wants to be able to not have to wear one. He believes the vaccination affords him that freedom and that is his opinion. It’s also mine. I had several reasons, but when it got right down to it, I , like the gentlemen standing in line with us had so simply put it, felt I needed to get vaccinated because so many other people weren’t. I had read enough about the vaccine, the ingredients, the risk, the efficacy of the one I had chosen to get, and was beyond reasonably sure of what I was doing.

When I had received my first shot the nurse had stated my muscles in my arm were big–I lifted weights for years, but now I just have big arms. He had changed needles and though I felt the jab, tenderness went away in less than 12 hours. This time the nurse (a different one) didn’t mention the need for a different needle and when I brought it up she looked at me like I was crazy. So, a standard needle 1.0 needle is what she used vs. 1.5 that is used for heavier people/ people with big fat arms like me. I didn’t feel the jab, but approx. 12 hours later I developed a red area on my arm affectionately known as “covid arm.” An area as big as a softball which felt hot and was quite red and quite tender. I googled it and immediately found information about it. The CDC and articles mentioned it was not being studied as it was considered rare and that it was nothing to worry about and would go away within 3-4 days and as long as 7. Usually this reaction was not showing up until 72 hours had passed. So essentially, I was experiencing a rare reaction quite a bit differently than all those before me. I blame it all on the needle. My arm was reacting to the shot because the medicine was sitting in a big knot at the injection site. This caused hypersensitivity to my skin at the injection site and did not affect anything else and is not considered an allergic reaction to the vaccine. I emailed the CDC and told them what I felt had caused this reaction for me and maybe others?

I am a big “oily” person, yes I said it, I use essential oils. I made a roll-on of lavender with coconut as my carrier oil and rolled it on the area. Within one day the hypersensitive area near my injection site was gone. Nothing–arm back to normal. That’s how good oils work–I’ve got pictures to prove it. They’re amazing! It’s been a week and we’re fine. Besides my skin reaction we’re in great health–never even had a fever or a headache from it. It’s a relief and it’s now behind us. My husband has one last day to wear his mask and then he is setting himself free! I rejoice in the fact that as I’ve gotten older I have grown less self-absorbed and away from “self” and a bit more toward community. I had always been an introvert, stay at home, stay to ourselves, mind our own business, and whatever we do we do for us first kind of person. Volunteer work for several years shook me out of that mind set. Getting older has also humbled me.

So, that’s my (our story) and I hope it helps someone somewhere in the world feel a bit more informed one way or the other.

Video about needle size issues here

Story about Covid arm here

The Little Things in Life

I wrote a blog post awhile back about mundane days, which in a way, is as unappreciated as the little things in life.

What are the little things in life? Your life?

I hear it all the time “maybe now we can get back to the way things were” or “back to some normalcy.” I can sort of understand someone making a comment like “back to normalcy etc.” I do understand they are just “sayings” although, seriously, there are people that believe everything is going to return back to how things were in 2019 before Covid. Like, just like that, “we’re all back to normal.” The hard truth is we, none of us, are ever going to be able to go back to before Covid-19. There are nearly 3.5 million people worldwide (and their family/friends) whose life won’t return to normal because they died from Covid-19 during a pandemic that turned all of our worlds upside down in the last 15 months or so..

Personally, what I found to be most difficult during this whole last year was thinking all the time about how people all over the world were dying alone. Whether they were dying of Covid or dying of cancer–they were dying alone because of the CDC’s protocols. I thought about people who had limited time and 2020 may have been their last year on earth. Or people that had saved for their whole lives to travel somewhere in 2020 and were not able to. And maybe just maybe didn’t make it through 2020 to be able to reschedule. I thought of a lot of different scenarios of people all over the world and prayed all the time for everyone. Many people’s lives are forever changed from everything we all experienced in the year 2020.

2020 affected all of us–every last one of us. Even the ones for whom 2020 was no more than an inconvenience.

So, what are the little things in life. Life’s little blessings? Where are they as we all get ready to get back out into the world and quite possibly forget the little blessings that helped us keep it together in 2020?

For me it was the quiet. More quiet every day and nature rebounding joyfully. Less trodden paths, more birdsong, flowers left for their beauty, less air pollution, and oh yes–less people to irritate and frustrate me.

I learned how to single handedly keep our larder stocked and neither hubby nor I ran out of TP, or our favorite goodies, or things to do to keep our minds off of the crazy world we live in.

I enjoyed seeing new birds in our neighborhood, neighbors sitting outside taking in fresh air, people helping other people despite.. and getting used to checking ourselves out at every store we visited.

I was overjoyed at times that the mail continued to be delivered, delivery people made it to our door on time, telemarketers and their schemes quit ringing our phones, and restaurants seemed to, for a time, almost perfect their standard fare.

Life’s little things much more appreciated when the focus comes off of the big things in life–which aren’t actually big to me (social, vacation, spa/beauty salons, contractor work, etc).

Last year’s pause of our day-day life brings to this year new knowledge–

  • Our garden is going to be smaller– more gardener focused (therapeutic) vs. production, production, production.
  • Meals are going to be light, healthy, and packed with local veggies vs. labor intensive meals like meat, potatoes, and local veggies.
  • I survived being a remote worker and will continue to work remotely.
  • We survived just fine without travel and will sock that money away for moving into our new home.
  • There are a lot of things we did without food, drink, convenience that we will continue not to purchase because in the end–no big deal. Many items stopped being made or the flavor we liked or the prices went up so–bye!
  • We eat a lot less meat$ and that’s a good thing. We also use a lot less TP (I know TMI lol)

My container garden this year is being dedicated to all of the people throughout the world who lost their lives in 2020. Whether virus or accident or suicide or natural causes or other illness 2020 was a awful, lonely, and much more than ever sad time to die.

The little things I hope to celebrate in my patio garden this year are first blooms, fireflies, sweat bees, Mr. Bumble Bee (he visits my porch every year) being there when he finds the bee balm, the smell of my first peony, the heat of my first cluster of cherry tomatoes, the rain droplets on each green leaf, the end of day feeling of the beauty the sun, moon, rain, bees, God, and I created out of a few dollars and half a dozen seed packets, and lots of watering and pruning!

Happy Spring everybody–get out there when and if you can and create some beautiful memories.

Covid Vaccine Pt. 1–My Story

My decision to get vaccinated was an incredibly private, well thought out, well researched, and planned event. That said my decision to tell how it went is here for everyone to see. My story is 100% mine and my decisions were 100% for myself, my husband, and for the people living in my community/country (in that order). I’m not telling my story to shame, or convince others, or judge, or ridicule, or manipulate anyone, anywhere, into anything. Do or don’t do what is/isn’t right for you. One of the things I would have liked to read in my research was another human beings experience getting the vaccine. I couldn’t find one. I could find healthcare workers (essential workers) getting vaccinated—which of course are human beings, but no non-healthcare workers stories. Mine is neither religiously or non-religiously or politically motivated in any way. Some background : I worked in healthcare nearly 20 years. By nature I believe in holistic medicine. I am striving in my personal life to be 100% chemical free–clean makeup, clean cleaning products, no aerosols, no toxic paint, no perfumes, no dyes, clean 100% whole food (no preservatives, additives, or natural flavors). And so much more–we’ve been working on this for almost 20 years and are about 60% there. For myself personally–I am wary of doctors and have several recent years stories that would make you wary of them too. But, in my life I have known some good doctors and I absolutely love my dentist of 20 years..

I’m healthy, 56, active, but do have arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia. The only medication I’ve ever taken for any of these issues is Tylenol, ibuprofen, and glucosamine.

My husband and I may have or may not have had Covid in February of 2020. He brought something home from a sick co-worker and I got it in less than 24 hours and he in about 36 hours. We were down for the count for 3 days–the first time we’ve ever been sick together and actually “down for the count” and the first time I’d been sick in 16 years. Yes, I said it == 16 years with no colds, no flu, no sickness of any kind.

At day 4 I was up and besides a hoarse voice and fatigue, I was back to work and also full-time housework. By day 6, I was at almost 100% recovery. During whatever this was I truly felt like I had something that might kill me. I had never felt as tired as I felt, and the shortness of breath was scary as I’d never experienced that ever. The hoarse raspy voice and hyper sense of smell made the whole ordeal for me very surreal. My husband was better around week two with neither one of us seeking medical treatment, because as you might remember –Covid didn’t hit the news in this country until mid-March 2020. I wasn’t able to take anything while ill for 3 days because my hyper sense of smell caused me to gag at the smell of Vicks, Nyquil, and Robitussin. I drank copious amounts of orange juice and rested to get better within 3 miraculous days. Since that time we have been well–always wearing masks and generally doing all we did before Covid–shopping, haircuts, and travel into nature. Things were different and often times hard for us, but not nearly as hard as those who lost someone or whose whole life changed with the lock-downs/business closings etc.

I’m not the least bothered by masks –I know it’s a barrier between me and someone else and even if it isn’t 100%, even if it’s only 25%–that’s good enough for me. Both in healthcare and travel we have worn masks in public before the pandemic. Sometimes I’ve had a hard time breathing in my mask and if I do then I stay home. I don’t judge others for not wearing them, but then I expect those people to steer clear of me and mine. It’s a two way street and always has been.

I don’t follow mainstream news. I haven’t had cable television for almost 20 years. I don’t follow news people except I might be following ,on some format, a war correspondent or two? I don’t subscribe to newspapers anymore. I get all my news from Reuters or the AP. I get all my medical information from Harvard, John Hopkins University, or Cornell University, or NIH, NIMH, or the New England Journal of Medicine. I also have friends that are both doctors and scientists–some Western and some Eastern medicine and a whole shelf of medical journals at my disposal. I also got straight A’s in science and biology in high school.

Once I was done researching Covid, the Pandemic, and the Vaccine, I made my decision to go ahead and get the Moderna vaccine. I could have chosen any of the vaccines offered as they are all available around here, but chose Moderna because that is the one I spent the most time researching and also more importantly both of the other vaccines had an ingredient in them that I’m allergic to.

I mention all of the most personal things about me to give you the reader the full scope of details about me as I looked at the science and facts that I most rely upon that eventually helped me make my decision to receive the Covid 19 vaccine.

There was a notice online locally to sign up through the health department to receive your vaccine. This notice went up when everyone 16 and older was now able to get the vaccine in our county and I believe entire state. Though my husband and I were both on the list last year as essential workers, neither of us were able to get the vaccine until now when the rest of the general public became eligible. Within 10 minutes I made an appointment for my husband and I and that was that. Two days before I made sure we concentrated on staying hydrated and then some–as we are generally hydrated, but just to be certain. We also ate really healthy super nutritious fruits and veggies –double the amounts for 4 meals, and made sure we stayed stress free and rested. We lowered our sugar intakes–both natural sugars and processed sugars and I stopped taking ibuprofen and glucosamine for 3 days. All of these things are in the instructions/information when you look up vaccines on the CDC site. Hydrate, rest, and no anti-inflammatory drugs day of vaccine.

Day of we woke up, as my husband did not have overtime on this day, and we went about our day. We printed off our consent forms and headed to Baraboo to get our vaccines. As with my making my decision, my husband made his own for his own reasons. He does after all work in a facility were no one wears a mask/believes in them/and many don’t believe in Covid at all–but surprisingly most have now received the full vaccine even before he was eligible. So, his workplace/co-workers and who he comes into contact with on a daily basis were big factors for him. Not getting sick and not bringing something home to me again was also a big factor in his decision. Neither one of us needed the other to sign on in order for us to go ahead and get vaccinated. That said we were given the first shot this past Friday and will return in 28 days for the second shot. I have not been vaccinated since I was a kid in grade school and though I have had my blood taken and even IV’s in, I hate being given a shot. We do not get the annual flu vaccines for a couple of reasons–one our annual physical is just before the annual flu vaccine and our physician usually supports our decision based on how great our immune systems appear to be working, and two (see above), before 2020 I hadn’t been sick in 16 years (8 of which was while I was in college + work and 8 working/volunteering). I know personally I don’t plan on ever getting the flu shot.

Everything went very smoothly once we arrived at the building the vaccines were being given–we handed our consent forms to a young man in the National Guard and within seconds were called to a booth and vaccinated. We then sat for 20 minutes in a quiet room to make sure we were not going to have an allergic reaction. Instructions online stated no id required–basically no hassles. The vaccine was free. I believe at this time all Covid 19 vaccines in this country are free. After 20 minutes we left, grabbed lunch, and drove to Madison WI. We then proceeded to grocery shop, visit Trader Joe’s—yay!!, pickup bakery items and flowers and fresh vegetables and garden plants at Whole Foods. Seven hours later we were home, unpacking, and feeding our cat. We both had tenderness around 11 p.m. or so–I would say mine was a 1.5 on a scale of 1-10 for pain/unpleasantness. I couldn’t even see where the shot had been given though there was a slight hump where it was tender. When I got the shot, I felt quite the poke. Ouch! But nothing that brought tears or was long-lasting. My husband felt nothing, but his tenderness was a 3. After we got the shot I told him to move his arm around, massage the area, and do things with that arm. We lifted groceries, unpacked, etc. and I know I continued to use my arm and move it around. By early evening the next day my tenderness was gone and my husband’s was at a 2.

Sunday–everything was fine. So far no reactions, tenderness is gone, and we feel fine.

I’d be lying if I finished this post without saying how nervous I was about getting the vaccine, about having a reaction to it, about something happening to me down the road because I got it. I’ve seen all the posts online with misinformation, scare tactics, conspiracy theories, and fake news. I may not subscribe to it, but I’m not blind.

Yes, reading stuff like that does run through your mind before making a decision, while making one, and afterwards. The one thing you personally have to remember is –this decision is yours and it’s about your body and your health. There isn’t a single person on earth including my doctor who can make a decision or influence me to make one about my body or my health without me signing on to it 100%.

So, this is part 1 of my vaccine story. Again, my story and my personal reasons. No reflections or judgments on anyone for making a decision that is different than mine.

Thanks for stopping!

Photo credit: West Elm