Over the course of the pandemic, I have been careful to avoid over-referencing the obvious – that being the COVID pandemic has wrecked havoc over every one of our lives for the past year.
Now that more and more of us are being vaccinated and we are beginning to see the forest through the trees, the light at the end of the tunnel, the caboose at the end of the train, in the search for a quick ending to this overly long and dramatic bad movie, I’ve discovered some aspects of amusement, even humor, albeit a comedy of errors.
Once the first vaccine had been approved, it was as though everything changed over night. We suddenly saw a glimpse of a future where the endless litany of death and despair might at some point end. This was followed quickly by the question?
“When can I get my shot?”
The state of California quickly laid out the framework for vaccinations – seniors, essential workers, first responders and the like, move to the front of the line. Behind them followed a succession of groups such as 1A, 1B, 2A, too-long-before-they-get-to-my-group.
The internet quickly flooded with self-proclaimed “vax hunters” who would haunt vaccination locales like zombies, hoping to hear “We can handle two additional people.” We heard dramatic stories of hospitals whose freezers had defrosted, calling out in the middle of like carnival barkers: “Vaccinations, vaccinations, come and get your vaccinations.”
To counter this, we had and continue to have the “anti-vaxers” proclaiming: “Sheeples, the vaccine was created by little purple people from Mars who are intent on gaining control of your minds.” Good one, yeah — almost as good as shooting bleach into your body.
To counter this unfounded fear of the vaccine, doctors from UC Davis created a parody of a Hamilton hit, “I’m Not Throwing Away My Shot.” It’s pretty humorous but makes its point quite clearly. Seeing the faces of those doctors singing, I am amazed at the fortitude of the human spirit to turn so much pain into a positive.
Americans have always been adaptable, but within weeks, it was evident how quickly we were ready to move on with our lives. The lines that once filled Dodgers Stadium for COVID tests, were quickly replaced by those waiting to get their first shot of vaccine.
My friend who is COVID-obsessed (you know the ones who spend all day stalking the internet for COVID tidbits) and I made a pact. “If you hear of a place giving out extra vaccines, call me immediately!” was the agreement we settled upon.
I remember when the vaccine first made its way to Palm Springs, it was like something out of a sci fi flick. People in disposable white suits lifted off the pages of the “Andromeda Strain” began shooting little old people in the arms.
And, they lived!
Conversations soon became code: “Which did you get? The ‘P’, ‘M,’ or ‘J&J’?” I always want to respond, “I got the P&J on white bread.”
Over the past weeks there has been greater access to the vaccine, so the state expanded criteria to 16-64 with health conditions – no questions asked. I was always a big fan of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, so I see this as yet another opportunity for those who have decided “enough is enough,” as we’ve seen there are still a fair number of those who don’t see the need to get vaccinated. Fine more for me!
Since the P and M are two-shot doses, for those of you who like surprise endings, here’s a spoiler alert – don’t read on if you want a surprise that could happen after shot #2.
I had heard that most folks took the first shot reasonably well, but there was a fair chance that you could get a reaction from shot #2.
Who? Moi? I exercise six days a week, it couldn’t possible affect me.
Imagine my surprise when I work up the night after my second shot, teeth chattering, thirsty as a desert dog and walking into walls. My chills were so bad that three blankets and a robe did little to dissipate my fever. Oh, and don’t forget the aches. My bones felt like I was 90-years-old.
The next day, I googled “vaccine side-effects” and saw, yes, these were common. The good news I also read, was it was a sign the vaccine was doing its job and working its way through my system.
Well, that’s a relief.
Since that shot, I have recovered quite nicely, and had one really emotional evening. I cried profusely realizing with great gratitude that my loved ones (who all now have had at least one shot) and I had survived the worst of this gawd-awful pandemic. I realized how each and every human being on this planet suffered one of the worst years imaginable, and it is very humbling that a microscopic spiked ball could bring the world to its knees.
Coming out the other end, I find myself increasingly optimistic about our future and frequently hum that Gloria Gaynor anthem: “I Will Survive.”
Now, if I could stop having those dreams about little purple people sticking probes in my ears, I would be just fine.
And with that, I end this as “Poolside from PS.”