Note: #281––Will post on Sunday, February 28!
Some people are afraid to get the Covid vaccine, but I’m not. Six years ago, my first week of chemo treatment was the biggest assault I had ever had on my body and chemo left me with a compromised immune system. And I’ve had allergic reactions with some vaccines. Even so, I’m going to get the vaccine when I get the opportunity.
If I could survive this week, I can survive anything!
It was the third week in October 2014
–On Monday, I was given radio-active isotopes for a PET Scan in Eugene. I was in serious pain, and it was excruciating to lie motionless for 45 minutes in the huge scanner.
–On Tuesday, I was given more radio-active isotopes in Florence for a heart MUGA scan to see if my heart was up to the rigors of chemotherapy. But the machine wasn’t working properly. I laid there on a flat, metal surface in pain for at least an hour, before I was asked to come back the next day.
–On Wednesday, I was given even more radio-active isotopes. These are hard on your body even one time. and I had them three days in a row. I was probably glowing. This time the machine worked fine, and I passed my test––sort of. My heart function was “on the lower end of normal but should be able to tolerate chemo.” This was not exactly resounding but evidently good enough. (I did not know this until months later. Ah, the bliss of ignorance.)
–On Thursday, I started chemotherapy in Eugene. From 8:30 a.m. until around 5 p.m. when we left, I was being injected or infused with medications, most of which were chemo. The one most difficult for the body to accept was the first one that they dripped in very slowly––took 3 ½ hours. I had four chemo meds total and a bunch of others to combat side-effects. I went home exhausted.
–On Friday, I went to the hospital in Florence for a shot of Neulasta, which I took after every chemo session. It makes your bones ache, but it helps build back the white blood cells to fight off infection when taking strong chemo. It has so many potentialy serious side-effects, that if I’d read them, I would’ve refused to take it. Once again, the bliss of ignorance.
During most of this week and for several weeks prior, I was in serious pain. I was taking Hydrocodone every three hours around the clock and it only took the edge off. But a miracle happened mid-way through that first day of chemo. The pain went away and never came back. Consequently, I became an instant fan of chemo and stopped the Hydrocodone cold. Man, if I could survive that week, I could survive any vaccine. Chemo did do a real number on my immune system, but I think it mostly bounced back.
And I survived allergic reactions to past vaccines!
My history with vaccines has been checkered, very up and down.
–When I was six, I had the DPT vaccine (Diptheria, Pertusus [whooping cough], and Tetanus) and had a serious reaction. My arm swelled up really big, I got very sick, and I still remember. It left quite a scar. When people ask about it, I sometimes make up an exciting story involving a gunshot.
–When I was 14 in 1956, I received the polio vaccine injection. Later, around 1960 or 61, I had the Sabin oral vaccine administered through three doses in sugar cubes. I had no problem with those, and what a relief to be safe from polio.
–When I was 33, I had a Tetanus booster and my arm swelled up so much, I had to cut the sleeve of my shirt. And I developed a fever and was fairly sick. The doctor said to never get another Tetanus shot. And I haven’t.
–About 20 years ago, I had a fairly bad reaction to a flu shot, so I’ve never had another one.
–When I was 70ish, I had a shingles vaccine and a couple months later, a pneumonia vaccine and no problems with either.
Even though, I’ve had these problems with vaccines, I’ll take my chances with the Covid vaccine. I definitely don’t want to get sick with Covid-19.
I’m sure I can survive the Covid vaccine!
I became eligible on Monday, February 15, and thought I was already on a waiting list. I discovered I wasn’t and called the hospital scheduling desk. On Thursday, February 18, I called at 8 a.m. and was placed on a waiting list. The gal on the phone was friendly, but not encouraging. She said it could be weeks because they never knew when they would be getting some or how much. And with the cold weather, everything was delayed. She suggested that I might want to contact BiMart or Safeway and try their pharmacies.
So, I was very surprised when about 2:30 p.m. the same day, I received a call from the hospital saying that they could schedule me right then for a shot. Could I come in that afternoon? I was there 30 minutes later, and it takes 20 minutes to get there.
I wasn’t the only one there. We were all given a number, and there was a wait of about a half hour. The shot was given in a room with a doctor and no one else present. Then each of us was sent to a waiting room, where we were seated six feet apart and watched for either 15 or 30 minutes. I had to wait the longer time because of my vaccine history. Other than being a little warm, I felt fine.
After I left and was in the car, I took off my mask and looked in the mirror and saw that I was very red on my cheeks and nose and they were hot to the touch and my face felt hot––very much like a hot flash. I went home and kept an eye on it. Within an hour, the redness and heat had lessened, and within three hours, I was totally back to normal. At the injection site, I had no swelling, redness, or soreness. The next morning, I had some soreness, but it was mostly gone mid-day.
My second shot is March 11, and I know the after-effects are supposed to be worse. So, I’ll let the person who is to watch me for 30 minutes know about the flushing on the first go-round.
Bottom line: I did survive my first Covid shot in spite of a possibly compromised immune system and an iffy history with vaccines. My hope is that everyone is able to get vaccinated with little or no after-effects.