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COVID-19 Vaccine: Part II

Hello, it’s me again, your freshly vaccinated columnist, here to tell you about Dose No. 2.

It’s been 28 hours since I got my second jab of the Moderna vaccine, and I admit I was more nervous about this one.

I’d heard stories.

Moderna can pack a wallop the second time. Some people, experts emphasize, not all people, may suffer from temporary flu-like symptoms.

That’s all I needed to hear.

Ever since my first dose a month ago, I had been bracing for the moment when I would become one of those “some people.” I would be that person who shows up at the wedding reception and is assigned to the table full of the unhappy relatives as payback for all those years of insisting God loves everyone, no exceptions. Our table is just outside the bathrooms. The pasta pomodoro has arrived just as a toilet in the Signori room has begun to overflow. We know this by what is happening to our shoes.

At the risk of explaining the obvious, I am a worrier. The number of hours I spent worrying about Dose No. 2 could have produced eight columns, 40 newly graded student essays and 10,000 words in my next novel. Instead, I showed up for my full-time, unpaid job as conjurer of worst-case scenarios. I’m not proud of this.

So, the big day came, and this time, I had to walk into a building. Big change from driving through the county fair 4-H barn and lowering my window for the shot. This was my first entry into a public building in more than a year. It was quick and painless, and what a joy to return to that pre-pandemic pastime of trying to remember where I parked my car. Forty minutes later, I was back on the road.

Before I tell you about the next 28 hours, I want to make something clear: I was going to welcome whatever side effects came my way. I have always wanted to know what it would be like to meet the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.

And when that little adventure was over, I was going to be Ebenezer Scrooge throwing open that window and calling with joy to that lad in the snow, telling him to go buy that turkey in the window:

From my 1939 paperback of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens:

“‘It’s Christmas Day!’ said Scrooge to himself. ‘I haven’t missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow!’

‘Hallo!’ returned the boy.

… ‘Go and buy it!'”

The poulterer’s man arrives, and Scrooge pays for his cab so that he can deliver it, anonymously, to Bob Cratchit’s home:

“The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried.”

Me, right there. I was going to be like Scrooge, full of tears and happiness after the side effects floated away like ghosts out my bedroom window.

Alas, it wasn’t so. My arm is a bit tender, and my head ached slightly this afternoon for about an hour, but it appears the worst is behind me.

This is me chuckling and waving from the table by the restrooms, so very grateful to be here.

——

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

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