The ides of March were pretty epic for this Julius yesterday as I got my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. After one year of worry and stress and fear, one year of not hugging anyone outside of my little bubble, one year of avoiding Target and Michaels and HomeGoods, I am on my way to developing immunity to this disease.
I’ll be honest and say that it’s taking me some time to let that settle.
The process was simple enough, although securing the appointment was a mixed bag of frustration and disappointment. Finally, after no success with the state website or various pharmacy websites, a coworker gave me a phone number to call. Fifteen minutes on hold last Tuesday and my appointment was made, a word of mouth situation that I am thankful to have heard about but dismayed to realize that this is how the process works. My trip to Boston was a breeze, and the entire process lasted about 20 minutes, from checking in to getting the shot (from a very kind National Guardsman) to waiting for 15 minutes afterwards. The staff was friendly, and as I sat down and let out a breath I felt my eyes fill with tears. I held back for the sake of those around me but I was thisclose to the ugly cry. I felt like the immense weight I’ve been carrying since last year lightened some, that I could breath a bit more easily. But even more than that feeling of relief was the gratitude I felt. Gratitude that I had been lucky enough to avoid the virus, gratitude for science and health care and opportunity, gratitude for the kindness of all of the people at this vaccination site and particularly for the two nurses who saw my tears and smiled at me and said they truly understood, gratitude for knowing that my protection has begun.
The emotional fall out of this year is still to be determined. How much of myself did I lose from fear and worry, how much of my life slipped by without travel or restaurants, theater or concerts, parties or celebrations? Can I accept that the year was not wasted but was rather an opportunity to learn what truly matters? Can I resume a level of activity that feels safe without causing anxiety and panic? This all remains to be seen.
What I know for sure is that I’ve taken a step towards whole living again. I’ve subjected myself to a jab in the arm, potential side effects, and a 3 week wait for shot 2, in order to feel safe in the world at large in about 5 weeks.
The irony of being a Julius and receiving the vaccine on the Ides of March is not lost on me. I sure hope it turns out better for me than it did for that other Julius.