I chose Pfizer this time because my second Moderna made me have a pretty miserable 24 hours. That’s probably an exaggeration. It was probably more like 18 hours. 18 hours of freezing, and shaking, and pain…. whenever I get any kind of flu or even cold, it always hits me so hard right where I already have pain, thumb joints, finger joints, hips, arches. It’s really not very good. Last time (Moderna second dose), I hit the bathtub, trying to get warm and sooth the joints, so many times over the course of those 18 hours that I used up all the hot water.
IMHO if you are a woman with menstrual cramps, or a human with arthritis, a shower just ain’t gonna cut it. You need a tub to soak in.
But what luxury do I have to be able to get in the bathtub a million times in one night? To both have a bathtub that is mine, and private, and clean, and to have all that water at my disposal, that is privilege. My mind boggles when I think of all the people around the world who are also getting these vaccines, but are unable to sooth the after-effects.
And here’s the thing: in those places, they’re getting the vaccines as soon as they can, and they may not even have access to them yet. They may not have a government that can buy them, over and over again, from the manufacturers. And they are expensive. Very well-educated people have to develop them, in many cases (and probably so with the Covid vaccines) working overtime to get them done fast. And, doing them fast, on overtime, does not mean doing them poorly. Scientists have been making flu vaccine since the 1930s. Covid is a flu. Scientists know how to make flu vaccines. So, yes, they can do it quickly without it genetically mutating you. If they wanted a vaccine that would genetically mutate you, that would take probably another hundred years, People. We’re not at the point where CRISPER can be done in a shot. So, think of the salaries of those very well-educated people, who went to college for a long and expensive time and did a LOT (beyond your imagination) of homework. Those people are, and have earned the right to be, expensive. And I don’t want the cheap folks working on this; do you? The ones with their AA from your local community college? Yes, that development is expensive. Then packaging and shipping it is expensive. Keeping it cold is expensive. Paying the pharmacies to house it, and give shots to the zillion people who show up: expensive. And our government can afford all of that. It can foot the bill for every single person here. We are lucky.
To not realize when you have privilege is common, and easy. It’s hard to see that you’re lucky to have a bathtub, especially if you have always had one. It’s had to think that you should feel lucky to be able to get a shot, especially if you don’t like shots, if you think anything is possible (like they can genetically modify you through the shot), if you believe some spiritual belief can protect you from the shot, if you think “I have never gotten the flu, so I’m not going to get this.” No one can tell you with certainty that you will get Covid if you don’t get the shot. That is 100% true. And it is also 100% true that the large majority of infections since the shots have been in place have been in unvaccinated people. And some of us, who have chemo or otherwise poor immunity, are catching it, even after vaccination, from an unvaccinated person.
What would you do if you infected someone, and he or she died? Or ended up with the long-haul Covid? Or even ended up for a time on a ventilator, from which recovery is not easy? What would you do?
Send a basket of fruit? Send thoughts and prayers? How would you apologize for that?
So, I have to say, that this time, given a choice, I chose Pfizer, because everyone I know who got Pfizer (and in the spring we got what we could get, right?) did not get sick from the vaccine, #1 or #2. So, for my #3 (booster) I signed us up for Pfizer. And Friday I was fine. And yesterday I woke up in flu-agony again. Arm hurt. Arthritis hurt like a MF. Nausea. Arrrgh! Whole day gone. And at around 8 last night I gave up and popped an Advil PM to sleep it off. Which, pretty much, I did. Arthritis is still a little touchy, but I am through the worst of it.
I cannot imagine if my daughter got this, and I could not do anything to make her feel better. I mean, if this is a small taste of what the actual illness feels like, geez. I cannot imagine. We are so lucky because she went back into the classroom this year at age 12, old enough to be vaccinated. If she had not been, would we have sent her? IDK. Dad works from home, so we could have kept her home, but it would not have been the best for her brain, but, a brain is no good in a ravaged body, so we might have kept her home. It’s not forever, right? It’s temporary. But, we’re lucky. She was vaccinated when she went back to school. I was vaccinated when I went back to school. Dad was vaccinated when she and I went back to school, so he was protected from us. My students are protected from me. And, because I teach at college, I have no idea if I am protected from them. I just found out that some guy who I always have to tell to put his mask on went home with Covid. So, there you are. Not everyone cares about each other, or is telling the truth about their status. Why should anyone care about me? I’m just the teacher. I’m there to care about them. Why should they care about the student right next to them? This is their education, not that person’s. That person is on his/her own.
Have the 80s come back?
So, yes, out of this whole year I have had 2-3 miserable days of pain and suffering due to getting the vaccine. And I would do it again, though I hope the booster turns out to be enough, and it could, if the hold-outs would get vaccinated. But, the more the rest of us are vaccinated, the more the peer pressure will make them dig in and refuse, just to prove they can.
They are so privileged, because they live in a place where the vaccine is free, and there is plenty of it, and enough of us are vaccinated to help them be a little safer. The whole world does not have that luxury.
So yes, I had a rotten weekend. And I’d do it again, for my husband, for my daughter, and for you.
An even better question is, “When is the last time you updated your own page?”
Are you a published writer? You gotta link your page to your blog, and keep it updated. Go in every so often and change your photo, etc. I always find it strange when I meet a writer who looks nothing like his/her photo because the photo is so old. Get rid of your HS yearbook photo and update it. Listen, you may have a wrinkle or two you didn’t have before, but your true fans wanna see you. The real you. Sometimes, if you look at your page as if you don’t know you, it can give you a boost, seeing all you’ve done, or it can give you some juice, seeing, “I can do more!”
Do you know the words to the Pink Panther theme song by the great Henri Mancini?
The words are, “Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead aunt dead auuuuunt de-eh-eh-ed aunt.” And so on.
At exactly 3:08 pm yesterday I heard my dead aunt say my name.
My dead aunt, when she was alive, had a habit, throughout her life, that I was not fond of. She was a practitioner, nay, even a master, of the pop-in.
She was my mother’s older sister, significantly older, so she seemed to feel she had the right to do certain things, one of which was to pop-in.
And, as my mother never kept her door locked, and never would have turned her sister away anyway, my aunt could always pop-in.
This usually meant that whatever was happening at home, from cooking dinner to eating dinner, from hanging laundry on the line, to playing a game as a family, to being about to leave to go to a movie, or to the beach for a week, whatever it was, it had to stop, immediately, and wait until my aunt decided the pop-in was over. And, frequently, my aunt showed up to complain about her very emotionally cruel husband, or just to be vague and ask all of us a lot of questions to try to make some conversation as she was bored, her husband was cruel, and her kids had gotten the hell out of there as soon as they could, so she was lonely, and alone. I knew it, and I loved her, but geez, she had bad timing. As an example, she refused to come to the baby shower my friends threw me for adopting Sophie; she didn’t cotton to the whole adopting from another race and country thing, but she didn’t mind showing up just when we were about to leave (I was home from CA and staying with my mom) and making us all an hour late. We were literally on the front step when she pulled up, and my mother, who had the only car at the time, turned around and marched back into the house and sat down, clutching her keys so that we knew we were not escaping without her. My aunt slowly lumbered out of her car, up the drive, and into the house, and I had to make everyone tea and get out cookies. My aunt spent the hour or so dropping little hints about the adoption not being a good idea, was generally unencouraging and moody, and, I think, handed me a 50 dollar bill before she sighed a long sigh and left. Boy, was it fun driving to that shower with my mother after that (as my mother always thought her sister knew best because she was older, and she had married very rich), because now my mother was also in opposition to the adoption plan, and anxious about being so very late to a shower where my father’s girlfriend was also going to be, and where they all had been kindly and awkwardly waiting for us for over an hour by the time we arrived. My other aunt, my mom’s best friend, showed up and was a lot of fun. Here’s to dearly departed Aunt Peg, who I enjoyed enough to almost be willing to see while she is dead.
I want to pause here and say that we all have a birth-family, and a childhood family, and they may or may not be the same family, but when you get your very own, grown-up family (GUF), that you put together out of your chosen combination of spouse, kids, friends, pets, etc., your GUF should come first, people.
OMGosh. Do I really need to write that?
Yes. I do.
“I’m so sorry; we’re just headed out the door. I will call you_______” when I’m not headed to the movies with my kids for the last showing of (movie) that if we don’t leave now we will miss. SERIOUSLY.
When my aunt popped in she would open the front door, stick in her head, and say, “Dianne?” emphasis on ANNE, with a slightly louder-than-usual, slightly aggrieved-sounding voice.
That is what I heard yesterday, just when I had finished my long to-do of household chores, and, very hungry, was going to make a sandwich. I heard what sounded like the front door swooshing (my front door, not the one in the house where my aunt used to visit my mom), and my name, said in the same way (I am, unhappily, named after my mother.), “Di-ANNE?”
Lets face it, there are people I knew who are dead who I would love to see again for one last chat, except that, for all of them, universally, they’d be dead.
Dearly departed please don’t visit.
Dead people should stay dead and not visit.
No one has ever accused me of having a spiritual side. I do not believe in an afterlife, or a divine whatsit, or prayer, or past lives, or karma, or karma-chameleon, or zen, or chanting, or whatever. Nope. That dog don’t hunt in my worldview.
And so I knew that it was not my aunt yesterday, but just a trick of the milieu of house noises + hunger.
I do not believe my dead aunt was suddenly thinking of me, or that she died, years ago now, at exactly that moment, or that she wants to tell me she’s glad I got the child, or still recommends against getting the child, or that I should call my mother, or that she’s hanging out with my brother and he’s okay, or that the money she always meant to give me is hidden in the samovar, or whatever. And, in truth, for those who espouse such thoughts about their own lives, it sounds to me not unlike a tropical fruit that people have been known to slip on.
The sound I heard sounded like my aunt, but, of course (do I need to write “of course?”), it was not my aunt. But it did once again reaffirm for me that, no, no, no: dead people should not visit, and, in my view, it’s the thought of them being able to visit that makes horror so horrifying. And not because they’d be zombies or ghosts, but simply because they’d be back. And dead, and probably smell.
Dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead aunt, dead- I think Mancini must have felt the same way as me.
It’s Veteran’s Day in the US of A, and there are lots of things you can do to thank a veteran, like picking up the tab at Starbucks, or saying, “Thank you for your service,” or many other things.
One thing you can do is to read a man’s book. That’s right; there is nothing you can do that will make a writer happier than reading something he, or she, wrote.
William Crandell, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, happens to be a really talented writer in addition to being a veteran. He won the best short story nationally in 2019, in addition to his win in the state of Delaware.
Bill is releasing his first novel, one in a series of four starring hardboiled detective Jack Griffin, and he has already gotten a stellar review for it from Midwest Reviews.
Am I using a post about Veteran’s Day to hawk a man’s book? I am. It is no small thing to have served in a combat zone.
And, therefore, why not? What better gift could you give Bill than to read his book? He served; we should care, and while we have limited time and what-have-you, this is one way people who like writers and creative writing can also add in appreciation for veterans.
And, aside from that, this is really a very well-written book. It’s gonna grab you and transport you. And it’s fun; it has all that Humphrey-Bogart-patter you love in a good noir mystery.
At UMES, where I teach creative writing, I am trying to get my students interested in participating in a play about body positivity by (hopefully) writing or performing an individual piece.
To do that, I modeled:
#1. Drawing a picture of yourself, and then labelling your features (that is me, above)
#2. Writing a paragraph explaining your labels.
#3. Cutting the paragraph up into verse.
Did it go well for them? I’m not sure. So far no one has spontaneously volunteered!
It did go well for me. I have a whole new poem that I will attempt, in the coming months, to publish. Boy, that publishing thing is a slow process. My sympathy to those who ask me to publish them, and have to wait for me. There’s just not enough hours in the day.
In any case….
If you were to draw yourself, how would you label yourself, and why?
Poem with me, won’t you?
PS: I was wearing a mask when I did this drawing, but I drew me without it because it was an important part of who I am to show that I am waaaay toooo happy, all the time. It’s weird. Masks aren’t. Take care of each other. xo