After years and years of knowing how I should really get a flu shot, I finally got my first one ever! And I did it on the same day I got my third COVID shot.
And holy crap was that a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong, being vaccinated is not a mistake. After living out the reality of a global pandemic, it should be more apparent than ever how important it is for us to protect ourselves from these terrible viruses so we don’t pass them on to others and cause massive outbreaks which cause things to shut down entirely. And there’s the whole not wanting other people to die thing, I suppose. Or even wanting to keep yourself from dying.
Look, what I’m trying to say is that there are plentiful reasons to get yourself vaccinated against anything we have the shot for. I’m no anti-vaxxer. I’m 100% pro-vax. Not even pro-choice-vax if I’m really being honest here. The only reason I haven’t gotten the flu vaccine before is my regularly mentioned fear of needles, and laziness.
So, when I found out that I could schedule COVID booster online and they would throw in a flu shot with zero extra effort, I decided to do my civic duty and get vaccinated to protect the nation.
And honestly, I’m getting so good at needles (even though they still terrify me) that I really barely noticed them at all. And I went home, finished my work day, hung out with the family, feeling tired from a long weekend, but no other ill effects.
And then, as soon as I put down my book to try to put myself to sleep, I became overwhelmed with the most violent chills I have ever felt in my life. My body convulsed in reaction to how absolutely frozen it felt while I tried to contain it so as to not wake up my wife. For the next hour I sat in bed trying to wrap my blankets as tightly around me as possible while I continued with my spasms, wanting to get into a hot shower or bath, but knowing that outside of my tight cocoon was only additional cold.
Finally, I got up the willpower to drag myself out of bed and into the shower, turning it on a level of magma-esque heat that my skin recognized as far too hot, but still didn’t completely stop the shivering. For a period of time that will be forever unknown, except, perhaps, by my water and electricity providers, I sat in that water, knowing that while this felt better than the previous option, the heat in the water would run out at some point, and I needed a new strategy.
Again, I worked up the willpower to exit the heat of the shower, get dried and dressed, before running to the couch in my office, where I created a new cocoon of multiple layers, lied down, and turned on the space heater which I’m sure was probably too close to me to not be considered a fire hazard, but was almost enough to bring me some peace from the involuntary shaking, while I then drifted in and out of sleep until the early morning.
But about 5am, covered in sweat while also still suffering from the occasional spasm, I finally left my office to head back to the bedroom, where I would get nearly an hour and a half of uninterrupted sleep before the morning began and everyone needed to be sent through the morning routine to get off to their places for the day.
And for the rest of the day, I still was cold and sweaty, while I did the bare minimum to get through the requirements of the day, just feeling all around like I was in a battle with the flu itself, and wishing that I could sleep. But, since I had too much to do at work, and I work from home, I really didn’t feel like I had that as an option.
It was a rough 24 hours of reaction to one or both of the shots I received that day. But, it’s still a heckuva lot better than if I were to get the bad version of either one of those diseases. And even better knowing that throughout all of this unwellness, I wasn’t contagious, because I wasn’t sick, my body was just learning to be stronger.
That being said, I wish I had gotten these shots before it got so cold outside.