I’m aware that everyone has a different reaction. For myself, I found it helpful, before I got my second shot, to know that there was a range of possible responses, from minimal to more dramatic. It made it less scary. I hope that sharing my experience can be helpful. It wasn’t fun, but I’m sure glad I did it.

Intelligence bulletin warns of potential for violence at Capitol on March 4—CBS News

Military Took Hours to Deploy National Guard Jan. 6 After ‘Frantic’ Pleas—Bloomberg

US coronavirus: CDC director urges people to keep masking and distancing ‘regardless of what states decide’—CNN

March 3, 2021

The second shot
by Ruth Neuwald Falcon, Seattle, Washington

It’s odd to be feeling sick when I know that what it is is an immune response and that it will pass soon. Knowing that is psychologically helpful but it doesn’t help with the physical experience. Feeling sick is feeling sick.

I spent yesterday afternoon lying around watching TV, having been knocked off my feet by the second immunization I received on Monday. At first, I thought I was among those who skated through it, feeling tired, perhaps, with an achy arm, but nothing too dramatic. Last night, however, I lay in a fog with a temperature of 100.7. My muscles ached. My skin hurt, a feeling I remember from childhood, always a sure sign, along with a strange slightly metallic taste in my mouth, that I was getting sick. But this time, I wasn’t getting sick. I had been made a little sick in the service of preventing real illness.

A friend has recently started chemo for breast cancer. “I was sick as a dog the next day,” she said matter of factly after her first treatment. I didn’t have to have chemo, for which I have always felt both relieved and guilty, as if I didn’t fully pay my breast cancer dues. I did have radiation, another process that does damage in the service of healing, only extended over seven weeks of incremental frying of flesh. One is grateful for such life-saving treatments at the same time as one is made miserable by the pain and discomfort.

I talked with a different friend this afternoon. She got her second shot a week ago and is still feeling the effects. “If I’d have known how bad I’d feel,” she said, “I might not have done it.” I don’t have any such doubts. If this is how my immune system is responding to the prophylaxis, my heart goes out even more to those who have suffered the aches and pains, chills and fevers, of the real thing. I am beyond grateful for these hours of discomfort.

And I learned something about myself. It turns out I don’t like lying around watching television in the afternoon. 


  1. Ruth, Glad you are fully inoculated, Hopefully you will feel good as new soon. I will get my second inoculation in a couple of weeks. I will be forewarned to plan some down time. Day time TV does not have much to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just had my 1st on Monday. 29th for the 2nd. Thanks for the good news on how you felt. There are three people in my physical therapy shop. Both guys had some hangover (headaches, tired) but the female type person had none!

    Luv U, of course,



    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth, I’m sorry for your discomfort but know it won’t last. My second dose left my arm much sorer than the first, but I’ve felt grateful for the reminder that I might actually be able to get my hair cut and dine outdoors soon. And I always have something recorded on my dvr that I can watch during the day when nothing good is on. Best wishes for a better year ahead for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really appreciate your reflection on how even a bit of discomfort for a day or two after having your second vaccination is worth the effort, dear Ruth. May you feel better and better in each day to come!

    Liked by 1 person

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