White Mountains Pemi Loop hiking trail

COVID Vaccine Update

No hiking for me today.

The last 24 hours have been rough. Vaccines are supposed to stimulate an immune response, albeit one that would be milder than the actual illness. And sure, compared to how most people feel after contracting COVID, I’m sure I got off lightly. That’s not to say it was fun, and it certainly is saying that it would have been wildly irresponsible for me to have left the house, let alone hit the trail.

All that said, I’ve heard from colleagues that their responses have run the gamut. Some have been sick as a dog, some have experienced fairly mild reactions. Last time, I couldn’t raise my arm above the level of my shoulder for most of a day. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t have that problem this time. Acting on the advice of a colleague, I massaged my shoulder before the jab, and then every couple hours throughout the afternoon and evening — at least until it really hurt to do so. (I had an increase of point tenderness as the day wore on, which is in-line with what happened last time.) And recovery has been swift: around mid-afternoon, things took a turn for the better, and now, I have just residual effects. Just feeling a little under the weather, but that’s clearing up by the hour.

So what do I recommend for you, my reader? When offered, roll up your sleeve! Yes, I felt like crap all night long, and no, I didn’t sleep much. However, the vaccines being offered in the US are both greater than 90% effective. In many other parts of the world, not far from that. What else in life offers 90% effectiveness? I lost a day to being sick in bed. But as I mentioned, it’s clearing up very quickly, so I’ll have only lost a single day.

What do I get for my troubles?

The peace of mind has been tangible. Wow, that’s been the biggest, most lasting effect. I haven’t felt paranoid going to the grocery store, for example. Yes, when I’m out and about, I’m still doing the usual — wear a mask and so on. I still wear my N95 at work with religious fervor. But I’m thinking of COVID a lot less now. The extra mental room is quite apparent and I’m noticing I’m a bit more relaxed.

So unfortunately, I have overtime scheduled all the way through to next week. I won’t be hitting the trail at all until then. So, until then, perhaps consider reading a post on hiker safety. If for nothing else, it seems fitting. And yep, if you can get a spot in line for the vaccine, I wholeheartedly recommend it, and sooner rather than later. (I recommend budgeting a zero day after, in case you, like me, need to spend it in bed, recovering.) By denying the virus a host, you can help save lives, at the sole cost of feeling crummy for perhaps a day or so. He who saves one life, it is as if he has saved the world. A day in bed, in exchanging for saving lives. Not a bad trade, in my humble opinion.

As always, stay safe out there.

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