Been there, done that

The culmination of an intensive fortnight of medical activity came this afternoon when I had my first COVID19 vaccination.

Family members may be surprised at this, given that I had previously said I was in no tearing hurry to get it done. This was partly based on advice that radiation treatment is immuno-suppressive. As previously posted, however, my radiation oncologist’s advice was contrary to this. In fact, he urged me to get the vaccine (he didn’t suggest any particular one). I subsequently checked on the web site of my usual GP clinic. They said that patients in category 1B like me should wait to hear from them. My beloved, however, rang them; in this way she got the names of a couple of clinics nearby which were getting a much bigger supply of doses. I was able to get an appointment at one of these.

I didn’t know whether I would experience side effects from the jab. My appointment was in the afternoon. When vaccination day rolled around today, I therefore did the food shopping and washing in the morning. The clinic was in Kew Junction, a suburb I know a little (my tour of duty in a public library service had included a stint at Kew Library). As well as filling in the usual registration form, I had to take along some proof that I was a cancer patient. I was a bit stumped by this requirement at first; no-one has written me a letter saying I have cancer. However, I took along the results from my last CT scan, which the clinic accepted as fulfilling its requirements. After only a short wait, I got my jab.

The injection itself was not painful; most of the people giving them out will have done a fair number by now. The nurse gave me the usual warnings, among which I was delighted to receive one that I may become nauseated! On my way back out to the waiting room, I congratulated the nurse on not having said “nauseous”. She asked me if I had learned Latin; I replied that I hadn’t, but was a former librarian, and therefore a pedant. We then had a brief but satisfying exchange about our respective lexical crotchets. This must have gone down well: while I was waiting the recommended 15 minutes post the injection, the nurse sought me out and gave me a Freddo frog. (Being a professional, she would possibly have done this anyway. She did say it was for medicinal purposes.) This was actually my first ever milky top Freddo, the top half of which had an unexpected but rather nostalgic flavour of condensed milk. As Dad would say, I manfully forced it down.

By now, a few hours later, I can say that neither the vaccine nor the Freddo was troublesome. I can feel that something a bit unexpected has gone into my arm. The arm isn’t exactly sore, however; I am just conscious of it. Generally I feel fine, and was easily able to pilot myself back to base, with a short detour via Maling Road for a late lunch. So, if anyone isn’t sure whether to get the jab, I would say “Go for it!”. From what I can work out, someone in my age range who has the Astra-Zeneca vaccine has about one chance in a million of dying from a blood clot. This seems like pretty good odds, and compares favourably to my risk of developing the same complication were I to contract COVID19.

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