Friday, October 8, 2021

Fearless Friday - vaccines

I was thinking that vaccines fitting the phallic Friday mode because of that pointy insertion thing (big grin) but then I noticed my last post was Fearless and on a similar topic, so I'm on the Fearless one...but still thinking about the pointy, pokey, insertion thing.

I'm in a very strange land. Not just living in NSW where the Delta strain of Covid took off and spread (to other parts of NSW and Aus), but also because I've a science training but I live mostly in the woo-woo lands now. Covid has really pushed buttons for me and made me face a lot of things.

My science training should have me all gung-ho about medicine...but my science training also taught me to read between the lines, look for the raw data, see the evidence, question everything.

My life has also made me somewhat of a skeptic about blindly following the 'pharmaceuticals have an answer/cure for everything' creed that seems to be somewhat rife in society. This isn't a recent thing, in high school females get a Rubella vaccination (to stop you getting German Measles if you fall pregnant). I don't suppose this is compulsory, but I was a kid so it wasn't my decisions. So, 120 girls line up to get their shot. 119 girls merrily go back to school without any issue. 1 kid, yep me, goes home and spends 2 weeks sick with german measles. This is my first memory of medicine and me not quite seeing eye-to-eye.

I've had a couple of flu vaccines in my life - and been sick afterwards. One doctor even suggested that I'd probably be better not having them. Thank you Doc :)

In my 30s, I got Ross River Fever and Glandular fever, which led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS has made me super super sensitive to so many things (or maybe CFS made me aware of my super sensitivity). I make choices all the time - noisy restuarant or take away? trust someone else's cooking (I can't do gluten) or cook myself? walk or work? family visit or much needed rest after busy week? buy clothes or have acupuncture? buy frivilous household item or buy chinese herbs? The list is endless.

So then we come to the Covid vaccine question. 

Everything I've read about covid (plus a family memebr having it) lets me know it's similar to Ross River Fever, and Long Covid is like CFS. I know what these are like; I don't want them (again).

But vaccines and me! I would love to be a foster carer of bats (I used to do it back in the old days) but you need to be vaccinated to do it. I decided against risking that vaccination, so I no longer care for bats. It was a tough decision to make, but the best one for me (I think).

After thinking long and hard, and reading anything scientific I could lay my hands on, I made a few decisions. One was that I would wait for spring until getting vaccinated because I wanted to be healthy before having it, and winter isn't the best time for my health.

Then Sydney got the Delta strain sweeping through...and outwards. As it came closer, Mr E began to worry and pester me about getting vaccinated - any time, any vaccine, just get it done. It was the media and government push too. And it was saturating. Everywhere I turned the same message was being hammered in (and turning was mostly on social media and TV/radio because we were in lockdown). 

I'd made my decision and it was bloody hard to stick to it with communal fear and peer pressure, along with government messaging, being incessant. But I know my body. I know what's best for me. And I knew I had to wait until spring.

And then vaccination being compulsory got thrown around. That really got my back up. As someone who had made my own independent decision and assessment, and I was only waiting, I felt for those who'd made a decision not to be vaccinated. The pressure was (and is) horrendous.

I don't care why people have made a decision to remain unvaccinated. That's their call and their decision. They feel they need to make that decision for their body, then I'm not judging. I've made similar decisions for other vaccines. To lose your right to choice, is a big step for humanity, and not one I'm happy to take. So each to their own.

But with each passing day, the pressure to override my personal choice was huge.

Thank goodness for a few supportive people around me who were calm, clear-headed, and listened to my reasoning. It was reassuring for someone to say, "Oh, you've thought about this then." I mean, usually such a sceptical comment would have my back up, but this was pretty much the best I could get so I had to take it! LOL!

I don't live in a city. I don't consider that I'm remote either. But the GPs here didn't get much supply. When they did, they prioritised those in retail and others. And I applauded that. If the virus got into the retail workers, our little town would have all been affected by covid because we all go to at least one of those shops daily. 

I rang a couple of times to see if the vaccination appointments were open yet - and was told no. And then, after a few weeks, one of the ladies said I could fill in the paperwork, drop it in, and be on the waiting list. Perfect. I did that. 

Unexpectedly, I got a cancellation and got my first shot a month ago. 3 weeks later, my second shot. I wish I could tell you that all was well...but it's me and my precious, sensitive body. When I was up for #2, the Dr asked how we'd all gone with #1 - yep, only me affected. There was maybe 15-20 people in the group (we had group, outdoor vaccinations - incredible for community spirit!).

So, in the last month, this is how I've been:

  • 6 full days in bed doing preety much nothing but sleep and stagger to the loo
  • 8 full days where I managed to do some of the day job, but had naps, and didn't manage to cook dinner
  • 4 days at 'picking up' level

In that time, I've drunk an ocean of water, taken pain killers, slept with my arm on a soft pillow, had more Ross River flash-backs and pain than you'd ever want. Where I had been walking most days, this past month, I've done maybe 4 walks (mostly shorter than usual). I just don't have any energy to spare.

So, more than half of the last month, I've been "sick". The rest of the month, I've been "getting better". I made a choice to do this to myself. It wasn't an easy choice. The last month has been hell on my mental health (on top of the lockdown and general insanity of the world) and my physical health. Over the past 16 years with CFS, I've worked my arse off to be as healthy as I possible can be, and I needed every single trick I've learned to remain as healthy as I have during this past month.

Vaccination should never be compulsory.

I can't imagine how I'd have healed if I hadn't have been allowed to make the choice to take those jabs myself. 

For those who, like Mr E, find vaccinations a minor inconvenience, I hope you can appreciate another side to that story. 

I wouldn't wish the last month on anyone. But years of having covid/long covid, no thanks. I've done that with another virus, and I doubt I could go through that again. This past month has been a reminder enough.

And that's my vaccination story. I'm almost a week past #2 and in the 'picking up' stage. Hopefully, I can keep healing and soon be back to how I was a month ago! Fingers crossed. I miss my photo walks.

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