Challenge,  Misc

Starting to Sink In that I am Vaccinated!

And So Is Kris…

I was actually vaccinated back in January and early February. I stood in line for four hours for the first shot, and five hours for the second. But there was no sign on the horizon that Kris was going to be vaccinated anytime soon at that point, so nothing changed at all for me.  I didn’t even give it a thought about changing anything.

Basically, for the entire 14 months, there were entire days I would never leave the condo, or if I did it was to go down to our office on the ground floor of this same building. On really exciting days I went grocery shopping. Sometimes I got us take-out lunch or dinner. In essence I did pretty much nothing like any smart person did. The goal was to stay alive and not sick at all for the entire year.

But after I got vaccinated, there was still no certainty that I couldn’t bring it home to Kris, so just as I had done all year, I did triple masking and a ton of sanitizer on everything I touched. Our poor new Cadillac from the grocery runs has so much hand sanitizer on the shift, steering wheel, and handles I think it is coated an inch thick.

Again Kris and I acted no differently than any sane person who didn’t want to die from this disease. And all year long we watched friends get sick and some of them die and that just made it even more frightening.

We tried to stay focused on writing and on helping others, but each day just went into the next. Again we were no different.

Then Kris got her first shot and we both started to feel a possible coming future.

And then she got her second shot.

We were both vaccinated and protected by the invisible shield.

And still nothing has really changed YET! But we are now starting to believe and now are starting to talk about future stuff and a next year again. Wow!

Kris did a blog she will be putting up about this feeling.

And for the first time in 14 months, we are going to see some friends and have dinner with them in a real live restaurant. The friends are all past their vaccination dates as we are. All shielded.

All safe.

So for me and Kris, it will be our first steps back into the real world. Still masked, of course, still using hand sanitizer, still staying our distance from anyone we don’t know.

But we have lived through this. We might die from something else, but we will not die from Covid. And that is taking some time to wrap my head around. Wow.

Just wow.

And if you haven’t gotten your shots yet, my simple question is why not? It’s free and safe. And might save your life.




  • tony

    Watch out crossing the street. As you say, ’tis not a silver bullet.
    Article on CNN said Vegas is *beginning* the slog out.
    Best of luck, and stay safe!

    • dwsmith

      Yup, May 1st we go to 80% capacity and will go to 100% when we get over 60% of all county residents vaccinated, which we are getting close to. Slog is right. Long ways from those totally empty streets and all casinos and restaurants shut down. I think at last count, we still have 8 or 9 major casinos still closed entirely. A couple might never open again, who knows.

  • Greg

    I got my first last week and yesterday felt like I was hit by a bus. Chills, burning up, could barely move. I guess the majority of adverse reactions hit the next day but mine waited a bit. Already feeling better and I guess it means my immune system is cranking up.

    I rarely take medicine or do flu shots or aspirin… normally I’d be the one to skip a vaccine. But I feel—just like staying home for the past 13 months—it’s for the good of everyone to do what we gotta do to end this. Just get the damn shot. You won’t even notice the microchip. 🙂

    • dwsmith

      Yup, and lucky for you that people ahead of you got the polio vaccine and all the rest of the deadly stuff that vaccines stop or prevent. So thank you!! From all the rest of us. Listen to Greg, folks. Get the shot no matter your normal patterns.

  • Michael W Lucas

    My local writers posse is meeting for lunch on 8 May, the first time in a year. We’re having a fried chicken picnic and will talk business and craft and WTF, all that good writerly stuff.

    As it’s a business meeting, we have an agenda. Agendas are important. I can hand it over to the IRS if they doubt our lunches are legitimate.

    This time, the first hour has been scheduled as “severe emotional reactions.”

    It’s better than Christmas.

  • Leah Cutter

    WA state opened up its vaccine eligibility last Thursday. I got my first vaccine last Friday. Blaze gets his first vaccine today. We would have gotten them sooner if we could have, but we weren’t eligible. While I felt some relief getting my shot, the amount of relief i felt after we got his appointment was amazing. We’re six weeks behind you, but we are also starting to finally look forward, beyond surviving the next day.

    • dwsmith

      Wow, what in the world went wrong in Washington and Oregon? Wait, don’t tell me. (grin) Last three times I have been in the grocery store, at some point around 4:30 pm the pharmacy puts out a call to anyone in the store that if they would like a vaccine, come to the pharmacy. And that is in the middle of Vegas. Major casinos and hotels are getting huge bonuses when every employee is vaccinated. Vegas very quickly will become very safe as far as those of us who live here.

    • Thomas E

      I’ve had my first vaccine (AstraZeneca because I’m in the U.K.) and am waiting impatiently until I’m eligible for my second dose.

      Can’t wait.

  • Susan Parker

    Hi Dean, great to hear – and yes I did note your comments in the Writing SF Short Stories workshop video about this and we (Ashley and myself) have been doing the same as much as we can. We hopefulyl get our second shots in May, which will be a releif but we are still going to be very cautious too 🙂

  • Annie Reed

    I know the feeling. I’m fully vaccinated, got the second shot the first part of this month. Hubby and our daughter got their second shots last Saturday. Since the middle of March 2020 there have been entire weeks that the only time I left my house was to do something in my yard (like take out the trash or get the mail — exciting stuff!). I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been inside a grocery store in all that time, but I’m in the high risk group due to age and chronic conditions, so hubby’s been doing all the grocery shopping.

    But my little family’s all vaccinated now. I can, if I want to, go to a store (fully masked and distanced) and not feel like I have to weigh whether the item I want to buy is worth potentially risking my life or bringing the virus home to my family because somebody else in the world isn’t being careful. It’s going to be hard to get used to.

    • dwsmith

      Very hard to get used to, but I plan on taking that fear out of my life as quickly as I can. (grin)

  • Stephanie

    So glad that you guys are fully vaccinated. And that so many people seem to be actively seeking vaccination.

    Here in Minnesota, that actively seeking crew is starting to decline, mostly due to a wider availability of the vaccine. At first, people were driving the full length of the state in some cases to get access to the vaccine. Now people are rescheduling follow up doses much closer to their homes/communities.

    The decline in vaccine uptake is ten times worse in surrounding states though.

    Only half our family has had both doses of vaccine. (Self, spouse and 17 year old) The other half (all three elementary and middle aged school kids) have to wait for FDA approval to expand availibility to their age groups. Current predictions suggest middle school kids will be able to get vaccinated before fall school start, and younger kids will be eleigible at the start of the New Year in 2022

    Can’t wait until vaccine is approved for kids. Won’t feel completely safe going out and about in the world until our three youngest kids are also immunized. Although scientists say ithe virus doesn’t hit kids as hard, they can still get very sick, even die. Several local kids spent a long time hospitalized and are still restricted from playing sports due to long term effects of the virus. And some of the new variants appear to be harder on kids. That’s before taking potential long term issues caused by the virus into account. Kids have a lot more ‘long term’ time left than us middle aged and older adults…and it looks like the vaccine won’t be open to kids until late fall this year/early spring of next year…

    • dwsmith

      Yup, kids are becoming more and more of a focus as it should be.

      And it is becoming more and more of a focus on parts of states and entire states and the stupidity of the governments in those areas. For example, Vegas might have the stupidest mayor in the country, by far. Yet the Governor of Nevada might be one of the smartest governors and flatly told her, “Nope, doing it my way.” And he won and we won thanks to him.

      Our problem is, of course, the really rural areas outside of Vegas and Reno area, which is most of the state in land mass and almost none of the population. The die-off will continue there. And most of the deaths in Nevada at the moment are the younger people. Hitting the 30s-40s hard here, even though they can get the shots.

      • Stephanie

        I think rural parts of the country everywhere are seeing a similar unwillingness to get the vaccine.

        Our state has seen the average age of those hospitalized drop to early forties, and slot of that seems driven by the rural population here.

  • Maggie King

    I live in rural Oregon and our county just got bumped to High Risk again. Unfortunately, many people around here stubbornly insist that covid is all a hoax (we live in a big-time conspiracy theorist area. They still get freaky about flouride in the water!). To be honest, I feel like I’m losing hope at times ~ and that life will never again resemble anything close to normal.

    • dwsmith

      Kris and I talk at times about how impossible it would have been for us on the Oregon Coast, in that rural area. We have a lot of friends there and their experience was much more difficult than ours here in Vegas. I honestly doubt we ever be back to “normal” again and I honestly believe that will not be a bad thing. We will all find a new normal. That’s what change does. Thank heavens we got out of rural Oregon and made that change before the pandemic forced this new change on us.

  • Zoe Cannon

    I’m right there with you. Since last March, I’ve only left my house four or five times (not counting walks on our sleepy street, where it’s possible to go for a half-hour walk without passing a single soul). My husband went to the grocery store every two weeks, and that’s basically it. He and I both got our first shot a couple of weeks ago. We finally retired our package quarantine area (between the vaccine and the new CDC guidance on surface contamination, it only makes sense, but boy does it feel weird to bring mail directly inside), and we’ll be taking our toddler to see her (vaccinated!) grandmother as soon as we’re two weeks past the second shot. I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get used to reentering the world, but it’s a good problem to have.

    One interesting side effect is that my motivation to write has abruptly dropped. Apparently I was using it as an escape a lot more than I thought. The writing is still getting done, but now I’m relying on habit to keep me going.

    • dwsmith

      Better to be habit than fear of dying. (grin) What worries Kris and I is that so many people after 14 months and counting will just have formed new habits and reentering the world just won’t happen in the same way. I know we are making a concerted effort to get out, but it does feel weird.

  • Rob Vagle

    I’m fully vaccinated and Ximena just got her second shot on Thursday. So we’re on our way.

    I felt a little guilty about getting the first shot in late January through ASU as all employees there were considered essential workers, when there were other high-risk groups to get the vaccine. The sooner everybody gets the vaccine, the better, so the guilt didn’t last long. And I’m happy to see how many vaccines have gone out in the U.S. (with a lot more to go, but progress).

    Mask use hasn’t changed. Still a habit.

    I’ve heard two of the largest Universities in California and a college In Minnesota have announced all students and employees will be required to be vaccinated in the fall. ASU hasn’t announced this officially, but it’s looking like they will go that way as well. I don’t know how they’ll enforce that on current employees who decline to be vaccinated. Just in the grounds department, I don’t think it’s an insignificant number of anti-vaxxers. I don’t think ASU can legally say to the public employees are vaccinated, but keep it on the down low that it’s only new employees. And some of the anit crowd believes ASU can’t force vaccination. Curious on how all that will shake out.

  • Kate Pavelle

    Congratulations on getting immunized! Our family is one shot short, but that will be remedied on May 5th. My husband and I are past our 2-week mark. For the first time in our lives we have all reaped a benefit from being “large people.” With our BMI over 30, Pennsylvania put heavier folk in line right with people with various other conditions. Signing up was hard, the slots were going fast. We got signed up by a friend, who got signed up by her friend and was passing it forward. Then 3-4 weeks later the frenzy to get a slot settled, and now it’s a matter to flush out the hesitant people and convince them that this is a good thing.
    I spoke with a neigbhor today. I had a question on a remodeling issue, and I came over with my mask on. Just common manners at this point. We were outside, and I mentioned I had my shots. “All of us had ours too,” he said, so off my mask went.
    It felt weird, kind of like a voluntary wardrobe malfuction 🙂
    As to lifestyle changes, I find I’m perfectly willing to order online and do curbside pickup for things I had never considered buying that way before. Grocery delivery has become an affordable convenience, and savings due to menu planning more than offset the fee and the tip.
    I think I’ll always have a pump bottle of sanitizer in my car door.
    One weird thing was getting sick with an unrelated bug and coming down with an ear infection. It was a rude reminder that ailments other than Covid still exist.