Side effects

A post about my time in the hospital is coming, but I haven’t had much time to work on it this week. In the meantime, I have a health update that has nothing to do with my heart issues. On Wednesday, January 26, I visited my local Harris Teeter pharmacy to pick up a prescription. While I was there, I took the opportunity to get my second dose of the shingles vaccine. (It’s normally given in two doses, 2-6 months apart, and I had received my first on September 11.) I was advised of the possibility of side effects, but I wasn’t concerned; I generally don’t have side effects from vaccines other than the inevitable sore arm.

But the next day, Thursday, I was feeling distinctly under the weather. I had two symptoms. First, I felt very tired all day. This wasn’t the kind of fatigue I was experiencing in December, because that was accompanied by shortness of breath, and I am breathing fine now. But it was debilitating. The other symptom was that I felt cold. My apartment can feel chilly in the winter months, but normally I address that by putting on more clothing: a long-sleeved pullover, warm slippers, or fingerless gloves if my hands are feeling cold. In this case, though, I felt cold no matter how much I bundled up, and my fingers were like icicles.

I looked up the known side effects of the vaccine, and these are pretty typical. They usually pass in two or three days at most. So this is just a temporary inconvenience. But I wasn’t very productive on Thursday. Toward the end of the day, the effects began to ease. I stopped feeling cold, but I was still very tired, and I ended up going to bed early because I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else.

If this is the price I have to pay for the vaccine, it’s acceptable. I have talked with people who had shingles, and it sounds truly awful. The main symptom is excruciating pain. I am willing to put up with feeling sick for a day or two if it enables me to avoid that.

On Friday morning, I felt fine. So the side effects only lasted for one day.

One thought on “Side effects

  1. I had shingles when I was 16 (my case was very rare given my age). I’ve since been vaccinated, but having had it myself I can attest to how painful it is. It’s hard to move or have any clothing rub up against your skin. Vaccination for this is wise.

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