I’m not sure what I expected, really.
I’ve talked to plenty of people who have received their vaccine – and seen others post about their vaccinations on social media – and most spoke about how happy it made them to receive it, and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of relief they felt afterward.
A friend of mine from university even told me that she had tears in her eyes as she left the pharmacy and walked back to her car.
For most people, it felt like a big deal. And make no mistake – it is.
As the vaccine roll-out speeds up, and more and more of us get the jab, it does start to feel like the end of something – even if we are currently under travel restrictions and the COVID-19 numbers in some regions (hello, Surrey!) continue to be too high.
And considering that it’s been such a difficult 14 months for everyone, I think any chance one gets to feel even a sliver of relief, or joy, should be celebrated.
But for me, it just felt like an errand I had to run.
I took an early lunch break, drove out to my appointment with my wife, we both got our first shot, and that was that.
Maybe it’s just that I am a practical person, but while we drove home, my only thought was about how I’d forgotten to email someone back before I’d left my desk an hour earlier.
Neither that, nor the vaccine, brought me to tears.
What nearly did bring me to tears, however, was the ensuing 48 hours.
Simply put: it was not fun.
I had the full-meal deal of symptoms, starting with the chills. The following day, I managed to put in a full day’s work – though I was working from home, and I spent my entire shift with a blanket wrapped around me – but that night was rough.
I alternated between the chills and running hot, eventually falling asleep at about 4:30 a.m.
Since January, I’ve stuck to an early-morning workout routine, but let me tell you, when that alarm buzzed at 6 a.m., it was the easiest snooze button I’ve ever hit in my life.
I called in sick that day and joked to my wife that, considering how bad I felt, maybe those anti-vaxxers were on to something (I was kidding, you’re all still idiots).
And while I ended up with a few other symptoms later on – one helluva bruise, and a sore arm that persisted for longer than I thought it should – I’m still happy and relieved to have received the vaccine.
Granted, I know the vaccine – regardless of brand name – doesn’t make anyone invincible, nor does it suddenly mean I can throw all my masks in the trash.
In reality, for the time being at least, it hasn’t really changed my life in any discernible way.
But in order to get to a point where there is a noticeable change – dare to dream, but the day will come where masks aren’t required everywhere – these types of moments have to come first.
Maybe, after a few more weeks or months of these little victories, that’s when I’ll be overwhelmed with emotion.
Maybe as I sit somewhere indoors, enjoying a beer with friends – you guys remember friends? – at a place that isn’t full of plexiglass, I will finally feel what others have felt.
Relief. Happiness. All that stuff.
Until then, I’ll just keep plugging away, content in the knowledge that I’ve done my part – for myself and for the community at large.
Even if my arm still hurts a little bit.
Nick Greenizan is a reporter at the Peace Arch News.