My Experience with the COVID-19 Vaccine

So first, let me start by saying I feel extremely grateful to have been in the first round of recipients. Working in the clinic setting I thought I would have been in a second or maybe even in a third wave of recipients but with the possibility that it will become necessary to deploy ambulatory RNs into the hospital in the event of worsening COVID surging I was able to get both vaccinations at early dates. I feel for those healthcare workers who have been on the frontlines from the beginning yet still unable to receive it at this time even though they are the fighting hands, day in and day out, aiding in saving lives of so many who have become infected with this awful illness. My hope is that all healthcare workers and non healthcare workers will have it in the coming weeks to months so we can all start to feel at least a little protected as we attempt to return to normalcy.

Vaccination #1 – Saturday, December 19, 2020. 10:00AM

Initially, I felt fine. My arm a little sore – to be expected, a sharp object was just jabbed into it. I came home from receiving my vaccination and went about life as normal. Tyler and I went for a walk, ate lunch, cleaned house… honestly a pretty normal Saturday.

Then somewhere around 4pm, I was wiped out!! I felt like a train hit me. We had just gotten back from our walk about 30min prior to and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. By 4:30, I couldn’t fight the urge to fall asleep any more and climbed into bed. I slept harder than I have ever slept for 2 straight hours. By the time I woke up, my arm HURT. I actually only woke up because I rolled over onto that arm and the pain woke me. I stayed awake for a few hours then returned to bed by 9pm and called it a night.

The next morning I was a little groggy and had a dull headache. By the 24hr mark I was okay, minus my arm. The arm pain started to fade by the 48hr mark and was completely gone by Tuesday when I woke up.

Vaccination #2 – Thursday, January 7, 2020, 10:00AM

Just like the first one, initially I felt okay. I had the vaccine, waited my 15min then headed back to work (at home) for the rest of the day. The first few hours were business as usual, then it hit me like a ton of bricks…

Around 2:00 the headache started, just a dull annoying headache but nothing seemed to make it go away. I tried Tylenol, caffeine, and extra water – my usual cure for all headaches. By 4:00, the chills set in. I felt like I was freezing in my 70 degree home with sweats and a blanket on. By 6:00, I was full on miserable. My head was pounding, my body ached, I was shivering like I was in the Arctic in a bikini, and my arm felt like it was rammed by a bull running full speed. I took another dose of Tylenol at about 8:30 and went to bed to try and sleep off the misery.

The next morning, the headache and just general feeling of brain fog were still present as well as the body aches. I was able to go into work and complete my day but boy do I wish I had it off so I could have slept off the rest of the misery. By about noon, the brain fog and headache did begin to lift and by around 4:00/5:00 the body aches were diminishing. Again, this night, I was in bed by around 8:30pm but thankfully, I only needed to take one dose of Tylenol all day.

The following morning, my symptoms were almost completely gone. A dull headache and a sore arm were my only remaining side effects. The headache went away by the end of the day and the sore arm gone by the end of day Monday.

All in all, even though I did experience side effects, I feel so blessed to have had the vaccine and I feel that it was well worth all the discomfort I felt in the days follow receiving it. I know there is still so much unknown about the vaccine and honestly the virus itself but I feel like it is a great step towards us at least attempting to return to normalcy.

If you have had the vaccine already, please share your experience below. And if you have not received it yet and have questions, please reach out. I would love to answer any questions that I can or at least help direct you to a credible site for further information.

xo, Kathryn

*disclaimer* This post reflects my personal experience with being administered the Pfizer vaccine. You may or may not have the same experience.

All or Nothing

How is it possible that we can go from going 500mph, firing on all cylinders, 100% of the time to these periods of nothing?! Its an odd feeling, and currently, thats the state I am in. I am trying to effectively navigate it but honestly, it almost seems like more of a struggle than the 500mph I am used to.  So how am I embracing it….

First, sleep! Yes, I am still working the night shift but that is only 1-2 nights a week right now so I am 100% allowing myself to recover from each shift. This has been an incredible change of pace and honestly is making the night shift a little more bearable.

Elementary School Friends

Number two, friends! All those people I neglected the past 6months, I am making an effort to see and it has been fantastic. I have loved reconnecting and just enjoying the ability to really embrace conversation that during times of chaos doesn’t happen.

Three, my house is finally getting some MUCH NEEDED love! I feel like it has been neglected since I moved in nearly three years ago since I started nursing school almost immediately after purchasing my home. I have been cleaning out and redecorating and it feels so good (even if it is still a work in progress).

Four, I am actually working out again! I have been running (alone and with friends…hey more connection!), lots of long walks with some of my favorite podcasts, and going to core power yoga several times a week.

Five, cooking real meals! This is strange but I have to give all the love to Trader Joes, with this extra time, it is allowing to actually get back in the kitchen without it feeling like such a chore.

And last but not least, six. I am back out there dating!!! Yes, you heard that right. Over

the last few weeks I have gone on some great dates and I am really enjoying putting myself back out there. Just like the free time thing, this is also strange but I am ready to fully embrace it…. and I promise, no more long distance relationships for me!

So to close, the past 6 month have brought a lot of change in my life for both the good and the bad. I have had the highs of graduating nursing school and passing my boards to the lows of losing my grandma and so much in between. But regardless of these highs and lows, it has brought me to this 5 week period of “free time.” Time I am not sure how to use, but I am trying to take advantage of as I know I will probably never have these days again.

Leave a comment below and tell me how you use your free time!

 

Nursing School in a Nutshell

img_3532Imagine yourself on fire, juggling chainsaws, running from a T-Rex, and pulling a sled of giant, squealing cats all at once on about 3hrs of sleep and an energy drink in hand…that is about how I would describe nursing school.

Needless to say, it has been one of the most stressful times of my life and has lead me to a point of being the least healthy version of myself…which I find quite comical as we are always being taught about “how to be healthy” and “how to advocate for our patient’s health.”

All this chaos and stress stems from the very first day you step on campus when you get the initial lecture, that is then constantly reiterated by all instructors to follow, that says “You’re holding someone’s life in your hands with every decision you make” and that “Everything you will learn over these 2-3years will be important for your career as a nurse.” For me, this has stuck and has added a whole extra layer to the stress. This time I am not going to school just to get a job, I am going to school to have a career making peoples lives better and if not better, at least more comfortable. That’s a pretty big concept to wrap your mind around if you ask me.

To bring that back to nursing school, that statement means each and every time you go to class it requires all of your focus and attention so that you can learn to be the best nurse possible. You will stay up all night studying for the exams where 4 of the 5 answers are correct and doing patient research into the wee hours of the morning so the next morning you can spit off a list of meds and what they are used for and your plan of care with all the interventions you could possibly find just so that you will be allowed on the unit to try and be the best advocate for that patient’s health that day. IMG_5306

All of these things take up much of your time, so try to add a job or a family or even just a coffee date with a friend in there and quick bites to eat and energy drinks are sure to come your way. Anything that will allow you to keep pushing though to the finish line. So forget about your hours of fancy meal prep each week and the time spent exercising, those will come back when you finish (or when you finally catch your stride in the program) and set your focus on the finish line. A line that truthfully is a bit imaginary as when you graduate you still have not earned the title of “Nurse.” So don’t let up on the studying because your tassel had turned, your boards exam is yet to come. It is not until the word PASS comes across your screen and your name is on the state registry do you get to place those two sacred letters, RN, behind your name. That is when you are officially a “Nurse!”

The stress is unreal but the outcome will be surreal! So, happy studying my fellow nursing students, we will make eventually!