I get my second Covid vaccine next week. Oh boy! Something to look forward to. I know I’ve gotten old and pathetic when I actually find myself looking forward to a shot. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would sink this low. For years, I hedged my bets at my annual check-up when I was asked if I wanted a flu vaccine and I had to talk myself into doing the adult thing, versus throwing caution to the wind and saying, “I’ll take my chances.” Did I mention I hate shots?

I suppose part of my excitement over the Covid vaccine stems from the fact that although for the last several weeks, the vaccine has been available, ordinary people just couldn’t get it. It was only available to health care workers, politicians, and celebrities (you know, essential personnel). Besides, I’m just not willing to camp out with a bunch of other geezers on walkers overnight in front of Publix hoping to be the first in the door. This isn’t Black Friday, after all. Nor am I willing to sit in front of the computer for two hours, continually refreshing whatever it is I have to refresh, in order to sneak in at that magic nanosecond when a slot opens up. Providing, of course, I don’t get halfway through my registration before the system freezes up and kicks me out, as has happened to a number of people. And there is no way I am getting up at 5:00 am to try to beat out 100,000 other people online at the same moment for a coveted appointment. My brain rebels at anything requiring concentration at that hour, such as providing my name and birthdate. Not to mention that online registration is a foreign language to people in my generation. We only relate to real people answering real telephones and booking the appointment for us.

But miraculously, my husband managed to log on at just the right time in order to secure us appointments for the vaccine with the health department—the right time being 12:00 noon and one second on the first Wednesday of the month in which the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. I managed to log on at 12:00 noon and two seconds, but then sat for the next half-hour while the system buffered and threatened to tell everyone I knew I voted Democrat if I dared to refresh. So I sat, a prisoner to the system, while on the phone with my husband to be sure he was still “in.” Finally, I was routed to an appointment schedule. I still waited to be sure my husband could type fast enough before getting kicked out, hoping that I might be able to secure spots for friends. By the time he finished registering, I had been kicked out. I can’t help but think this is a mere foretaste of the socialized medicine that is being promoted by those who know better than I do. Free healthcare for everyone. Good luck getting it.

On the day of the first appointment, we drove to Northwest Florida College, and waited in a line of cars while no less than a dozen people checked to be sure we were actually authorized to be there. That was reassuring, as there is nothing more irritating than people to whom the rules don’t apply just showing up and getting preferential treatment. That is, until one of the workers couldn’t “find” us on their clipboard. We were a little concerned that they might not accept our printed appointment confirmation slips with official bar codes. But fortunately, they did, so I didn’t have to have a meltdown and ram the car in front of me in a parking lot rage. We had to sign a number of waivers assuming all risks if the vaccine caused undesirable side effects, like growing hair all over our bodies and baying at the full moon, glowing in the dark, or death. After that, the process went smoothly, and we were done within an hour, including the fifteen minutes we were held hostage to be sure we didn’t have a reaction. This was enforced by not giving us our cards for the second vaccine until the fifteen minutes were up. Pretty smart on their part.

That night my arm was really sore—to the point I kept waking up every time I rolled over. To compound that pain, there is the still undecided question as to whether or not it is okay to take Tylenol or ibuprofen with the vaccine. Depends on who the “expert” of the hour is. But perhaps the soreness means the vaccine is working. Or else whoever administered the shot did a lousy job. Nevertheless, I’m not complaining. I’m just thankful to finally get the vaccine, and I’m going to put on my big girl panties and do it again. Can’t wait! Still, where shots are concerned, I always say it’s better to give than to receive.