Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Giving it my best shot | TheUnion.com

Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Giving it my best shot

“Oops!” Oops? That’s not what you want to hear from a healthcare provider during any procedure. In my case, it happened as they were administering my COVID-19 booster shot. Moderna, in case you were wondering. My original vaccinations were of the Pfizer variety. The place that I went to for number three, a drive through, only offered Moderna. I really didn’t care. There is literature (and science) showing it doesn’t make a difference in terms of effectiveness, and, in general terms, I like to mix it up, so I (literally) rolled up my sleeve in a parking lot on yet another sunny day in Nevada County.

Honestly, I had not been in any kind of rush to get another shot. I waited. I have a lot of faith in my immune system, and I wanted to make certain the most vulnerable had the opportunity to get theirs before I jumped in line. Did I really even need it? I already had the virus – November 2020—asymptomatic, but I carried the antibodies for several months. These were my thoughts and justifications for putting off what is proving to be a life-saving measure.

Toward the end of last year, I found myself doing a little bit of traveling up and down the west coast and was scheduled to spend time with a couple hundred “friends I haven’t met yet” at a conference in mid-January. (It was later postponed). It was during an online meeting with one of those future friends that convinced me I should take the precaution and get boosted. It seems their company had decided on a traditional holiday gathering and, as a result, had created their own super-spreader event. One of the team related that the majority of the attendees later tested positive for COVID-19 with varying degrees of illness and the only ones who walked away unscathed were those who had gotten the booster.

Sold! Not wanting to risk spending too much time waiting in line, I scheduled an appointment to get the booster at a local pharmacy for late December. Late December turned out to be the day after one of the more damaging snowstorms our community has suffered in decades. Not surprisingly, no one answered the phone. When I finally got around to rescheduling, this particular pharmacy was no longer offering the service. I was starting to feel a little behind the eight ball!

Meanwhile, I was hearing from friends and family as they reacted a bit more severely to the shot. I heard phrases like, “took me down,’ “hit by a truck,” and other not so encouraging descriptors and suddenly it was the middle of January. I finally mustered up my courage, tucked away my excuses, and found a place offering the no-appointment-necessary service. I conscientiously waited for Friday (lest I be down for a day, I wouldn’t want to miss work) and drove myself to the facility.

I was offered literature to read about the vaccine and common side effects. I filled out some paperwork and I got in line. The entire process took less than 30 minutes which included sitting in my vehicle for 15 minutes to make sure I didn’t have any sort of immediate negative reaction. “Oops!” came as the result of a little blood spilling from my arm after the injection. A bandage took care of that.

In my case, other than a sore arm, I came away unscathed and now am no longer a threat to myself or others – at least when it comes to this virus.

The point of all of this is that while I have never been anti-vaccination, I do understand how easy it is to procrastinate, shrug it off, and minimize the importance. I was never one to get a flu shot as I rarely get sick, but a good doctor enlightened me, explaining that because I engaged in the public sector quite frequently, getting the shot was a service to those I might infect. So, I started getting the shot annually. Amazingly, when it is not about me, it is easier for me to comply.

I can see this becoming part of our medical practice — annual physical, annual mammogram, annual booster — all just part of our maintenance as human beings lucky enough to live in a country with modern healthcare. As flawed and expensive, as the system may be, we are lucky to have access to these preventative and lifesaving advances.

These past almost two years now, have been incredibly challenging and divisive. It has changed me – how I think and how I feel and how I live – and not for the better. I find myself less social, less willing, and honestly, a lot less fun. I am hopeful that as we emerge from the toll of this latest variant, that we will be out and about once again.

That is the hope I hold on to. That this too, shall pass. That one day we will look back on this time in history shaking our heads in disbelief. That we will collectively, move forward, once again working for the greater good. That we will come together to support one another and help those who are not able to help themselves. And that we once again accept our differences and our right to our differences but embrace our commonality.

That is my hope and I promise to give it my best shot.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com

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