Rick Magee (opinion): Why parents should not get vaccinated at the same time. 'My wife looked like I felt.'

Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter S. Thompson.

HDNet Films

I am always on the lookout for a column topic, and last week, as I was driving to CVS for my second shot of the Moderna vaccine, I had a brilliant flash: record the experience of the vaccination and its side-effects like a sort of Hunter S. Thompson, only with legal drugs. Think of it as gonzo vaccination journalism. Pulitzer, here I come.

The journey actually began back in March. Shortly after our age group vaccinations opened up, my wife and I logged on and tried to get appointments somewhere near us. After a couple of days of searching, my wife finally found openings in New Britain, and she signed us up.

The first shot was on a Thursday, meaning I would leave my last class of the day and make the 47- minute drive. The Merritt was, of course, the Merritt, but I managed to make it on time.

The process at CVS was quick and painless. The person checking patients in was efficient and friendly, and the neon orange duct tape arrows on the floor were easy to follow. The pharmacist administering the shot exhibited that grace that comes when you’ve done something thousands of times, and I didn’t even feel the needle going in. As I left, I grabbed a couple of bags of caramel M&Ms in celebration.

The only side-effect was a very sore arm all day on Friday. By Saturday it had faded enough that my weekly violin lesson was painless (except for my off-key notes).

My wife and I had our second dose on the same day, so we made the trip together this time, leaving not long after our son went to school. This trip avoided the Merritt, but was very similar: quick and efficient check-in, orange arrows, painless needle. The same pharmacist was administering shots, but this time he was a lot more talkative, and he gave the impression that a lot of the pressure on him had eased.

The rest of Friday passed uneventfully, but I was a little concerned that the soreness in my arm was beginning already. I assured myself it was just my imagination, and went to bed.

On Saturday, my gonzo plan started to seem really stupid. I hurt, and the thought of chronicling the vaccine was even more painful. I felt like someone had knocked my down and then danced on my back. My head felt like something from a Hunter S. Thompson nightmare. Why did I ever think I could write in this condition?

One of the bad things about scheduling your vaccine along with your wife is that you are both sick the same day, and someone had to be there to take care of the kid. I managed to make it through the morning with him, and even took him downtown for a hot chocolate at Molten Java. By the time we got home, though, I was done. My wife looked like I felt, and we told our son he could do anything he wanted all afternoon as long as he left us alone. He grabbed some dinosaurs and disappeared outside, earning Child of the Year accolades.

Sleep and time eventually did what sleep and time always do, and by Monday morning I felt mostly human again. The tally was not terribly serious: mainly moderately bad body aches and deep fatigue. It could have been a lot worse. Getting COVID would have been infinitely worse. The sense of relief that I feel makes the mild suffering all worth it.

Now, does anyone want this white bucket hat and yellow aviator glasses? They look terrible on me.

Rick Magee is a Bethel resident and an English professor at a Connecticut university. Contact him at r.m.magee.writer@gmail.com.