Side Effects


I’d been warned to expect side effects from my second COVID-19 vaccine. Everyone I knew who’d gotten the second shot had felt punky with some combination of joint pain, low energy, headaches, fever, and nausea.

I braced myself. Vaccine at noon on a Thursday. By bedtime I was congratulating myself for feeling great all day. Next morning: all good in the kingdom. I even agreed to meet a friend and I played two hours of singles tennis in the sun. I played okay but not my best and was sore and slow-moving afterward. Was it side effects or just overdoing it? The latter, I concluded. I’m a tough bird. I’ve got a sophisticated immune system. I haven’t had the flu or a fever in twenty years.

That night, about 36 hours after the vaccine, my veneer of hubris cracked. I ached and my head hurt and someone was sticking a pole into my stomach making me want to vomit. I slept poorly, but the next morning I felt somewhat better. Okay, I’ve turned the corner. That wasn’t so bad. They say that side effects are the sign of your immune system kicking in.

I thought it was all over. Then the weird side effects began to appear. My eyesight suddenly improved. I no longer needed my glasses to read and write. And the entire world seemed to have a rose tint. This was followed by a totally unexpected feeling of hope and optimism: things were going to get better, problems will be solved. My brain functioning kicked into a higher gear: I blew past a roadblock in a piece I was trying to write—its path and meaning became clear to me. I was productive. I got everything on my list crossed off.

Not only that, I began listening better to others. I remembered the Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated. I performed a random act of kindness. When someone said something to me I found passive-aggressively insulting, instead of snapping back I just let it slide.

Oh, skies of blue! Oh, sunny days! I was calm, I was relaxed. No one had warned me about these wonderful side effects. Why weren’t people talking about this? I have been changed! I am a new man!

Then I remembered: side effects don’t last. They soon go away.

By David Klein

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.


Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Get in touch