Shot to thrill

I have always been able to do this.

When a regular inconvenience happens, I handle it like an asshole. Let’s say I lose my keys. I swear; I throw things around. I stomp about, searching and throwing and swearing. Then I find them and I am back to bluebirds swirling around my head with lilacs in their beaks.

When something scary might happen, I handle it like an asshole. If I think a breakup is imminent, or I’m waiting for health-related results, I obsess and I google and I’m snappish and the bluebirds take a week off to do coke in Reno.

But if something big really happens, if the shit actually goes down, then I do what I’ve always thought of as the big clampdown. Once the news I didn’t want to get gets to me, I say, “OK.” And then I clamp down. I feel nothing. I remember the first time I was able to conjure it up; I was 15 or 16. I won’t go into the bad news itself but let’s just say I got bad news, there came the big clamp, and I thought, “Oh. I didn’t know I had this option.”

I liken it to an anaconda after it’s eaten, say, an antelope. The snake gets really quiet and still so they can digest. That’s me when a crisis actually happens.

So, in August of 2019, things were going pretty well for me. I liked the house I’d bought, work was fun, and I had a delightful white foster kitten. Then on the way to the shelter to pick up said kitten after I’d (needlessly) taken her there for a little kitten cold she had,

BOOM

I got into a car accident. I remember the ambulance people took my blood pressure, and it was like 407 million over 6,052. I was alarmed at this, as my blood pressure is so low you can’t really call it pressure. It’s more like blood gentle insistence. “It’s high cause you’re freaked out,” said the ambulance guy, who probably has a title and I’m not thinking of it because time change and also a Norwegian or possibly North Carolinian Forest or possibly cemetery cat is lying across me getting his endlessly lengthy fur all over the space bar and I’m distracted.

So, once I found out I had a concussion, I clamped down. “OK,” I told myself. “I just have to lie in the dark for a few weeks and not look at computer screens and listen to a lot of audiobooks.” And I did. I got through it.

As soon as I was done having a concussion, I had the big bladder cancer scare. That started in October, and five months and five horrific and generally very uncomfy tests for various cancers later, I had surgery (did you know?) that didn’t really solve the issue at hand, but it did get rid of some things I needed to get rid of. So that was in February, and I had a hard recovery, and in March of 2020, I was finally starting to feel better.

“Hey, maybe now everything will be—“

BOOM

Pandemic.

So you know what I did? I clamped down. I digested the antelope all year. I got still and quiet, and did not let myself panic (much) and waited it out. I secretly seethed when I saw you take trips and just get together with 10 people. But I mostly just tried to muddle through this pandemic as best I could. My mantra was, “I don’t wanna be part of the problem.” Sure, I could probably go to that outdoor restaurant. Everyone’s doin’ it. But if I got sick, there was a higher chance I’d get really sick, and then I’d be part of the problem. I’d be one of the people crowding hospitals and taking up a bed and a ventilator.

Or maybe I’d be fine, but I’d pass it to someone else who would become part of the problem.

I just stayed in so I wouldn’t be part of the problem. I said that over and over while I clamped and I waited.

Then there was a vaccine, but it wasn’t coming my way, and I figured, oh, maybe June. Maybe July. Then there’s the 5 weeks or so you have to wait till you’re good to be back out there. So maybe August. Maybe September. And I kept digesting the antelope.

Maybe that’s why I’ve gained 20 pounds this year. I was on this reduced-power setting and couldn’t dredge up the energy to do much exercise. I’d do my work and I’d be exhausted. Honestly, maybe my low-power emotional setting was why.

Anyway, on Friday, one of my coworkers, who’s King Kamehameha high risk, not sorta high risk like me, wrote me. “Here’s a number to text. They’ll text you back with locales to get your vaccine.”

“Oh, I don’t—” I said. I had no hopes of getting mine for months.

“You’re high risk, like me,” she said. “You’re one of the only people I saw who actually stayed really safe. TEXT THIS NUMBER.”

So I did. And that afternoon, I had an appointment at this huge vaccinating center they have here in Greensboro. It’s the largest in the state. They were doing high-risk people a few days early.

There were so many reasons I didn’t think I’d get in. I didn’t think my lowly no-spleen immune system would count, even though my doctor told me from the get-go it did. Even though my cousin, who’s a COVID nurse, said, “Oh my god, STAY OUT OF CROWDS.”

But yesterday, I got my shot. I got my first vaccine! Even when I was in line, I thought, “Oh, they’ll tell me to turn around and go home.” I think my clampdown self was so convinced of not being done with this till late summer that the rest of me hadn’t caught up.

But you know what?

I got the damn shot. My roots and I got the shot, and on April 3 I get the next shot, and on April 17 I can go out like a normal person. A normal person with a mask. STILL.

I have a hair appointment at the end of April so I can stop looking like middle-aged Blue Lagoon. So I can stop loving Wilson and get off the island.

I have a Botox appointment right after that. And I have PEDICURES in my future!! I haven’t gone a year without polished toes since I’m 7. I realize I am the groomiest person you know, but it’s my hobby and I’ve been so busy being Jed Clampett all year, moving slowly and calmly and dissolving that antelope and I CAN FINALLY HAVE SOME FUN IN JUST 33 DAYS.

On the drive home from my shot, the radio played AC/DC’s Shoot to Thrill, which is a ridiculous song that I enjoyed thoroughly. I was over there singing along like I’m regularly plagued by too many women and too many pills. Too many women are pills, that’s what I’m plagued by.

Now, I have a physical tomorrow. Last week I had a COVID test and some blood work done in anticipation of said appointment. IT HAD ALL BETTER GO WELL. I’d like this year and a half of constant … stuff to be over now. If she says, “Oh, your blood is riddled with things wrong” Ima clamp down on her HEAD. So let’s hope for the best, there.

If everything goes well, Ima go Roaring 20s on your ass. Ima take my 55-year-old stiff self and hit the opium dens and the gin joints and 23 skidoo all over yonder. Ima make my own perfume in France. Ima see the Northern Lights while I sip really dark hot chocolate with vanilla-tinged whipped cream. I’m going to paint my nails different shades of peach and buy myself a peach sapphire to match. I will wear more leopard print and make my hair even bigger than it already is. I do promise, however, to never live, laugh, love about anything. I haven’t completely flipped my lid.

But my clamp is coming loose, y’all.

65 thoughts on “Shot to thrill

  1. You’ve been such a trouper, June. I’m so glad you got your vaccine. I’m hoping to get mine next month.

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  2. Glad you’ve have your first shot. I get the first one on Wednesday—finally being too fat pays off in a good way. I was also in seethe mode for most of the last year. I would go online to daydream about an exotic vacation and see reviews of various historic places, waterfalls, etc., that were made in November and be like, “WTF! Why are these obviously not local people in Bora Bora during a pandemic?!!”

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  3. Yay, June!! I’m 67 in AZ and received my first vaccine 5 weeks ago. My second shot is in 2 days and I can’t wait!! A friend who survived COVID recently got a Radiesse filler treatment on her upper lip and other age lines and says it makes her look 10 years younger so guess what is in my near future!?!? So glad you are on your way to freedom to Botox!

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  4. Yay! So happy for you! My husband has his first shot on Friday and both of my parents are fully vaccinated. Who knew, back in the halcyon days of 2019 that such a thing would feel so joyous.

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  5. So happy for you June! I get my second shot on Wed! yay. Your post today was great as usual – I can relate to so many of your reactions! haha

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  6. We’re on the same vaccination schedule! I didn’t think I would really get the shot either. I don’t turn 65 until September but I got an email from my internist about a big clinic downtown.

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  7. I’m so happy for you to have your first vaccine! Wonderful. And all around lovely post. I guess I am an anaconda, too, but I can’t think of anaconda without thinking about the song I Like Big Butts or Baby Got Back, whatever it’s named. I sometimes can’t accept that I am a creature and that I have a body that things can go wrong in. I’m at the age where I notice changes in the texture of my skin and lack of resilience in recovering from cuts and bruises. Ugh. However, hooray for your COVID vaccine and for lots of fun things in your near future to look forward to.

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  8. My state expands vaccine eligibility to everyone 50 and older on March 19. The next day I turn 50. The last time I enjoyed my birthday was in 2001, for all kinds of reasons. This year I’m actually looking forward to it.
    I think we’re going to make it.

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  9. Oh, June. This made me teary. I’m so happy for you and your half-vaccinated self! I’m just slightly ahead of you. I get my second shot 3/23. You better believe two weeks later I am smothering myself in grandbabies I haven’t been able to see!

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  10. Great post June .. great news!! Happy days ahead. My 85 year old dad had his first vaccination last week with no problems. I am just waiting for my turn now. The virus isn’t quite as bad here as it is in some countries with only 905 deaths in all of Australia so I’m not concerned about the time frame it’s going to take. I am back at work now and actually miss my old self isolation days!

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  11. Today is our get-out-of-jail date! Like you, high-risk Mr. Sadie has been home other than for medical appointments and our vaccines for over a year. We are looking forward to a dinner date with a fully-vacinated couple later this month for a belated joint-birthday celebratory dinner at an actual restaurant.

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  12. Tomorrow is my first day of freedom. I have a hair appointment in the morning then we leave town so I can see my kids and grandkids for the first time since Christmas of 2019. I’m excited and scared at the same time.

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  13. I can work myself into a rage over stupid inconveniences, like yesterday when my mop was malfunctioning and I was ready to throw it like a javelin across the room, I was so irritated. My daughter had the AUDACITY to tell me “just chill, Mom.” And that’s when I spiked her into the ground like a football. Because never in the history of chilling has anyone chilled after being told to “just chill.” But an honest-to-God emergency? I go stone cold and just take care of it very, very calmly. Almost completely emotionally detached.

    I’m not eligible for the vaccine this century, it appears. My husband already has had both his shots but me? I’m not worthy of the vaccine. But when I finally do get it and am free to move about the country/state/city/whatever, I want to attend a live sporting event again. I don’t care if it’s a boring-ass baseball game (I hate baseball), I just want to see live sports again. Drink an overpriced beer, eat some crappy nachos and loudly cheer for a goal/home run, touchdown, basket, last lap pass for the win and high-five the people around me in solidarity.

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  14. I’m so happy for you! I got mine this past Saturday and my next one is also scheduled on April 3rd. I cannot wait to be fully vaccinated.

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  15. So happy for you getting the vaccine. Once again you made a serious subject so funny. This is why I love your writing.
    March 1st was our get-out-of-jail date, but so far we have been to a medical appointment and the grocery store and take my brother to a medical appointment (his jail release was March 1st as well) and then sit with him in the hospital on Saturday.
    Tee

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  16. I’m going to read this post over and over again, it perfectly describes my reactions to everything. I’m also reading it to my husband, so now if I go quiet and tell him not to worry, I’m just digesting the antelope, he’ll understand. P.S. – I wish Anne Lamott could read this, it feels like something she’d love.

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  17. Yay!! So happy you were able to get the shot! My husband and I are eligible for health issues but haven’t been able to get appointments yet. I have asthma and had an asthma attack brought on by the regular flu in Jan ’19, so yeah – I’m terrified of covid. I’ve never been so excited about getting a shot before, ha!

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  18. I am SO happy for you, Pretty Joon. I need to go get a driver’s license for this new address and then I can make an appointment I hope. My landlord (we broke up) is 69 and diabetic and hasn’t been able to get in. Now they are doing school personnel so he will get it. I am going to try the left over shots route myself I think. You are funny as ever and you have had one hell of a time of it for far too long.
    Michael, my late husband had cancer for almost seven years but I count the time before it, less than a year and a half , he broke his ankle on a stupid quad and got a bone infection and was out of work for five months as a part of it too. He died and then I was grieving and then dating and then Covid-19. I am ready for some semblance of normality too. If it includes masks so be it. You were exemplary in your Covid-19 compliance. You deserve some fun!

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  19. Oh, the Ides of March have been good to you! I will be good to go just a couple days before you, April 15th. I have things planned too! I think these may really be the roaring twenties.

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  20. Next week I will be eligible and I cannot wait. I think it will help ratchet down the anxiety and such.

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  21. I’m so so so happy for you and the USA as a whole. Last Monday at work I got weepy in my car because I did an entire shift where I didn’t personally attend to a single covid patient, first time in a year. Just January it was easily 2/3 of my daily workload. Our hospitalisation and death rates have been reported as plummeting since vaccine rollout but seeing it first hand has just made me feel so optimistic for the first time in a long time.

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  22. Hooray for you, June! I’m glad you have a caring coworker who insisted you sign up. Keep on digesting the antelope and looking forward!

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  23. Yay for the first shot! I have also been digesting an antelope all year and get my first shot on Wednesday. The first place I want to go is El Rancho restaurant for pollo poblano. The cravings are real after a year of antelope. Anyone else have a very specific craving or is it just me?

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    1. There is a very good Diner here that is chef run and farm to table special. They have sweet potato pancakes and I am dying to try them with extra butter and big fat sausages.

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  24. I come for the good vaccine news, I stay for the bluebirds doing coke in Reno. So happy to hear the good vaccine news!

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  25. You have handled the entire pandemic the way everyone should have. I’m so relieved you’re almost completely vaccinated! I have been so worried about high risk people!!
    I got the Johnson and Johnson shot Saturday so I don’t have to have a second shot, but I believe it is still one month to be “safe.” I hope everyone is bonus high risk is getting that shot as quickly as possible!
    I can’t wait for you to be able to enjoy the rewards of staying safe all year.

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  26. Congratulations, June! I’m so happy you got your vaccine. You can rest easy now. I’ve read a few times that the first shot alone is almost as effective as having them both.

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  27. Thrilled for you, and boy can I relate to the secret seething. I signed up for the leftovers list at the nearby urgent care and got my first shot today!

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  28. I got my shot on the same day as you and my second shot is on April 3d. Twinning. I’m high risk because of asthma. I loved how you can now get off the island with Wilson. So funny. Glad you were able to get the shot so you can get back to your grooming schedule.

    Also, this is the 2nd blog post I have read in a week when an anaconda snake eating a large animal was referenced. I wonder if National Geographic-ish topics are the now all the rage in the blog world. I best go watch me some Animal Planet so I’m not out of the loop.

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    1. You know, I always forget I have asthma. I forgot that’s another thing that made me high risk. Man, this winter I was throwing Blu for Eds and it was really cold and my throat just went, MOOOP! It shut right down. It’s getting worse as I age, asthma is. Grammy had it too and as we know I have turned into her, so.

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  29. I’m not eligible here in VA yet, but you can be damned sure I will be line as soon as I can. I haven’t seen my son in 15 months. (I don’t know how people in the military stand it, with long deployments.)

    I am so happy for you, that you were able to get shot!

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  30. I moved my outing with Dave because I want to be fully vaccinated as well. We meet on 4/14. There will be another one in May. If Pam keeps showing you the right houses, you can join us. We meet at Spencer’s (formerly Route 66) on Gratiot. Will keep you apprised of all future dates.

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    1. Thanks, Kim! Now, what was this building in 1992? Because I don’t recognize either of those bar names. I keep expecting Saginaw to be just as I left it, and wish to dine at Bill Knapps and head to the Fordney after.

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  31. Cheers to you and your (probably) sore arm! Because of work I do, I was vaccinated in early January. It’s been just as exciting to hear/read about other people getting their vaccines, too! I realize that sounds ridiculous, but I love seeing lines of cars queued up at stadiums, selfies with band-aids, and tales of how long people waited. Even though I got my shot early and so did my household, we have not altered our behavior much at all. We rarely go out anywhere, still pick up groceries, all that jazz. I’m not sure what the vaccination level vs. infection level in my city will need to be before I feel comfortable going out, but I’ll know it when I see it. Can’t wait!!

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    1. I agree, it is awesome that you got your first shot and kudos to your coworker who urged you to make an appointment. A high-risk family member is also getting her first shot today. So double yay!

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  32. I am healthy, under 60, not obese, and my state doesn’t care if we get vaccinated so it will be a while for me. But I get almost weepy when somebody I know gets vaccinated. Good work! I look forward to hearing about your side effects.

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      1. Like my nephew said about his side effects (he’s in the medical field) – only side effect is more awesome!

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    1. Gretchen, I weep as well for what has happened to Iowa. It no longer resembles where I grew up in so many ways. Good luck for when you can get your shot.

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      1. My sister lives in Illinois now and said the same thing – what happened to Iowa? Even here, I know more people getting vaccinated so it will happen.

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  33. I’m happy that you found a shot appointment. And I get my first shot in 8 hours and 10 minutes from now…. but first I have to take a cat to the Vet. She (the cat, not the Vet) has a yeast infection in her cat lady parts. I’m not nervous about the shot but the cat issue stresses me out.

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      1. Haha! Now I’m not going to be able to keep a straight face while the Vet discusses the diagnosis and treatment with me…

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  34. I digested the antelope all year, now Ima go Roaring 20s on your ass, and 23 skidoo all over yonder. I love your words…happy day June!

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  35. And I thought I was the only one who got all stompy about little things and scaredy about things not quite right in my body. Good to know it’s not just me. I have a cat scan scheduled at 4:00 today that is gonna try to find out why my gi tract is not playing nice. Talk about acting scaredy. I’m been stompy and scardey forever, and I’ll be glad when today is just over and I just find out what my innards look like once and for all. Glad you got your shot, June!

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  36. Yes! I am so happy for you, I saw the pictures yesterday on facebook and was so happy to see you got your first shot!

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