Covid-19 Vaccine: Second Dose

No rainbows or IVs this time!

Here’s a timeline of my experience subsequent to the second vaccine:

Due to my visit to urgent care after the first vaccine because I had an allergic reaction, my doctor told me to drink at least 64 oz water for a few days prior to my appointment. I know that’s a great idea anyway, but I never really drank that much water, so I definitely know it’s important.

My appointment was scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at 8:15 a.m.

Again, the facility did such a great job that we were checked in and promptly seen. Because of my allergic reaction following the first vaccine, I was whisked away to an enhanced observation area. I must have made quite an impression (lol) because the same nurse was there and she remembered me.

This time, perhaps due to being well-hydrated, I didn’t experience an allergic reaction and went home. My arm was a little sore but no other major symptoms–until about six hours later.

I became super fatigued, had a pounding headache, muscle/joint aches, and abdominal pain. Still no fever.

I continued to hydrate the rest of the day.

Around 6:00 p.m. I took my temperature and had a fever of 99.8. I had prepared for side effects by stocking up on soups and made a batch of my ubiquitious lentil veggie soup

I fell asleep on the sofa watching Vera on PBS. When I woke up, I was alternately hot and shaking with chills. This time when I took my temperature, it was 101.5. I took Tylenol and went to bed.

I woke up at 1:00 a.m., took my temperature again and it was 100.8, so I went back to sleep but didn’t take more Tylenol.

The next morning I still felt pretty badly and managed to make a cup of tea, wrap myself in a blanket and lie on the sofa. I was extremely tired and unable to do anything but vegetate, and that really annoyed me. The headache was as dreadful as the day before. All morning, my temp was steady at 99.8.

At around 4:00 p.m. I started to feel marginally better; the aches were dissipating, and my temp was 99.

I watched a bit of American Idol but couldn’t take more than five minutes of it before I turned to PBS. After “All Things Great and Small” was over at` 10:00 p.m, I took my temperature again. This time it was 97.6 which is my normal. .Other than a still slightly sore shoulder, it’s as if all the symptoms disappeared at the exact same time. I could feel an immediate absence of all aches and pains

It’s very strange to feel unwell and poorly but not actually BE sick. I didn’t have the flu. I didn’t have Covid. I didn’t have any other virus or infection. I kinda sorta feel as if I’m a human guinea pig involved in a gigantic science experiment.

Anyway, it’s over, I’ve had both doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. It’s supposed to offer 95% protection against the virus. I sure hope it does but to be safe, I’ll still follow protocol and wear a mask out in public.

Read about my first Covid vaccine experience by clicking on this link.

Rainbows and IVs: My Covid Vaccine Experience

Day One:
Vaccination day….

My appointment for my first Covid vaccine was scheduled for 8:15 this morning. I chose the Jefferson Street Scripps location because it’s close and also brand new so I thought it’d be nice and clean.

I got there early like I always do and stood in a not-very-long line. I was the 9th person. The entire wait was about twenty minutes or so. Every so often, an employee came out to update us on the status and thanked us for being patient.

We had some rain and then a rainbow appeared!

When it was my turn to get checked in, the process was smooth and swift and I was sent to another short line waiting to get into an actual room for the vaccination.

I’m a very cautious person…trying to stay healthy, that’s all!

The RN explained that I would be receiving the Pfizer vaccine and was given a small card to save with the date and vaccine lot number.

The actual injection was absolutely pain-free and over in less than five seconds.

From there, I was escorted to another area to sit for about thirty minutes to determine whether or not I was going to have an adverse reaction.

Guess what?

I DID!

After about ten minutes or so, I could feel my tongue start to feel thick and when I talked to the nurse, my voice was hoarse. Since I have asthma, I’m used to what it feels like when I’m experiencing respiratory distress. I was also a little dizzy. The nurse decided it was time to take me downstairs to be further evaluated by a triage team in Urgent Care.

Vitals were taken. My blood pressure was 160/120 and my heart rate was 114. Oxygen was 99% which is good, but there was definitely some type of negative reaction to the vaccine. The doctor suggested, and I agreed, to an IV hydration drip. Since I can’t take steroids because of bad reactions to THAT, she thought I should have Benadryl. I opted to wait and see how I felt after the IV before doing that. I should say here that if I were counseling anyone else, I’d tell anyone to definitely get the Benadryl, but I’m a pretty stubborn girl and like to make my own medical decisions based on what I know about my own body.

I was nicely set up with an IV, a pillow, and a heated blanket tucked in around me. That was so lovely.

I rested for the next hour or so; every so often someone would pop their head in to check on me and my symptoms didn’t worsen. I started to feel a little better.

The doctor took my vitals again; BP and HR were back to normal and I was discharged to go home and take my own Benadryl, 25 milligrams four times a day.

So far, the only other symptoms I’ve noticed is that my vaccinated arm is starting to become sore and I’m tired, but that could be from the Benadryl.

Before I left Scripps, I had an email for my second Covid vaccination in three weeks. How efficient is that!

I spoke with Josh, one of the location managers, and told him what an amazing and organized job Scripps did with the vaccines. Everyone was kind, professional, and caring.

All in all, it was a satisfying experience. I hope everybody gets the Covid vaccine as soon as possible so we can resume living!

Day Two:
I woke up with a sore arm and no other side effects, fever, aches, or chills. Fingers crossed!

Yummy Vegan Veggie Lentil Soup

My doctor totally depressed me cos she told me her husband’s best friend just died from Covid-19 and because she’s on the frontlines treating patients, she cautioned me to be extra careful and stay home and away from people.

I decided it was a great day to make another version of my favorite hearty and healthy soup.

Lentil Tofu Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
*Carrots, 3 large
*Celery, 2-3 stalks including leaves
*Tofu, whole package
*Lentils,1.5 cups
*Kale, 2 cups
*Broccoli, half head
*Canned organic tomatoes, 28 ounce can
*Bay leaves and other garden herbs

–Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot.
–Add roughly chopped carrots and celery. I don’t like onions so I didn’t add them, but go ahead and chop up half an onion if you like them.
–When they’re nicely browned and have released a lot of flavor, add dried lentils and six cups of water along with a couple bay leaves.

–Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
–Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli and tofu along with chopped kale.
–Simmer for about an hour, stir every once in a while. Add more water as needed.
–Add a large can of diced tomatoes in juice and any herbs to taste.
–I picked sage and oregano and thyme from the garden.
–Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt (optional).

–Serve in a large bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful lettuce this season, so I picked a few fresh leaves for a salad to accompany this delicious soup.

Sometimes I make a crusty French bread but I didn’t feel like it because I’m sad about almost losing our precious democracy but I might make vegan biscuits tomorrow cos I’ll eat this soup for a few days.

It gets better every day.

Beneficial Bay Leaves

Bay leaves give tomato sauce a special flavor profile, allowing all the other spices to develop with synergy and complexity, providing a subtle depth of flavor.

I LOVE bay leaves in soups too, and can immediately tell the difference when I neglect to add them to the pot.

A while back I planted my very own Bay Laurel tree so that I’d never run out.

I learned that bay leaves offer benefits as herbal remedies, too, as well as value in smudging like we do with sage.

Bay leaf tea is used to treat stomachaches, colds, and a sore throat.

A poultice of bay leaves is used for the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia (Goodrich et al., 1980).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Bay leaf tea is alleged to lower blood sugar, can eliminate bad cholesterol, and relieves the body of triglycerides..

Bay leaf protects the heart as it contains cardiovascular protective compounds. It’s rich in acids such as caffeic acid, quercetin, eigonol, and bartolinide, substances that are thought to prevent the formation of cancer cells in the body.

It eliminates insomnia and anxiety, and if taken before bed, helps you relax and sleep peacefully.

I’ve started drinking a cup of bay leaf tea twice a day, along with my everpresent ginger tea.

A simple soothing Bay Leaf Tea to boost immune function:

  • 4-5 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
  • About 32 ounces of water
  • Add leaves and cinnamon to the water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Drink hot or chilled.

Vitamin Sea

Today was the perfect day to soak up the positive energy of the ocean.

“The ocean has the ability to trigger a psychological state of calm and contentment. It can literally wash away the pain.”

I didn’t see any whales and this beach isn’t abundant with shells, but the sand was warm and welcoming.

Hearts in the sand.
A pretty little shorebird. This looks like a painting.

And a couple short videos:

Heart/wrecked

Featured

Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

Covid-19 Health Tips

Can you believe how many months we have been living under the dark cloud of a deadly virus?

Photo by CDC on Pexels.com

I’m not talking about tRump this time; I’m referring to Covid-19, formally called the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2.

I remember back in February when I heard some chatter about a new virus first noticed in China, more virulent than the common flu, and my ears perked up. With my chronic asthma and reduced lung function, I’m pretty careful in the best of times, and this seemed to be something else entirely.

I’m glad I listened to my inner voice and stopped going to the gym in March weeks before the official shut down, a preventative measure on my part because it’s normally never very clean and the air never smelled fresh.

During the shut down when everyone was hoarding toilet paper and Lysol spray and hand sanitizer, I asked my doc what I could do to protect myself.

Besides wearing a mask in public and staying away from crowds, her suggestion (and what she does) was to add zinc and Vitamin C to what I already take: D3, K2, turmeric, magnesium, and a B complex ‘cos I’ve been vegan for such a long time. I also take Carditone for cardiovascular health.

I’d rather eat healthy and take a few supplements than fall victim to high blood pressure meds, statins for cholesterol imbalances, and a compromised immune system.

I think probably the most important supplement we can take is a D3/K2 combo.

Years ago, my doc checked my D levels and was concerned that it was 24, way below the recommended healthy levels of 50-60. I started taking 5000 mcg daily and three months later, my levels were up to 40. Now they’re at the optimal number of 60, and I feel much better than I did in the beginning.

It’s been suggested that there’s a link between low levels of D3 and depression, and I believe it.

It’s a good idea to take D3 with K2 as there’s a synergistic relationship between vitamin K2 and vitamin D3 for bone and cardiovascular health. Vitamin K is essential for the proper utilization of calcium.

Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, while D3 supports a healthy immune system and muscle function.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

So far, I’ve been lucky not to have been infected by Covid, but I still wear a mask when out and stay away from crowds or gatherings of any kind, and wash my hands often.

Stay safe, everyone!

Self-care Saturday

It’s quiet this morning. The birds are singing and it’s the perfect time to practice self-care.

I like to take whatever existing store bought mask (not the kind we wear to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19) I have and embellish it with my own ingredients.

fullsizeoutput_f68This is a Kale + Niacin gel mask that’s the perfect consistency to DIY. 

I got inspired by the ingredients of my yummy vegan smoothie recipe and decided to put the same ingredients on my face as I did inside my body.

Inner and outer beauty!

  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp.organic spirulina
  • 1tbsp. organic moringa powder
  • 1 tbsp.organic wheat grass powder
  • 1 tbsp. matcha green tea powder
  • 1tsp. turmeric oil
  • 3 or 4 tbsp. of any existing masks you might have (OR you don’t need to… just add 2 teaspoons water and 2 teaspoons coconut or olive oil.)
  • Combine all ingredients
  • Spread all over your freshly washed face either using fingers or a foundation brush.
  • Leave on for 20 minutes.
  • Wash with warm water and feel the difference in your skin.
  • Moisturize immediately.
  • I save any leftover mask in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Have a wonderful self-care Saturday!

Super Healthy Vegan Protein Smoothie

Happy Sunday!

The color of this smoothie was such a gorgeous jade green, I just had to pour it in a pretty cocktail glass and take a pic.

Ingredients:

+Vegan Pea Protein
+Moringa powder (Organic)
+Wheat grass powder (Organic)
+Spirulina powder (Organic)
+Kale
+Banana
+Mango Peach Juice

So easy; toss it all in a blender and enjoy!

We Wear the Mask (Poetry/Reality)

Here’s my assortment of masks waiting for me on the front seat of the car.

That’s REALITY, a temporary address where I don’t really like living for any length of time, as I’d rather dwell in the realm of fairy gardens with doors that open to a gentle forest of everlasting happiness.

fullsizeoutput_ec0

How’s everyone doing with the novel Corona virus, now officially called SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2)

Are you masking up in public?

Have you been to a restaurant?

Have you or anyone you know been exposed and/or tested positive?

Are you still restricting your daily activities?

Are you still washing your hands more than ever?

Disinfection game still at a high level?

ME:
• I wear a mask whenever I go to a store. As soon as I walk outside, I take it off.
• No restaurants or bars for me.
• My DILs brother-in-law got it, was extremely sick and hospitalized, it was touch and go but he pulled through.
• I’m in the high risk demographic and haven’t/won’t attend any large gathering and I also stay well away from anyone in public.
• Still washing/disinfecting daily but to be honest, I’ve always been a clean freak, so it’s not a hardship.

Here’s the bottom line…I HATE wearing a mask but I do it to protect myself and others.
Just in case. Kind of the same reason I wear a seatbelt. Or don’t drink and drive. To protect you and me. Just in case.

It’s a small price to pay, whether or not it’s actually necessary, but doctors and medical professionals wear masks and other PPE during surgery and when they’re in the presence of patients who present potentially contagious symptoms, so why not?


Here’s POETRY.

Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote a poem about another kind of mask. He was an amazingly insightful poet.

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!
BY  PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR