The week when I got the first Covid vaccine jab

Mon 15 – Sun 21 Feb 2021

The pandemic and lockdown 3.0 roll on. Clearly the numbers of deaths and infection are declining. But they are still high – 700 deaths per day on average. 🙁 Let’s be honest, we can’t rush out of lockdown even with the arrival of the vaccine. We have got to do everything we can to ensure this is the last time. We’ve basically lost a year and can’t afford to lose another one. Indeed, no pancake day last week. 🙁

pancake day

Health and Efficiency

Vaccine time 🙂

The big news, that I note for posterity, is that I had my first jab on Sunday morning. Same place I took mum but for yourself it is as emotional as those you love receiving it. I honestly believe it is one of those things that you will recall for the rest of your life. Indeed, with the mass vaccination, we are all taking part in a piece of history.

The background was that on Thursday I received an email from the NHS advising that they had re-evaluated and now determined that I am extremely clinically vulnerable. As such I should receive the vaccine asap and shield myself. Advice on the latter is a bit bloody late in the day seeing as we are a year into the pandemic. 🙁 Though I have been very careful and I will continue to be so.

Almost immediately after that email, a text followed with a slot for me to receive the vaccine. 🙂 It all went very smoothly on the day. In fact, better than when I took mum – the NHS has clearly streamlined the process. In and out within 20 mins. 🙂 Not expecting any side effects but it’s simply wait and see.

Jog-run and walking

My knee is really playing up. I must get it checked once the reach of the vaccine means the NHS can go back to some sort of normal business. However, I may have to wait years for a referral by my GP. The upshot is that I didn’t do any jog-runs last week, not even a slow one.

However, I did do several long purposeful walks – between Dave’s and mum’s within our support bubble. This was my main exercise – quite gentle but still managed to aggravate my knee. 🙁

Weight

So on the health front, good news with the vaccine but bad news with my knee. I have been trying to cut down on my food intake as well. The key new thing I am doing in the evening is having only one savoury thing to eat. So just a piece of meat or fish and no accompaniment. I find I’m not feeling so overwhelmed with the food and appreciating more the flavour of the individual thing I am eating. 🙂

man weighing himself

Weight saw a small drop back to 13 stone, 4 & a quarter pounds. Effectively my weight is on a plateau – see details for the last few weeks here. If I want it to go down then I am going to have to restrict my calorie intake more. And / or do more exercise to burn calories.

No new job to report but a few developments:

  • Heard about the application that I put in the previous week – I will hear if I am through to the presentation / interview stage on 3rd March
  • Checked in with my Job Centre Plus support worker to find out that she is retiring after 30 years in post. 🙁 Sad because she’s nice and empathetic plus I am going to have to build a relationship with someone new.
  • Have applied to go on a programme specifically for over 50s that have been unemployed for +6 months. Programme provides financial assistance for training, CV advice, interview practice, etc. Interview in a week’s time to see if I am accepted.
  • First interview (very informal) with a company that has reached out to me on LinkedIn for a vacancy they have. It’s an interesting role and I look forward to further interviews to sort out if I am right for them and they are right for me. 🙂
motivational picture

Personal Development

Language learning continues – one of the things that has seen me through the pandemic and three lockdowns. Plus this is something that I am going to carry on with even once the vaccine roll-out has finished and the ‘new normal’ has kicked in. I love my language learning too much to give up.

Also still been doing my tech exercises on Free Code Camp. It’s all about Accessibility at the moment, how we ensure the internet and its benefits are available to those with disabilities such as visual limitations. I also watched a webinar last week about how heritage organisations can make better videos. Good for general updating of my video-making skills. 🙂

Friends

Phyllis

All good. He’s recovering well from Covid and enjoying the vida loca. I really can’t wait to go and visit him. Torremolinos, Sitges ,and Berlin are all on the top of my visit list once the vaccine has kicked in and international travel is a thing again. 🙂

Dom

Also last week, met up for an exercise walk with my old mate Dom. I have lived through the worst months of the pandemic without full shielding and I will carry on being careful without shutting down my whole life.

Carbs

Masked up for the walk and kept our distance though Dom had already received the vaccine. But a lovely catch-up with someone I have known for nearly 35 years. Really impressed by Dom’s loss of weight achieved through massively reducing carbs intake.

Also caught up on our respective searches for paid work, ideas for the future, and news on how our mutual friends are coping.

Books and Reading

Two books completed last week.

‘Real Life’ by Brandon Taylor

A recent piece of gay literature that has been much lauded and was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. It is the story of a young black gay male student at an American university. Over a short period of time, it looks at his relationship with the other students – some his friends and one in particular who he starts a sexual relationship with.

It’s a well written book, no doubt about it. Did I enjoy it? I am not so sure. I felt for the main character Wallace and you are left feeling he is ‘more sinned against than sinning’. He clearly faces racist attitudes. Yet his relationship with Miller raises questions as neither is a totally sympathetic character. Is Miller just a thug? Is Wallace playing games? Is he sympathetic enough to someone who doesn’t yet identify as gay?

Clearly, it is a book that raises questions and makes you think. But perhaps, overall, too much angst? Finishing the book felt that same as finishing listening to a Smiths LP; clearly brilliant but weighed-down with self-focused bleakness and pessimism. Perhaps it’s the virus but I feel I need some hope and light at the moment – like the vaccine has brought.

‘The Massacre of Mankind’ by Stephen Baxter

Published in 2017, this is the official sequel to H.G.Wells’ 1898 classic ‘The War of the Worlds’. It’s written by Stephen Baxter who is a renowned modern sci-fi author in his own right.

It’s an interesting (foolhardy?) challenge to write the follow-up to such a prestigious novel. This certainly doesn’t live up to the original but it is entertaining. The second Martian invasion is much more of a world war with the Martians landing around the world and not just in England. But if I was a cynic, I might say this would have easier appeal to an international market in selling a book.

What I do love about this book is the way Baxter has put himself into the time-frame of thinking around Wells’ time. Yes, he’s woven in ‘real’ history like the 1914 Franco-German War. But he’s also representing contemporary thinking such as the idea that all planets in the solar system can sustain life.

Art and Culture

TV classics

Apart from the soaps and quality daytime TV, I saw 3 pieces of classic TV last week:

  • It’s a Sin Final part on Fri night. Me and Dave resisted the box set and watched it week-by-week. A very moving episode. Been some criticism of the programme which I think is unfair. I definitely could related to many events the programme portrayed. Not everyone had the same experiences and not all stories can be told in one programme. The AIDS/HIV crisis of the 80s and 90s had so many stories and experiences within it.
  • Survivors I’m still absorbed by this 70s programme. The post-apocalyptic lives of people after a virus that left only 1 in 5,000 alive. Clearly Covid isn’t on that scale. But imagine what would have happened if the vaccine had not come along. 🙁 Our world would have been totally changed at least for several decades and perhaps forever. We could have learned to survive as with HIV (for which there has never been a vaccine) but everything would have changed.
  • Schalcken the Painter Classy BBC horror story from 1979. Based on a short story by classic horror writer Sheridan Le Fanu and the life of painter Godfried Schalcken. Chilling atmospheric TV the BBC wouldn’t make any more. And wonderfully reminiscent of the beauty of seventeenth century Dutch art. Wikipedia entry on it here.

Cinema: Una Mujer Fantastica (A Fantastic Woman)

Watched a great film last week. World rather than European cinema as it was a film made in Chile. Winner of the Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2018, it’s the world before the virus, hopefully to be restored by the vaccine.

It is a very moving film about a trans woman whose world falls apart when her partner dies. His family sweep in and freeze her out. The world of officialdom is totally hostile to her. Very reminiscent of how some gay men were treated in the 80s and 90s when their partners died. I am always struck by how the anti-trans arguments of now are like the arguments used against lesbian and gay people in previous decades. Like people not being safe around them. 🙁

Great acting by Daniela Vega, a trans actress. I really enjoyed this film. Highly recommended to help understand the prejudice and discrimination faced by trans people. You can read more about it here.

Sustainability

My side hustle (the circular economy)

recycling symbol

Still powering on with selling stuff online I don’t want any more – primarily CDs, DVDs, books, and clothes. As I have said in previous blogs, it’s about downsizing and letting go. Also creating space and earning money. Overall, I am feeding the benevolent circular economy and coming to terms with my own mortality. Don’t we collect stuff to pretend we are going to live forever?

Will I carry on once the everyone has had the vaccine and the pandemic is ‘over’? Probably but perhaps not with the gusto I am doing now. Though that may well depend on if I have other income coming in by then. TBH, the combination of selling, packing, and posting is quite time consuming for the amount of money involved. 🙁

Plants

An update on my beloved plants. Generally, the indoor ones are doing OK though some are struggling and we’ve lost a couple. Oh well, nothing lasts forever. 🙁 The balcony ones are doing worse though it is better now with the cold spell over. It is really waiting for Spring to see which ones come back from dead. Though some of the bulbs Dave put in have already started to sprout. 🙂

The Week Ahead…

  • Wait for the vaccine to take effect
  • Another health appointment, time for my INR (blood clotting) check again
  • Will I get a slow jog-run in? Aiming to have 4 long purposeful walks between Dave and mum’s.
  • Hoping for some weight loss but staying the same would be OK 🙂
  • Seen another job to apply for plus got several ‘work-related’ calls next week including old colleagues Nissa and Dan as well as a new contact to discuss job-shares
  • Catch-up with my new Job Centre Plus support worker
  • So looking forward to starting 2 new books and more online films to watch 🙂
  • Have booked some more webinars and video workshops to attend including several linked to the Inclusion in Tech Festival
  • Carry on downsizing – I’m best mates with the people who work in the local post office 🙂

And Finally…

Late in the day but always worth remembering

Commentary on Trump's impeachment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.