A Fresh Salad & A Fresh Start
Last Friday morning I gratefully got my second vaccination shot and the reaction was enlightening. While I know several dozen people who have or have had covid19, until now, I thought of it vaguely as a nasty kind of flu. Clearly, it affected some folks more than others, but then so does flu, right? I had no reaction at all to the first shot but I knew the second one could be rougher so I prudently made some soup and snacks and piled up some comfort books to read. By mid afternoon, the vaccine was kicking my immune system into high gear and I was mentally apologizing to everyone with the real thing: Sorry, I did not imagine what you were experiencing! Recurring bouts of nausea and fevers and chills and muscle and joint pains and pounding headaches that were truly immobilizing continued for about 36 hours. I’d read that it’s best not to use anything to reduce the fever for the first day or so in order to make sure the immune system was able to respond. Emboldened by the powerful reaction, I finally took a Tylenol Saturday night and slept 14 hours, but still felt exhausted yesterday. Today, however, I feel basically normal. Done! Whew!
I say all this because I want to encourage people to please get the vaccine! Several friends have said they worry about its safety or worry about the reaction, but it’s so varied, nobody can really predict how anyone will respond. Several friends in their 80s had almost no reaction at all, while younger friends in their 30s and 40s were hammered, though just for a day. All weekend, I kept thinking that this was just the pale shadow of what millions of people have been experiencing, and for a lot longer than a few hours or days. Now I no longer have to be so fearful as I shop and walk the neighborhood. Of course I’m still going to wear a mask and keep my distance but the fear factor has diminished greatly.
I am extremely grateful for the vaccine, and for the thousands of generous, public spirited people who have mobilized around the country to get people vaccinated. Since the former regime had no plan at all for vaccine distribution, it fell to the states, unprepared and underfunded, to work out how to get the immense and complicated job done. Now the federal government is taking on more responsibility yet most of the hands-on work is being done by ad hoc teams of volunteers, many with at least some medical training and some who are also working full time on top of volunteering. Here in Washington, it’s extremely impressive to see each county pulling together groups to perform testing and administer vaccinations for thousands of people, just about as fast as the vaccines become available. Cooperation, collaboration and community are coming back as core values, as strongly as ever. We are finally uniting against a common danger and we are already stronger for it.
Prepare For Recuperating
If you are scheduling your second vaccination, you might want to make a few preparations as the date draws near. On the first day of my highly diluted experience, I only wanted water. It was wonderful to have refreshing, nourishing food ready when I came back into focus the second day and could muster the energy to eat something. Soup is always comforting, so have some of your own favorite types on hand. You might also want to try this raw winter salad, lively with lemon and garlic; for me, it was the best wake-me-up of all. The dressing is similar to the one I use for tabouli, and the spunky flavor invites the addition of fresh parsley and cilantro as well as some chopped mint if that appeals. It’s also great drizzled over steamed vegetables or grilled fish or any combination of greens. Adjust the lemon to taste, starting with one tablespoon; I like it to have some zing, but it still sings with a mellower amount.
Zesty Winter Broccoli Salad
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
2 cups finely chopped cauliflower florets
1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup finely shredded kale
1 cup chopped sweet peppers
2-3 finely chopped green onions
Lemon Garlic Dressing to taste (see below)
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (garnish)
Combine first 6 vegetables, drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat. Let stand at least 20 minutes or up to overnight (refrigerated), then serve at room temperature, garnished with sliced tomatoes. Makes about 4 cups. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
Lively Lemon Garlic Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon (4-5 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup avocado or olive oil
pinch sea salt
few grinds black pepper
1/4 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
Combine in a jar, adding lemon juice to taste, and shake vigorously to emulsify. Makes about 2/3 cup. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.