The Jab II

Click HERE for the first chapter…

Just my luck to have my second COVID-19 vaccine scheduled on farmer’s market day during the week I chose to fast. Geez, walking through the fruit stands, the fish monger, and flower stands was a test of endurance, temptation, conviction. I was desperately tempted to indulge in the large juicy apricots and make jam, but I figured that making jam during a time I shouldn’t be eating is tantamount to psychological suicide. So I’ll forgo making my batch of apricot jam to next week… briskly walking past the flower stands was easier because I received potted plants for my birthday this past weekend. Besides, I’m running out of pots and space on my sliver of balcony.

The line at my doctor’s clinic was significantly longer than last time but the turnover was just as impressively efficient and quick as the first time. The team has found their mojo and go through the motions in an almost automated manner. When I wailed to my doctor about the insomnia he was taken aback, perplexed and confounded. Insomnia is a rare reaction to the jab, though not completely unheard of. I am to return immediately if it gets any worse after this second shot. It’s always disconcerting when your doctor frowns and scowls while taking note of your symptoms…

The cool thing about receiving the second jab here in Germany is that you are then entitled to a QR code that will activate your digital vaccination card, which is readily available on your phone on an app. As someone who has gone through numerous vaccination records in several continents over the past decades, I find this development utterly fascinating. I remember childhood my days when we had to get yellow fever vaccines for Africa on top of the usual ones for risky areas. Then came the years in India when hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and tetanus became standard cocktails. My daughter pulled the short straw during this time, having been attacked by a monkey and consequently requiring her to have rabies shots as well. I think the least complicated geographical area for me to have lived in was Southeast Asia i.e. Thailand and the Philippines. Having said that, the concept of having a digital card is as bizarre to me as the ATM machine was to my mother! But there is a certain sense of relief that comes over me knowing that in two weeks I will be cleared and be considered fully immunised. This is of course a false sense of security because we should not forget that the vaccine is a yearly thing, not a one-shot deal.

It was such joy to stroll past the shops and see the outdoor cafes and restaurants overflowing with customers. I had to grin when I witnessed several exasperated parents trying to cope with excited children or numerous senior citizens out and about, meeting up with friends.

On the way home I couldn’t resist the summer vibe in the fields and waddled home at a snail’s pace.

Berlin is cheerful and in full summer mode at the moment, in spite of the looming threat of the rapidly spreading Delta variant. For now, everyone is simply grabbing summer by horns and savouring the precious moments outdoors, socialising, shopping, or simply running errands at a slower and more relaxed pace. I don’t think anyone will ever take such instances for granted ever again.

OK, I have to stop here. My arm is stiffening and I am beginning to feel the heaviness, which is a new reaction. Who knows, maybe my insomnia will finally be replaced by drowsiness. Life is anything but dull.

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