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The Second Vaccine Dose 4 May 2021

Exactly two days ago, on Sunday mid-morning, I got my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Having had multiple friends that had already received their second doze of Pfizer or Moderna, I had a solid idea of the likely symptoms: very sore shoulder where the shot was given, headache overnight, mild fever, trouble sleeping, and a solid chance of overwhelming tiredness.

And yup, that's exactly what I had. The shoulder got more sore as Sunday went on and my sleep on Sunday night was poor. Woke up both chilled and mildly sweating at 1am with one heck of a headache. Dosed myself with ibuprofen and woke up again at 5am with the light fever gone but the headache back and feeling completely drained of energy.

Monday was just weird. My body felt like it had energy but my brain could simply not access it. Even with a cup of coffee and a cup of green tea, my mental energy to do anything was nowhere to be found. Ended up watching a couple movies and taking at least two full naps on the couch before lunch. Tina and I went for a walk in the early afternoon and for the first time in ages, I felt unsteady on my feet. A 25 minute walk required me to come home, have a snack, take more drugs, and pass out for nearly half an hour.

By Monday evening a bit of my energy had returned and I was able to read a handful of the short stories in my current book. But, let's be honest, I was still little better than a lump on the log. Prior to bed I took a long, hot shower and some Tylenol, which helped me sleep through the night until I woke up at 6am.

And I awoke with energy! This morning was sunny and warm after two days of rain, and I felt practically reborn with life. Got up, got going, and while I still felt only around 90% of my normal energy levels, it was such a significant change from Monday morning that it hardly mattered. Go, modern science!

Since I have a Garmin Fenix watch that I wear to bed nearly every night, I got to see some objective data about how the vaccine affected me too. My resting heart rate is usually around 46 beats per minute (bpm). While sleeping Sunday night, post-vaccine, my rest heart rate was 62 beats per minute. My body was definitely stressed and working hard. Tuesday morning it was down to 52 beats per minute, showing that my body was starting to come back from all the energy it had diverted into my immune system.

Garmin also has something called Body Battery that is "a feature that uses a combination of Heart Rate Variability, Stress, and Activity to estimate a user’s energy reserves throughout the day." Even on hard training days, my body battery rarely dips below 40 (out of 100). On Sunday night, my body battery was 26. A solid night of sleep almost always gets my body battery above 80, but on Monday morning it was still at a paltry 40 despite at least 5 hours of sleep. And, crazily, my body battery actually slowly increased over the course of Monday. By the time I went to bed it was at 59 and I woke up with a complete 100. Definitely reflects how I felt my energy levels changing.

Sunday Body Battery
My body battery on Sunday with activities and sleeping.

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According to the NY Times, as of today, the COVID-19 virus has killed at least 577,378 people in the United States. And then there are all the individuals who have survived COVID-19, only to have serious, long term health problems. This does not even begin to scratch the surface of how this virus is continuing to cause suffering and death in the world.

There are three different vaccines available in the United States and they are free to everyone. Not a single death has been caused by these vaccines, their effectiveness is even better than forecasted, and the chance of side effects is ludicrously low. I have no hesitancy in recommending this vaccine to anyone. For only a day and a half of discomfort, I am protecting myself and everyone around me. Completely worth it.

More vaccine facts here.