In today’s post I share a diary comic of the day and day after I got my COVID booster shot. The blog post also includes stream of consciousness thoughts all related to that day and to the COVID vaccination. At the end of the post, I write about my creative process and reasons behind this post and how creating this post is informing my direction in the medium I use to create and the content I want to make.
I got my booster and flu shot at the same time the other day. I happened to be eligible for the shot and also live in an area where COVID vaccination sites are everywhere and very accessible. NYC is doing a good job. There are ads that if you get a COVID shot at some of their sites, they will give you a free 7-day unlimited MetroCard. Not bad, eh?
I’ve been staying in Brooklyn and found it surprisingly easy to find a place to get a shot within the neighborhood and within the city. The only inconvenience was not reading the fine print of when walk-in hours were at the various vaccination sites and ending up going to the neighboring museum and heading over to the pharmacy during their non-operating hours. However, once I figured out the right timing, I headed over for my booster shot.
Since I was getting it done at a pharmacy, I ended up getting the flu shot too. I walked in, provided my information, and waited in line for a bit before getting called up. The Pfizer jab was short and sweet. I remember getting my first and second dose, both happened so fast, I was questioning if I had even gotten vaccinated… The sore arms that followed for the next 24 hours showed me that I certainly did get vaxxed.
Funnily, the flu shot is what ended up hurting during the jab. I asked if the needle was bigger (because that’s how it feels) but the pharmacist said that’s part of it and there is just more liquid to inject so it has to be in my arm longer. My flu shot arm was sore for the next couple of hours…all from the flu shot! My COVID booster arm had yet to start hurting. Then over the next 12 hours, the soreness in my booster arm started to develop while the flu shot arm started to wane. At one point, both arms were quite sore. It wasn’t a bad sore though, almost feels like a sore after a really intense arm day. But except this time it was also mixed in with fatigue.
It wasn’t until 24 hours after I got the shot that I started to experience the side effects. I felt chills, headache, and extreme fatigue. The symptoms I got for the booster shot came later than expected and it lasted shorter than expected. My symptoms post-2nd dose had made me feel like I was hit by a brick and I was in bed all day. I also felt those symptoms pretty soon after my shot, rather than it hitting only 24 hours after. My work let us have a whole day off after the day we get vaccinated, so I was lucky to not have had to work since I could barely function. I curled up on the couch under my blankets and put on my headphones.
Side note: Taylor Swift’s new album had just come out and “All Too Well” (10 minute version) was making its’ rounds and was topping charts. I watched the music video when it first came out and enjoyed the music and video but did not think much of it…until all the commentary about the meaning behind the lyrics and the song started coming out. I went through a decent amount of reading and Tiktok watching of all the analyses and reactions from Swifties. I then listened to the song and kept listening to it on repeat, listening attentively to every lyric line (something I don’t usually do). Quickly, I couldn’t stop listening to the song and was sharing it with all my friends. I would say I am a low-key Swiftie. Always, for the most part, been a fan of her music, but it wasn’t until watching the documentary about her (Miss Americana) that I came to appreciate her as an artist and person much more. I think the whole world was going through a similar opinion change about her too, especially as Folklore and Evermore came out. She is an incredibly talented songwriter and her music sure does hit! Always with such depth, emotion, and relatability. Also, I admire everything she is doing with re-recording her old music so she can have ownership over her music rather than having it owned by the big music corporations.
I spent those 3 hours curled up in bed listening to All Too Well (10 minute version) on a loop. I could not stop feeling the lyrics, and imagining what it must be like for young women dating older men when the woman treats him like an “oath” and he treats her like a “secret”. (Wow!) And oh my gosh, the line “I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.” That really hits, especially given the rumors that this song was written about Taylor Swift’s ex, Jake Gyllenhaal who is 40 years old now and supposedly dating a 25 year old model… (*insert side eye emoji*). If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the short film music video. Besides reading analysis essays about this, I also searched Tiktok using the #alltoowell10minuteversion hashtag to find all the short snippet discussion and easter eggs people had.
Alright, done with the tangent. Moving on… 3 hours or so after feeling my side effects strongly, I suddenly felt better. I was texting with my friend that day about potentially meeting up and how we were both craving bagels. Meeting up was not happening because it was too late in the day at that point and I was in Brooklyn and her in Jersey. But getting a bagel? I could get that not too far away. I proceeded to look up people’s favorite bagel on Reddit, picked one (Court St Bagels) and headed out. The store was closing at 5pm and I was leaving at 4pm. Taking the train combined with walking was going to take me 30 minutes. I was hopeful I could make it.
I walked so fast to the train and then walked so fast from the train to the bagel shop. I rarely walk fast, let alone for a bagel or any type of food! But I had just spent the last 2 days recovering from my shots and the last 10 days going through a seasonal cold. I really wanted to treat myself to something I was craving. I think back to a Russ and Daughter lox bagel I had a few years ago on a visit to NYC and I still remember it fondly. I walked as fast as I could and navigated my way through the rush hour crowds in downtown Brooklyn.
I got to the store right at 4:50pm but they had already closed! Even though their closing time should have been 5pm. Then I remembered, “oh right, bagels are a breakfast or lunch thing huh”. There were still people in the store cleaning up and I was so tempted to knock and beg but ha! of course I would not. (I did get to return here a week later and got a nice (and costly) lox sandwich).
What was the next best thing I could grab in NYC? Pizza. I was in a rush to head back home to help my friend with grocery shopping for Friendsgiving. I was also really hungry because I hadn’t eaten all day, so I found a pizza store nearby and hurried over. I got two slices of pizza and it wasn’t until the guy put the pizza into the oven, did he mention that I needed a $10 minimum to pay with credit card. (Good reminder to always bring cash in NYC. At least $20). I had used up all my cash for laundry just a few days before, so I scavenged my wallet to pull out $4.25 for a $5.25 total. Luckily, the guy said that was fine and took the money. I felt grateful and also bad because I was not able to tip. But I also felt really glad he allowed me to, because it made my day all the better.
And that was my booster and post-booster day. Now for some thoughts on COVID as 2021 is soon to come to an end (though I also resonate with those memes that say we are about to go into the 3rd year of 2020 – which is also true).
I’ve been thinking about how easy it was for me to get boosted here in NYC with one of the more effective vaccines while there are people in many parts of the world who are not vaccinated yet due to no access. I think about how there are also people in the world (specifically the U.S.) who have access and choose not to get vaccinated. That last part, I find infuriating.
I got boosted around the days talk of a new variant was popping up. Now I know the name of this new variant is Omicron, but a lot about the variant is still unknown and uncertain. We are yet to find out how contagious or severe this variant is especially when compared to Delta. The public is also yet to find out how Omicron will impact vaccinated people.
The way it is all going right now, it does not feel like COVID is going anywhere soon. Places that have access to good vaccines have people who refuse to get it because of their unfounded beliefs. Places that have people willing to get it don’t have access or have other obstacles preventing them from accessing. Without herd immunity, the virus will keep evolving and more variants will be forming. I hope the worse of it will never come, and COVID will over time become like a common cold and that we have the necessary preventions and treatments for it. But when will that happen?
When so much is out of our control, what is there left but to just take it day by day and do what we can control? I’ve been feeling hopeless about the global situation, not knowing when I will see my aging father, and also knowing if I do happen to make it to China to see him, I risk being separated from other loved ones for who knows how long. It’s not fair, but life isn’t fair.
I drew this daily comic just reflecting on the day after I got both shots. I had just recovered from a seasonal cold so I felt especially weak and wrecked that day. But ending it with a nice warm meal, and getting access to the booster protection? It wasn’t a bad day after all.
I drew this daily comic just reflecting on the day after I got both shots. I had just recovered from a seasonal cold so I felt especially weak and wrecked that day. But ending it with a nice warm meal, and getting access to the booster protection? It was a good day. I feel lucky to have the access and to be protected to the best of my ability. I just wish the same could be said for the rest of the world.
Creative process notes on this post:
I’ve been wanting to incorporate my drawings and comic me (Lydie) into Thoughtful Wanders because I think drawing and combining my doodles with my photos can more easily communicate my thoughts. This diary comic was really an experiment to see how much energy and effort it would take me to draw a diary comic reflecting on one day and turning it into a blog post. Instead of writing about something more meaningful or with a more complex topic, I decided it would be best to experiment with simple content, hence why it’s a diary comic.
Creating this piece actually was quite time-consuming, despite my best efforts to simplify the drawing, coloring, and writing process. It may not be realistic to do frequent diary comics paired with blog posts. I’m still going to draw and I’m still going to write, but I now feel called to only draw and write about topics I really care about and want to break down, rather than high quantity of simple diary comics. I also want to invest energy into drawing for video format and drawing for illustrations that I can turn into prints and stickers.
My goal is to essentially share what I noticed and observed throughout my daily life paired with meaningful commentary, insight, and humor. I want to create something where it is equally useful for me to process and make the art, as it is for someone to read and consume it. I don’t want to fall too much into creating work just to process without it being relevant to someone else because I like my work to be useful to more than just me. Ideally, I also would like to create a ton of diary comics and blog posts because I enjoy documenting my life. But to document everyday or most days would be quite difficult, especially if it is not relatable to anyone beyond me (I want my work to center on the human condition, and reflect on what parts of my experience might connect to other people). Plus, working on frequent diary comics would remove time for me to work on the more substantial pieces. I’m still figuring out a balance, so we’ll see how it goes!