I had the Moderna vaccine – here’s what to expect

I was beyond thankful and grateful when I got the call to come get the Moderna jab – RIGHT NOW. As a forty something, I’m not particularly in any major risk group (beyond being a modest smoker), but I did get the nod from medical friends.

“We have a certain amount leftover each day from no shows at schedule appointments. We’d rather not throw this precious resource away., It’s either your arm or the garbage can, but you have to come when we tell you. Like, you get the call and you need to be here in 20 mins”.

I was in. After two weeks on tenterhooks, waiting each night for a call, it finally came.

Said friends gave me various anecdotes about what to expect with the vaccine side effects, but being so early in the roll out, there was little official documentation out there as to what to expect. This, that and maybe some other stuff.

In case it’s of help, here’s what I experienced from the Moderna jab. For reference, I’m a relatively healthy middle aged man, I don’t really like shots (who does) and as much as I want to say I have a good pain tolerance, I bet I’m pretty average. I’m probably the definition of an average middle aged guy.

The first Modern shot

Day 0 – I received the shot in the early evening. The shot itself was a cinch. A quick brush with an alcohol swab, started and finished in barely more than a second. I could barely feel the jab itself, or the Moderna vaccine going in. I started to feel some slight soreness around the injection site within a couple hours of the shot. I went to bed at 11.30 p.m.

Day 1 – I woke at 3.30am with awful arm pain. Lets be clear, I *never* wake during the night. I sleep like a log thats been buried in cement. But this pain woke me up like a shot. A good solid, “take notice of me” pain. At first I thought I had fallen asleep in a weird position so tried to move and flex my arm – the pain got worse. After much tossing and turning I discovered I needed to keep my arm straight or bent – but whatever the choice – keep it there. Any movement would increase the pain. While discovering this, I also experienced some on and off chills through my upper torso. I finally fell asleep after 90 minutes or so.

By the morning I felt pretty rough from head to toe. Body aches, lethargy and a general meh attitude. An Amazon package arrived to the sound of the doorbell. It felt like it took aeons to walk the barely 20ft to the front door to collect it. The arm felt like a write off for any real amount of lifting or movement. The chills intensified, I noticed a decent neck pain and by mid afternoon I took to bed for an afternoon nap. I probably slept a couple hours.

I woke around 6 p.m. and felt orders of magnitude better. By 8 p.m. I felt improved enough to crack a couple of beers. Clearly the tide had turned.

Day 2 – I slept soundly through to the morning and found that the arm pain had lessened, and certainly was not constant anymore. There was no pain when lifting or with most movement. Some pain with raising the arm aloft, and extending the arm outwards away from my body. A decent level of pain remained from pressing on the injection site. Chills and general aches were now completely vanished, though neck pain and stiffness remained present.

Day 3 – Pain was almost gone in the arm by morning and practically vanished by the evening. A firm press on the arm resulted in a minor sensation, not unlike accidentally bumping the arm. Neck pain almost gone.

Day 4 – Some pressing around the injection site produced a very mild pain in the morning, but by evening it was completely gone. Effectively no more traces of vaccine. I started to get a mild pain in my armpit – on the same arm of the vaccine. I didn’t think much of it at first, but…

Day 5 – The armpit pain persisted and increased – enough for me to note it as pretty unusual. The pain remained prominent through the day.

Day 6 – The armpit pain was still present, and also back with it, the day one lethargy, aches, pains and general malaise. Certainly not as bad as day one, but I needed to take a late afternoon nap. Very low energy, and overall, feeling kinda sorry for myself.

Day 7 – With another day of armpit pain, I took some Ibuprofen, which largely resolved the pain. Lethargy and general meh continued, as did some fuzzy brain which made focusing hard. Certainly I wasn’t up to much in the way of productive work and took another late afternoon nap. As a sidetone – I never ever take naps – so this was really unusual for me.

The second Moderna shot

I’ve heard in advance from medical friends that the worst side effects come with the second shot. That leaves me pretty intrigued with what’s coming. I’ll update the post when that happens…

Day 0 – Well a full month has passed shot number two beckoned. This time around I had the shot relatively early in the morning, around 10.30 a.m.

As we drove home I started to develop a mild headache but nothing too serious. Much like the first shot, after a couple hours my arm pain was pretty intense, well beyond the ‘dead arm’ many talk about.

As the day wore on I felt increasingly fatigued and drained. Like last time I took a nap mid afternoon. We had grand plans to order food in if we felt too bad, but I felt just about upto cooking a simple dinner.

Throughout the rest of the evening my energy levels continued to drop and I felt ‘stuck’ on the sofa. As long as I didn’t move, feet up, scrolling through Netflix all was well. Anything more was an absolutely hassle though.

I dragged myself to bed, and a rough night ensued. Arm pain, constant fevered sweats and pretty much waking up every hour. I finally got out of bed at 6 a.m., throughourly dehfryated and I think I downed two points of water in quick succession before headed back to bed for a few more hours.

Day 1 – I had expected things to get worse, but my initial feelings on tentatively opening my eyes was, “hey this might not be too bad”. I was still pretty fevered, head to toe in sweat. But the fatigue and muscle pain had massively subsided. My arm still was crazy sore though, so I made some breakfast and took ibuprofen. By noon, and after a shower, I was starting to feel pretty ok. Still quite sweaty mind you, but whole new levels of energy had returned.

End of post thematic video

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