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Ice cream and vaccines are seasonal joys
From the Valley
EM AND CHASCA are looking pretty happy here. It’s hard to tell if it’s the vaccine or the ice cream that is putting those big smiles on their faces.

RISING SUN - “ICE CREAM AND VACCINES ICE CREAM AND VACCINES” I shouted with reckless abandon as Chasca drove me through the drive-through at Culvers, after I was so fortunate to receive my first Covid-19 vaccination. 

It marked the first time in my life I’ve ever been thrilled to be deemed obese by the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale. When I first read the list and saw that my dad, Chasca and myself would all qualify I began the mad dash to try to get us on a list. Chasca actually qualified a little earlier through his job, but it took me a little bit to find him an available appointment. Luckily though after several checks, I happened to get one for him the next day at Walgreens in Prairie du Chien. 

For my dad and myself, we were grateful for the hard work of the Vernon County Health Department. When I initially only received one link to sign up, I without hesitation signed my dad up first. Not many days after though, in a very cheerful email, the health department alerted me and others that there were in fact more doses than they initially thought available. 

I’ve talked to and heard about many peoples' different emotions who stand on different sides of the platform on getting the Covid-19 vaccination. 

For me, it was a rush of emotion. I was anxious, nervous, and excited when we pulled up to the church that was housing the mass vaccination effort. Apparently to the woman at the clinic, my eyes looked terrified, but I think I was really almost in a daze. Just taking it all in and trying to remember what a historic moment feels like. 

As for the physical feeling? I didn’t feel the shot at all. They had everyone sitting and waiting 15 minutes in case of reaction, and I admit, I had a hard time not tearing up a bit. In days after, I felt a little bit like I received an overzealous slug bug, but nothing major. I received the Pfizer dose.

Chasca was, well, Chasca about it. He was happy to be getting it, but it didn’t feel so monumental or exciting for him. He did however receive what is apparently dubbed ‘Covid Arm’ a very painful arm ache for a few days after receiving the Moderna dose. He did agree however when I responded to every one of his winces with “It’s better than getting Covid!” and in the end, he is no worse for the wear. 

Another individual shared with me that they felt “like I had butterflies driving to the hospital to get my first dose, my stomach was doing flips! I was so excited!” 

A longtime friend shared with me “I barely felt a thing! The needle was very small. I was a little nervous getting it, but I do not want to be afraid of this virus anymore, either for myself or my family.” 

My cousin shared with me that my aunt would heckle her fellow dialysis patients, while they waited for their treatment, to make sure they’d get their shot akin to someone making sure you’re definitely registered to vote. 

There are people who are skeptical or suspicious of receiving a Covid Vaccine.

One individual who had COVID and survived said that they wouldn’t be getting it because “they already know what it’s like.” 

Another reported they would be waiting for a while to see how their other trusted friends and family who opted in for the shot fair, before they got their own. 

Other common responses have included shrugs, squished up faces and a lot of “ehhhhh I dunno what I’m going to do yet.” 

And then there are people who are experiencing another batch of emotions, as they wait for a dose to become available to them. 

“I just want to get mine so badly,” my best friend Stephanie, who lives in Iowa where the distribution seems to be going far slower than neighboring states. “I just want to feel safe again and like I’m not always wondering if I’m going to catch Covid. I want to see my friends, I want to live my life.”

I have no regrets myself getting my first dose and am looking forward to all of the potential in this next chapter of my life.

I realized that there were so many things we all took for granted. From the privilege of going on grand vacations to simply being able to sit at a table with people we’ve been sitting with for decades, to simply embracing someone without a second thought. 

This year was full of sacrifices that may have seemed extreme, a difficulty, or frightening at times. But I read a quote recently that said, “Your choice to give up the last eleven or so months of your regular life, being careful and socially distancing, could very well be the reason somebody else is alive today-and it will always have been worth it.” And that truly sums up how I feel. 

And it also sums up how I feel about receiving my vaccine. Former Public Health Nurse Gloria Wall would always tell me every year when I interviewed her about the flu shot, “We get the flu shot to protect those who can't. The little babies, someone with something that compromises them and prevents them from being able to get it. The very old who may not have as strong of an immunity. This is something we can do for them. It is a gift we can give.”  

I encourage you all to reach out and find a vaccination location. Give the gift of protection to others, who may not be able to get it themselves. Protect yourself. And help us all work together to develop this brave new world, together.