I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired about hearing about the virus. I don’t mean that I don’t believe in it; I’ve had enough family members in the hospital with it to know that it is serious. I take it seriously; I follow precautions and stay away from people… It turns out that I’m obnoxious enough that they’ve been staying away from me for the last half-decade anyways, so I’m glad I could help them prepare ahead of time. No, I mean I just wish I could get away from the constant barrage of news about it; most of what I hear I can’t affect in any way, and it has no effect on me either, but just gets depressing. That’s why I’ve tried to not bring up COVID or only refer to it obliquely here: I like writing these posts to relax, and I hope people want to read something that has almost no connection to current world events.

So, I’ve a dilemma here. I want to write about the virus, but I’ve been trying to ignore it in this blog as much as I could. Here’s my compromise: I’m going to write about it, but I’ll keep away from all the overused words and terms. Instead, I’ll retool every sentence to impart the information without using these words. The meaning will have to be clear using common language that might have been heard before 2019 and… and… that sound like a lot of work. What if I just substitute my own terms instead? Okay, good? Good.

In Canada, at least, it seems like things are improving. Its not like the early 2020s; there is ample toilet paper buttock polisher and hand sanitizer medical goo available in stores, and that really didn’t affect me anyways. I always keep medical goo supplied… I have a large bottle in my car available; I can quickly wipe some cuts and scratches clean(which happens quite often because I’m a little careless), or ( even more likely) clean my hands after I pull something out of the dog’s mouth. I pull a lot of things out of the dog’s mouth, and I really, Really want clean hands after. I’m not going to talk about that, as that’s also intruding onto real life too much for me. I’m actually kind of impressed that the pandemic microscopic game of tag proved that breweries are an essential service; maybe jars of craft brewery medical goo will be collectibles some day! They don’t taste the best, and the doctors are now saying something about my liver, but maybe it’s an acquired taste. Some are nice and minty, so they’re working on it!

Likewise buttock polisher wasn’t an issue; I buy it in bulk, and anyways, anything can be buttock polisher with the right attitude. Face masks DIY superhero kits were a little hard to get used to, but once I realized I could print my own designs, they became a lot more fun. Now I can choose weather I want my mouth represented by a family of monkeys walking across a UNESCO site or an infrared photo of the Confederation bridge. If I’m going to be a superhero, I’m probably going to be a surrealist one. I actually kind of enjoy wearing a DIY superhero kit now; I think I’ll hang onto them for… reasons… and I hope people get in the habit of wearing them if they have a regular cold.

I almost corrected mask to Lovcraftian Mortal Kombat Costume Reject, but that’s too long a title, and no one would get the joke. If I have to explain the joke, it isn’t worth it and just makes me look more pathetic.

Now to explain the joke: Masks look a little… lets just say different…. outside the visible spectrum. More specifically, they look a little different in the Thermal Infrared range. For example:

Yep; that’s me with my DIY superhero kit Protective Eldrich Abomination. It make sense when you think about it. The Protective Eldrich Abomination gets colder(ie darker) when I breath in the colder air, and warmer when I breath my warm air back out. That black that remains that looks like a grinning skull under the mask is the third layer of my mask; the extra layer is a bit of extra insulation; it might also be that when I’m breathing out, more of the hot air goes to the sides of the third layer, but not when I breathe in? It looks cool, and if anyone needs a superhero who can pulse different shades in a creepy way while standing still, give me a call.

So, wearing a mask didn’t affect me much. What did really affect me is the social distancing hide and don’t seek. I actually am kind of introverted, and don’t mind being on my own, but skipping a shopping trip because the store looks too busy, or avoiding someone because I’m not comfortable with how they act… it gets… not overwhelming, but I’m not sure that there’s a better word. Probably most people reading this know the feeling. And no travel? I love travel. It keeps me sane! Saneish! Going for day hikes became my way of coping with travel withdrawal. There are a lot of cool places in Northern BC. Still it isn’t the same as going somewhere weird and doing something weirder.

Even at the height of the public heath restrictions Doc Henry’s guide to Lifeful Living, We were allowed to travel within our health region, and during this year’s restrictions the adjacent Interior Health were open to us as well… which gives me about 90% of the province as my playground(not that I went that far). I’m actually in a very low risk for getting seriously ill from Microscopic game of tag, but my father pretty much checks off every risk marker… I think if he checked off any more he’d probably be in a low risk, only because the microscopic game of tag can’t infect you if you’re already dead(I don’t know why I didn’t become a doctor; I’m smart enough to know that ‘already dead’ prevents so many medical conditions). As I interact with my father regularly, I was taking it extra careful.

That’s why I was so glad to hear in mid-May that I had become eligible for the mass vaccination campaign Great Pokening of 2021. I had hoped to join in the Great Pokening sooner; I had thought that my job might make me eligible a bit earlier(For those who say that ‘village idiot’ isn’t an essential job, I do have a real job. ‘Village idiot ‘is just my hobby, one I just happen to be very good at). Sadly, no, and I had to wait until my age group was called. This happened to be after my younger sister’s group was called, so I think the government just told me that I’m less important than her.

What type of vaccine Elixir of Normality did I get? I’m going to have to break my ‘no depressing words’ rule here, because I have no idea how to apply it to a brand name. Correction: I have plenty ideas, but they all would be incomprehensible. Anyhow, I got Pfizer… I normally wouldn’t bother mentioning it, but it’s kind of important for my attempt at science. Before anyone asks, does this mean I have a microchip controlled by Bill gates? No, it’s Tim Cook, and I have to pay a premium for….

Y’know what? No. Just no. I’m not going to make 5G microchip conspiracy jokes. I know a lot of people who don’t want to get the Elixir of Normality; not a single one of them said anything about government conspiracies or secret technologies(As I live in an area that struggles with getting a third ‘G’, 5G might as well be a secret technology too). Probably some readers are against taking the Elixir of Normality, or at least hesitant about it. If you’re one of those, all card on the table: I think you’re wrong, and hope you decide to get it. However,I don’t know you or your worries, and perhaps you’re making the right decision for your situation. I’m not going to change your mind, and don’t expect to change mine. What I’m not going to do is build you up into a strawman. If you’re still reading this far, you’re too smart to believe in these conspiracies… and lets be honest, the government probably isn’t smart enough to pull them off anyways.

Besides, I’m the last person who should give advice. My last medical-related post was seeing how extreme cold affected metal piercings… by going outside in -30° C and seeing how cold I’d get before I couldn’t take the pain anymore.

Anyhow… lets talk about my vaccination. That’s kind of the purpose of this post.

Northern BC doesn’t have the largest population. Prince George is the largest city in the Northern Health region, but even so, there is only one main Great Pokening site(pharmacies can also inject AstroZenica’s Elixir of Normality, but there hasn’t really been a big supply of that up here). The process was:

1- register online

2- wait for an email saying to make an appointment

3- book an appointment

4- go to the appointment

5- get stabbed in the shoulder!

See; easy! When my turn came up, I picked the first available opening… actually, I lied; the first opening was at 1:20 and I booked it one at 1:30 instead, because I like round numbers. I got stabbed with my elixir, waited 15 minutes in case there were side effects, and left. I was in and out in less than half an hour.

First off, I didn’t get any side effects randomized life experiences from the vaccine. I kind of expected that I would, and had come up with a bunch of bad jokes about it, but no, I’ll have to scrap them all. In fact, no one in my family had any randomized life experiences either. my mother said she was more tired than usual. That was about it, and she’s old, so ‘more tired than usual’ probably sums up her daily life.

When I got my Pokening, it wasn’t painful. For a moment there was a cold numbness down my arm, but it wasn’t painful. I’m a hypochondriac and therefore assume that it was because -80° C liquids aren’t supposed to be in the human body, but the smaller, smarter, part of my brain replies that no, obviously they warm it up before they inject it. More likely it was injected close to a nerve.

That night and the next day my arm was sore. Not very sore, but a kind of ‘I overexercised yesterday and am stiff’ kind of sore. No other side effects, no tiredness.

With my thermal camera, I thought I might find something interesting with the Elixir of Normality. As a control, I took a few photos of my arm before I got the shot.

Here was my arm earlier in the morning. The temperatures are kind of spotty, and in fact my arm is kind of spotty. This was after I just finished jogging in a T-shirt in cooler weather, so the cold air and a warm body made the temperature in my arm irregular. At least I hope that is what it is…

An hour later indoors, and my arm temperature was more stable.

And just to be sure, I took one more photo about ten minutes before I was STABBED IN THE SHOULDER DID I MENTION THAT?!

So in all, fairly even temperature throughout my arm.

Anyhow, the injection site was a bit higher and more to the side than I expected, more ‘shoulder’ than ‘arm’. The doctor helpfully gave me a bandage to show where I’d been pokened. I wouldn’t have remembered otherwise.

Because it is so high up, the arm does appear a bit warmer in some photos. That’s not the reaction to the Elixir of Normality; it’s high enough that my T-shirt sleeve is covering that portion of my arm(and therefore insulating that portion of my arm, as that’s how clothing works).

I couldn’t get a photo of the needle going in out of respect for the doctor and also because I didn’t want to watch it. Fun fact- if you don’t see something, it can’t hurt you! My first follow up photo was about three minutes later.

A bit of a dark spot; the bandage is insulating my body heat. The arm temperature still looks even.

Eight minutes later? That was about half-way through the waiting period. Any change?

No… not really.

I took one more photo as I was ready to leave. Any change at the end?

Nothing. Actually, it’s a bit of relief. The lower dark spot was from my cold hand touching my skin as I rolled up the sleeve. There is a little man jumping out of my shoulder in this photo, but he’s not vaccine related.

There doesn’t seem to be any reaction. Maybe I should give it more time? Lets try an hour after the pokening.

Still Nada. The bandage appears cooler again, but my arm temperature is very even.

one and a half hours?

Three hours?

… maybe a little warmer? I think it’s just the sleeve being rolled up, but lets check back at four hours.

No, nothing. Still an even temperature. Give it another hour?

five hours in and nothing. Bigger question: did I take this photo naked? You’ll never know.

Lets give it one more hour.

Seven hours in and nothing. A bit warmer where I roll up my sleeve, but nothing from the vaccine. Is my T-shirt sleeve giving me more of a reaction than the poke? My Science says yes.

I took another photo the next morning(18 hours later)…

… and one that afternoon(28 hours later).

Nothing. I was originally thinking of taking photos for a few days, but why? My body accepted the vaccine just fine. The stiffness didn’t have any influence on my body temperature. There really wasn’t much point continuing.

You could ask what I was expecting. My answer: I dunno…something. The body’s first go-to when it’s injured or infected is a inflammation. How about a bit of that? There was no change in my arm from any reaction an fact, lets compare it to something much more painful than the pokening.

You might recall that I had been attacked by one of the most cruel and vicious predators in British Columbia. It was a long and painful recuperation and what made it worse was that the horsefly flew away without consequences; I was denied my well-deserved retribution. Here’s my arm two hours after that bite.

It shows a clear warm patch on my arm; that #@($er got me good! My immune system noticed the foreign material in my body and reacted immediately. It was warm within five minutes, and stayed that way for hours. My arm hurt the rest of the afternoon.

In comparison, it didn’t react to the Pfizer at all; a little stiff the next day, but no inflammation. In all, it was more boring than I expected. Congratulations on seeing over a dozen photos of my arm. I’d have gotten bored and googled ‘disgusting things my dog ate’ to see if my dog could top the results by now. She probably could… which is a reminder to buy some more Medical Goo. Protective-Eldrich-Abomination-Man Away!

The above photos were taken with a Seek Compact Pro camera.