The Unmasked Minnesotan’s Second COVID-19 Shot

I haven’t been wearing a face mask when I go to Mass, the Adoration chapel or Walmart. But I do carry one in my pocket when I go out, just in case the rules have changed. Again.

Most folks I’ve been seeing stopped wearing face masks when pandemic-related restrictions eased up. If I see someone with a face mask in Walmart, the odds are that the person works there.

As a rule, non-employee mask wearers seem to be young, old, somewhere between, and either men or women.

I figure it depends on the individual’s general health and willingness to put up with slightly-used air. And maybe willingness to believe that face masks make sense.

Since I’d only had my first COVID-19 shot, I should probably have kept my mask on — in an abundance of caution, and assuming that somehow I’d become infected. But I haven’t. Kept wearing a face mask, that is. Because I figured that’d be an overabundance of caution.

Except when I went to the clinic or hospital, where the rules say I wear a mask. Which makes sense, because folks who aren’t particularly healthy are more likely to be near me. So I figure, since there’s a very remote chance that I’m infectious, extra caution is a good idea.

If Wishes Were Horses….

Political cartoons. (1896, 1912)

I’d have preferred that the Minnesota Department of Health, CDC and all had been giving completely consistent advice during this pandemic.

And had known exactly how the COVID-19 virus spreads. Since day one.

Certain foreknowledge of COVID-19 vaccine development would have been nice, too.

Along with — you know, while I’m at it, I might as well wish that the COVID-19 coronavirus had never existed.

And I’d be a very happy camper indeed, if politicos stopped acting like politicos and started acting as if our health and lives mattered more than their pet projects, preferences and Washington party life.

But it’s not all bad news from inside the beltway.

I’ve been seeing hints in headlines that my country’s big shots feel like reviewing how the COVID-19 coronavirus started and has been spreading. Maybe they’ll even decide to pay attention to what scientists think. And that’s quite enough snark from me today.

Another ‘up’ side is that a significant fraction of decision-makers may have been using available data, and trying balance our need to keep folks healthy with our need to keep folks employed. And thereby fed.

I can hope so, at any rate.

Reasonably, I suspect, since the mess we’re in could be worse.

Good News, another ‘Up’ Side and Intermittent Frustration

My methylphenidate prescription, with one day left. (June 10, 2021)

More good news.

This month’s authorization for my methylphenidate prescription didn’t disappear into digital limbo. And I was allowed to pick the meds up on Thursday. With one whole day left in the previous month’s bottle.

That’s really good news. I’ve learned that going on half-dose can stretch my supply until a bureaucratic SNAFU gets untangled, or at least make withdrawal less unpleasant.

The issue in play is that methylphenidate is a controlled substance. My body became dependent on the stimulant soon after I began taking it. Which is what I expected.

What I hadn’t expected was that getting monthly authorizations to keep using my brain would be so intermittently frustrating.

Or that as a result I’d experience withdrawal. Several times. Since it’s a prescribed medicine, my withdrawals were called “discontinuation syndrome.” But that’s a euphemism, like saying “passed away” instead of “died.”

Either way, experiencing anxiety, depression, and the like — all cranked up to about 12 on a scale of one to ten — was unpleasant.

But there’s been an ‘up’ side. I now know what withdrawal feels like, which gives me a glimmer at least of what other folks have experienced. And the experiences gave me incentive to find ways to minimize the odds of going through that unpleasantness again.

A major step in minimizing the odds was getting the authorization process handled in this town, and that’s another topic.

Memories and Preference

'Reefer Madness' (1936, released 1938-1939) theatrical release poster. (1972)My youth and the Sixties overlap, so I remember why my country’s government puts barriers between me and medications I need.

That doesn’t keep me from feeling annoyed each time I request permission to use my brain for another month. That’s not quite accurate, but that’s what it feels like.

I also acknowledge that folks can misuse methylphenidate. Or pretty much anything else.

And I’d prefer that depression and an extensive list of other psychiatric issues not be part of my life. But they are. And I’ve talked about that before.

Weather and Taking It Easy

Continental U.S. Weather. From National Weather Service, used w/o permission. (1600 UTC, June 10, 2021)

Thursday was hot here in central Minnesota. We had a heat advisory going until 8:00 p.m. local time.

That’s why I went out for the meds in the morning, and took it easy the rest of the day. Along with drinking water, which I do anyway.

Taking it easy, but doing arm exercises that dropped off my habitual radar some years back. That was, in 20-20 hindsight, a mistake. And probably helps explain why my right shoulder has been giving me fits lately.

The good news there — another ‘up’ side — is that my right shoulder hasn’t been nearly as exasperating as it has been. Or is that exacerbating? Never mind.

Another point on the plus side is that the irregular cycle I talked about a couple weeks back is heading away from its low end.

That’s nice. I haven’t exactly been feeling perky, and won’t be but like I said: that’s nice. Nice having my feelings on a generally upward trend, that is.

Between being barely into the start of an upswing in my blah-mediocre cycle, and uncertainty about outcomes from my second COVID-19 shot, I’ve been focusing more on how I feel than what I think and what I’ve learned.

The Phizer mRNA Vaccine and Me: Doing What I Can

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. (June 11, 2021)

I’m wrapping this up Friday afternoon, June 11.

I got my second COVID-19 shot Friday morning, chatted with one of the nurses while waiting the obligatory 15 minutes, and have been waiting to see what happens next.

Everybody’s different, but I gather that the bell curve for when folks start feeling effects is about eight hours after the injection.

Like I said, everybody’s different. My son’s fever shot up, which resulted in a trip to the emergency room and a long chat. That was back in May.

I’m considerably older than my son, so — if my experience is typical — my immune system may not react so vigorously. I’m not sure about that being good news. But I’d also prefer not going through what he did.

Let’s see, what else?

Right! My first and second COVID-19 shot was the Phizer mRNA vaccine.

An ‘up’ side there is that the Phizer vaccine was not developed using cells from someone who had been killed in the early 1970s.

But researchers did use the HEK 293 cell line in Phizer testing. (December 16, 2020)

I don’t like that. But I also don’t like risking lives — directly or indirectly — by refusing vaccination for this disease.

I don’t live in a perfect world. So I do what I can, try not to fret about what I can’t, and pay attention to what my bishops say:

Taking Precautions


(Just in case, a bed near my desk. (June 11, 2021))

My family had a surprise for me when I came home this morning.

They’d set up a bed a dozen feet or so from my desk. Just in case I start feeling a preference for horizontal posture later today. I greatly appreciate that.

There’s more to say. Like why I’d prefer being perfectly healthy but don’t have a problem with taking reasonably good care of my health, why I still think taking methylphenidate makes sense, and a mess of other vaguely-related ideas.

But I’ve said most of it before:


One more thing, from Minnesota Department of Health:

About Brian H. Gill

I'm a sixty-something married guy with six kids, four surviving, in a small central Minnesota town. I mostly write and make digital art. I'm only interested in three things: that which exists within the universe; that which exists beyond; and that which might exist.
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2 Responses to The Unmasked Minnesotan’s Second COVID-19 Shot

  1. Congratulations on your vaccinations, and keep well, with God’s blessings.

Thanks for taking time to comment!