Eri’s California Diary: Completing Corona Vaccine

By Eri Williams, April 27, 2021

After completing our 2nd Corona vaccine shot a few weeks ago, my husband and I are finally feeling a sense of relief with a hope for quick return of normalcy. It suffices to say that the whole world and everyone’s lives have deeply been affected by the pandemic since March of last year, and we all looked forward to expeditious vaccine development and supply.

Although each person reacts to the vaccine differently, it seems that quite a few people experience side effects after the 2nd shot while some do not.  Common side effects include fever, headache or exhaustion. Few experience nausea and other flu-like symptoms.

One of the advantages of getting the vaccine after the first few specified groups of people got theirs, was that we were able to obtain helpful tips and information from them. For example, we were advised by our friends who got theirs before us to rest up the next day, drink lots of fluids and take Tylenol after the vaccine to minimize the side effects.

While they were giving me these useful tips, I would nod in agreement and even took some notes. Yet the reality was that I was more concerned about what to eat after the vaccine in preparation of possible side effects. Because I enjoy eating, my number one priority was to make sure we had enough food that didn’t require too much preparation to cook.

Two days before our scheduled vaccine appointment, I declared to my husband that we would consume whatever the food left in the fridge first, and then do grocery shopping the day before in order to stock up food that is easy to prepare and eat, such as frozen entrees and instant food, which we normally don’t buy or eat.

Our dinner two days prior to the vaccine was what my husband called as “mongrel food” that consisted of Natto (Japanese fermented beans), scrambled eggs and a salad. Neither one of us is an avid cook, but we try to eat healthy and avoid or minimize eating junk, fried, fatty or salty food. At the super market the next day, however, we picked up a box of frozen fried fish, microwaveable ready-made entrees and a few Cup Noodles, none of which would normally ever make it on our grocery list.  Taking advantage of possible side effects, both of us were justifying our action by throwing these in our cart.

As I write this, I recall being mesmerized for the first time by the sight of an assortment of TV dinner entrees at a supermarket many years ago. We had just arrived in the States from Japan and gone grocery shopping at a nearby Safeway.  My sister and I stood in front of the frozen food section, viewing every single TV dinner package and counting each one of them.  There were fried chicken, mashed potatoes, beans, steak, macaroni & cheese, turkey, fried fish, pasta, just to name a few.

I remember telling my parents that I would try every single one of them each week. Waiting for my first TV dinner entrée to heat up in the oven was excruciatingly slow. Although these frozen entrees and other instant food don’t carry much of nutritious value, they serve us as comfort food that makes us want to eat once in a blue moon.

My sister and her husband living in East Coast just completed their vaccination. I chuckled when she told me that they celebrated the uneventful vaccination by treating themselves with a box of half dozen donuts. It conjures up everyone’s emotion and struggle of the past—the pandemic.

It’s surprising and disappointing to know that many don’t go back to get their 2nd vaccine shot citing concerns about side effects, forgotten appointment, other priorities and laziness. Some think that the 1st vaccine shot suffices to provide effectiveness. I do hope they understand that the more people get fully vaccinated, the faster the economy opens up and thus their daily life as well. And then they can also celebrate and treat themselves with their comfort food.

As for my husband and I, we never developed any side effects, and ended up having lots of left-over frozen entrees we had looked forward to having, but will most likely not eat after all.

About the author: Born in Japan, Eri Williams spent her childhood and youth in 3 different countries. After working in a corporate environment for many years, the native Japanese speaker now utilizes her language skills to contribute back to the society.  She resides in LA area with her husband and a cat, Taiko, named after her hobby, Japanese Taiko drum.