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A jab well done

Martin.jpgMartin Baum had quite an eventful time when he went for his Covid-19 vaccination

Whenever talk of inoculation amongst my peer group of sexagenarians was mentioned – not as regularly as one would think, but often enough to make you think – the same questions would be asked – what vaccine did you have? And what happened after you had it?

Be it Pfizer or Oxford AstraZeneca, you take what you are given and try not to think of any possible side effects. My wife had the Pfizer jab which gave her a very achy and heavy arm for 24 hours. I got AstraZeneca. Despite warnings from the nurse administering the jab that I could experience a sore arm, fever, aches, pains and flu-like symptoms for up to three days, none of these, thankfully, applied to this MSer.

If this was an examination, then I aced it. I sailed through without fear of consequence from the AstraZeneca-filled syringe. I even got a ‘I have had my Covid vaccine’ sticker. However, what happened to me was not on the list of known side effects, in fact it wasn’t a side effect at all. In other words, what the nurse injects with the hand MS takes with the other, as I spectacularly took a fall trying to get out of my seat.

Muddled messages travelling from my brain to my legs are not an uncommon multiple sclerosis (MS) symptom for me. Myself and Lizzy, my wife/carer, are quite used to my legs failing to support my body weight. As she holds on to me in my struggle against gravity, my feet rhythmically flail like a freshly caught fish on a line. My knees buckle, I go into a controlled descent, excitement over. Easy.

It happens. Nothing to see here. We move on because we are in control. If we were any more in sync with each other then we would be on Britain’s Got Talent. But this time was different. We were in a hospital environment and the nurses were on me in a flash. Suddenly they were coming at us trying to stop a man in his 60s with a walking stick careering to the floor on their watch.

When this happens in public places, I go down not like a bag of wet cement, but calmly and casually, reassuring anyone gathering wanting to help not to panic. This happens all the time, but the nurses were not to know. How could they?

They were doing what nurses do, but because they rushed, bustling Lizzy aside in their hurry, their hasty reaction was my aftershock jab reaction. Although it would not make a dint on the Richter scale, the sudden activity shook me up for about an hour afterwards. Then it was over. Life returned to what it was before, albeit with a shot of vaccine in my system.

What happened to me after getting my jab was actually neither here nor there in the great scheme of things, inconsequential stacked up against the necessity to protect myself against Covid-19. If I could do it again I would in a heartbeat which, fortunately, I will do when I return for my second jab in the coming weeks.