A Greaser Chick Gets the COVID-19 Vaccine

Rena Newman avatar

by Rena Newman |

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What’s going on, cool cats? I just got ketchup on my brassiere and accidentally sprayed hairspray in my eye. It’s a muggy, dewy morning here on Florida’s Emerald Coast, and I’m thinking of you all as I sit and wait at the doctor’s office.

Mmm, hmm, umm. What is that tune I hear? I know, it’s a slow instrumental version of the song “Greased Lightning.” What a coincidence, since I’ve been wearing my hair ratted up higher and poofier, making me look like a greaser chick.

Anyway, today I want to share what it was like for this socially inept, anxious, bodacious broad to get her COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine | Sjögren’s Syndrome News | An artistic rendering of a syringe dressed up as a greaser chick and thinking about a sports car/ambulance.

“Onto Bizarre Boulevard.” (Courtesy of Derrian Childress)

When pigs fly

I only made the decision to get vaccinated a few months ago. Some of my rhythmic, anxious thoughts were: What are the ingredients? Will it poison me? Is it deadly? Is it the mark of the beast? Does it contain a tracking device? Will I go crazy? Does it have mind control abilities? Oh no, what if it causes more brain fog? Will it worsen my Sjögren’s syndrome or other autoimmune diseases?

Eurgh. I feel hot lava oozing onto my sandpaper tongue. No, I’m never getting it. Here come the electrical shock sensations. One doctor says no, one says yes. The walls are closing in on me. I feel like I’m playing Russian roulette. Fine. I’ll get the COVID-19 vaccine, but I ain’t no square!

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Danger, Will Robinson!

When the needle was going into my arm for the first dose, I tasted what I imagined to be bleach combined with metal. Time to become awkwardly loquacious.

The second dose hurt. I transitioned from diaphragmatic breaths to softly speaking in tongues as images of me passing out, traveling by ambulance, and kicking the bucket popped into my head.

I quickly envisioned everything going smoothly and me being fine and doing something fun, which is one of my default coping strategies for when panic tries to overtake me. Later that evening, I had severe body aches, so I practiced more breathing, praying, and kung fu thought blocking and visual shifting.

Think fast

What can I say? I’m an oddball babe. I hope that me sharing my experiences with anxiety while getting the COVID-19 vaccine helps others somehow. Whether or not any of you struggle in the same way, know you are not a wet rag, and you matter.

I want to leave you with something powerful a doctor told me that has caused me to look at myself and others differently:

“You are a person worthy of love and respect. Not because of who you are, or what you’ve done, or what you didn’t do, but because God chose to breathe life into you.” — Dr. Louis Makarowski

Later, gators.


Note: Sjögren’s Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sjögren’s Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Sjögren’s syndrome.


Cindy Malin Bruce avatar

Cindy Malin Bruce

You are a riot! I enjoy your posts! I’m glad you got your vaccine!

Karen Brummet avatar

Karen Brummet

Your post did help me. It made me smile as and it gave me a few more coping strategies. I also liked the quote at the end. I thought for sure when I got the COVID vaccine that I was going to be down for the count, but all I had was a sore arm for a few days.

Loretta Reilly avatar

Loretta Reilly

Love your posts. Thanks for the laughs.
I liked the quote from your doctor too.

Laurie Nichols avatar

Laurie Nichols

Glad to have you back Rena, I missed you! Been dealing with a lot of anxiety myself. Mainly about being sick.

From ChronicBabe 101: How to Craft an Incredible Life Beyond Illness by Jenni Grover

“The problem is, we can’t win. When we view acceptance as defeat, and our experience of illness as a war, we can only lose.”

Lots of great ideas in this book.

Hope you’re having a good day! Hang in there…..we all are….trying!

My mom used to say “When you get to the end of your rope, tie another knot and hang on”


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