And by funny, I mean awfully disgusting. Like the chili I made for dinner on Sunday night. It tasted like it was made with shredded elastic bands. I thought the meat had gone bad; after all, the bread-maker cheese bread tasted good, in fact, very good. Nope; The Doc said the chili was fine and proceeded to down two large bowls while I managed to eat only a few spoons before pushing the bowl away and reaching for my water. The water also tasted bad, musty like old melted snow. It seemed to have that kind of smell to it. Since taste and smell are related, the water tasted like I imaged that smell would taste. It certainly didn’t cross my palate the way our normally refreshing well water did.
By Monday afternoon things still weren’t back to normal. My favorite Smokey Havarti cheese left my mouth tasting like I had been chewing old tires. I gaged down the slices then added a few more crackers to my snack in an unsuccessful effort to mask the bitter flavour. WTF?
In the middle of all this there was a phone call from JT, which pretty well summed up our family’s reaction to such things. We are not people who are prone to unnecessary sympathetic gestures or panicking.
JT: How are you?
Me: my tongue is off.
JT: Well you better go find it and put it back on.
And this is when the drumstick should hit the cymbal.
WTF indeed. This taste thing was not on the list of side effects. The list I reread every time another symptom occurred. I attribute all of them to 11:30 Saturday morning when I got shot in the arm. The first symptom appeared about an hour and a half later. I was cold so I put on a polar fleece pullover thinking that it would warm me up in minutes like it usually did. Polar fleece is a fabric of my middle age, a time when I ran much cooler than I usually do now. It is something I wear for very short periods because these days it makes me too hot. This time, however, it did not warm me up.
By two thirty, I was falling asleep in front of the baseball game. I kept waking up whenever my head jerked sideways as it fell, then I would doze off again. Symptom number two: tiredness. I continued to do this for most of the game while huddled under a blanket in my polar fleece shirt and heavy socks. My feet felt like two blocks of ice. Me, wearing heavy socks. The person who wears sandals all winter in the house and goes barefoot in boots outside the house because socks make my feet burn and then sweat, thus making the socks wet, which finally make my feet cold. I avoid socks as much as possible, but I just couldn’t get warm. I also have no idea if The Blue Jays won or lost.
Around four o’clock that afternoon, what would be a twenty-four-hour headache arrived, resembling the sinus headaches that show up semiannually in my life. Dinner was fine. The Doc made it and I ate it. There were no strange tastes. I was only dealing with the cold, the fatigue and the headache, which all remained consistent until about 10:30 pm. At this time that cold feeling turned into body quaking chills that made it hard to walk to the kitchen to place my magic bag in the microwave in order to warm myself up. This is when I reread for the third time the information paper to remind myself exactly what the side effects were.
This is what it said: The most common side effect is pain where the needle is given. You may also have swelling or redness. Other symptoms may include tiredness, headache muscle pain, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever or enlarged lymph nodes (swollen glands) in your underarm.
Tylenol every four hours and the heated magic bag got me through what was a very disrupted teeth-chattering night. By Sunday morning I had warmed up. Exhausted, I slept very late before getting up to make that pot of chili. The headache finally disappeared late that afternoon.
On Monday I woke to a new symptom. My right underarm was screaming at me. Actually it was my lymph nodes. Water still smelled and tasted strange so I should have never treated myself to that above mentioned Smoky Havarti cheese because I have yet to get that old-tire taste out of my mouth.
So again. WTF is going on with the rubbery taste in my mouth? They really need to put that side effect on the list. I have read where losing one’s taste was, in some cases, a symptom of the virus but never imagined that some bizarre version of that would turn up as one of my vaccination symptoms. Non-serious side effects are normal for me. I take very few medications because of them. I also ticked off a majority of the side-effect boxes several years ago when I had a Shingles shot, but this taste thing has me stumped. It certainly is a new one.
This morning (Tuesday), my reflection in the mirror reminded me of a basset hound–all droopy eyed and wrinkled–but I was very far from cute. My lymph nodes were still yelling at times and I remained a bit tired. I was happy to find that water tasted good again but there was still that other taste on the back of my tongue. I am expecting that it will disappear soon.
So given all this, you may want to ask me if I will do it again. You’re damn right I will. My second COVID 19 vaccination is scheduled for July 3. A few side effects are not going to keep me from doing what we all should be doing in order to help manage this virus. Get the shot people.
Thank you for reading.
Photo: Jenn Stone