Light at the End of the Tunnel, Whilst Coping in the Darkness

By Michelle Ng

By sometime mid-April, most, if not all categories of people in Phase 1 of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme would have received both doses.

I took my first dose on March 10 and the second dose on March 31. Before my first appointment, I was notified via MySejahtera of my appointment date, time and location. For Subangites, we are fortunate enough to have the vaccination centre within the constituency, ie the Sunway Convention Centre.

Upon arrival for the first dose, we were given a form to fill up. The form asks whether we consent to taking the vaccine, aside from declaring several health conditions such as comorbidities, allergies, and for women, whether or not you are pregnant.

Thereafter, we were brought to a counselling area where a doctor was present to answer any and all questions that we had. This is also the same doctor who will be signing off on the consent form, so it is important that all health history (big e.g. cancer or small e.g. a sinus) and concerns are disclosed to him/her.

Even if you consent to taking the vaccine, I have known of cases where doctors were cautious to prescribe deferral or a safer environment i.e. a hospital to take the vaccine. To that end, I was comforted in knowing that our doctors had, without a doubt, our best interests in mind.

As I have allergies to penicillin, the doctor I saw suggested that I be observed for 30 minutes, instead of the usual 15 minutes, after taking the vaccine. After observation, we were given an advisory card, which categorised the various types of symptoms. This was helpful as it informed us at what point to seek medical attention.

The whole process was seamless. I did have some side effects after the first dose – muscle aches at the injection site. Aside from affecting one night’s sleep, the soreness was not too debilitating.

When I took my second dose, the doctors did warn that the side effects would be more severe. They were right. The night of the injection, I felt like I was down with a chill – the type of illness we all went through in our childhood from when mum told us not to play in the rain, but we did. I had a fever and sore joints. Towards the second day, the fever faded and cold sweat came.

I was quite glad that I went through the side effects – it means that my immune system was working to produce antibodies, and that the vaccine was kicking in.

Although uncomfortable, the side effects were bearable.

Whilst the vaccine signals to many of us that there is light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic, I am still concerned as the number of registrations is still very low and far from the herd immunity we need to achieve. To this end, my office will be organising sign up drives across Subang Jaya. Do look out on our social media to know where we are at so that you or someone you know can pop by to ask the questions that you have on your mind, and get the help that you need to register.

As we work towards the light, I am mindful of many of us that might still be suffering in this darkness. The pandemic has been harsh on relationships, emotions and family finances. I know personally of two residents who have sadly taken their own lives. Please, if you know of friends or family who are going through a difficult time, come around them to seek professional help. If you are reading this, let me tell you that you are not alone. We treasure you, you are worth it and we are here for you. Come to my office to seek help.

As a sign of solidarity, and given that I will be celebrating my 31st this month, I would like to commemorate the occasion by asking if you’d consider donating to Befrienders. They have been doing such great work to provide company to those in their darkest hour. But they cannot do this alone. The extent and quality of their service depends on our support. So, if you would, please donate! Every little goes a long way! Details are below:-

Name: Sedia Bersahabat (The Befrienders) Kuala Lumpur

Bank: CIMB

Account No.: 8001358110

Donations of RM50.00 and above are tax exempted. For tax-exemption receipts, please send details of donations, name as per IC, IC no and mailing address to [email protected]

My utmost thanks to each of you who are giving!