About that vaccine…

I got my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in New York City on Saturday, an emotional experience. It was at one of the NYC vaccine hubs called PODs, set up by the Health Department. I had been working for 12 hour shifts once a week to help get New Yorkers vaccinated. The PODs were set up in high schools, mine was in the Bronx, and staffed by City employees as well as volunteers. You can find a site here giving vaccines near you.

I anticipated the second shot all day long.

The thought of being protected from COVID-19 severe infection or death was motivating me to work at the PODs. I saw hundreds of people come through to get their vaccines, first and second doses. My role was different each shift, from leading personnel activities onsite, to coordinating the flow of the people on the line from outside to inside the school where the vaccination stations were set up, and then to the waiting room – to be sure the vaccine didn’t cause any bad reactions before going home. Because I was patient-facing at the vaccine hub, I was eligible for the vaccine, and grateful to be.

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

The staff like me were eligible for vaccination at the end of the day, after all of the public appointments had been done. I kept thinking that it would not happen, and I would never be protected – an irrational but troubling thought. When my turn came, the POD leader made me an appointment in the online system. We didn’t run out of vaccine. As I pulled my sweater down over my shoulder to expose my upper arm, I felt anxious. The vaccinator was very calm and efficient. He injected what seemed like a lot of vaccine, put on a bandage, and it was done!

I felt a huge wave of relief. The vaccinator wrote in the details of my immunization on my immunization card, which I nearly forgot. that I carry it in my wallet. I hope it will help me in the coming months with travel and access.

I was heading back to my work position, checking in and charging iPads for the staff that they used to screen people on the line, when one of the managers told me, “No. We have to keep our eye on you. Just to make sure you are OK.” So I sat at an empty vaccination table, and felt tired after the rush of anticipation. By 15 minutes time, I could go back to my work. I needed to sit down, and felt more and more tired. That night everything was fine other than being tired, and I thought that I might not have the side effects of the second vaccine.

The following morning I had side effect symptoms all day of fever, body aches and pains, and an upset stomach. I was mostly lying in bed hoping I would get some energy back, but I didn’t until the next day after – when I still had a headache and dizziness. The whole time I kept thinking, “It is so good to be protected” from COVID. And I hope more and more New Yorkers will get vaccinated at the vaccine hubs and other giant sites set up around the city. The more people we can have protected, the better it will be for all of us, and especially for more vulnerable people who are at risk for severe COVID. I am so grateful for the discovery and production of the COVID vaccines. I appreciate the many health professionals and other volunteers working to get the vaccines out of the vials and into arms.

If you haven’t decided on the vaccine yet, I urge you to consider it. The side effects are annoying, but the relief is tremendous. Most people will be over 90% protected from getting COVID, and also protected from severe disease in the coming months or year. Find out more about vaccination here.

I felt a huge wave of relief after getting the vaccine.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

Distracted by Death: New York Stories


I used to have an obsession with death. Lately, I have come to think of it as more of a distraction but it still definitely sparks my imagination. I’ve just published a new collection that contains all of my novellas and short stories in one place, titled Distracted by Death: New York Stories on the Smashwords independent author site. Smashwords is great. One of the reasons I choose Smashwords is to have book files transformed into different types of ebook formats easily. Then you can choose which version to download based on what type of device you’ll use for reading.

Distracted by Death: New York Stories is a horror fiction collection. A few of the novellas were published alone previously, and many of the stories come from my first book Death and the Dream. The price of the collection (1.99) is lower than if the others were individually purchased.

From the Catskill Mountains of my childhood to New York City and its science research labs, the tales uncover psychological horror in ordinary people’s lives. The characters, young and old, explore the fine line drawn between life and death. I bring my biomedical science background to some of my stories, many of which feature a female scientist character. Working in Genetics and Molecular Biology for many years, I found science had some horror to it.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s included in the collection, Distracted by Death:

Mouse Chimera: A letter from a young city scientist written to her Mom as a lab notebook entry the night she is accidentally locked inside an experimental mouse colony.

Lab After Dark: A researcher who is isolating DNA finds her activities may be linked to the custodian Leon’s health.

The Doctor’s Dreams: On New Year’s Eve, a doctor has mysteriously gone missing. Looking for clues, her brother discovers her secret dream diary and types up her nightmares.

Mosquito Song: A New York City scientist, Antonia, flies to Puerto Rico to investigate genes linked to an unborn baby’s death.

After the Layoff: Mom and workaholic chemist, Eve feels like a decapitated, single head of household after a surprise layoff at work.

The Finest Mask: A gene hunter travels from London to New York City in search of an illusive gene for perfect skin to prevent the ravages of infections and disfiguring scars.

Underground: A detailed account of an unfortunate event underground in the New York City subway system.

Summer off: A young city girl, Sandy, visits her Aunt in Horseman’s Valley and cooks up trouble when left to her own devices.

Brooklyn Song: A Mom juggles responsibilities of a toddler and a baby at the Brooklyn Income Maintainance Center.

Mother’s Love: In an old farmhouse upstate, teen Greta does unthinkable things trying to regain her Mother’s love.

Before the Funeral: A New York loner carries on a monologue in a city park, practicing what to say to her family when they arrive for a funeral.

Rabbit Nightmare: A university student dreams of rabbits, a boy, and her German professor in a nightmarish journey.

Way to Heaven: A three year old, Luna, tries to reach heaven while hiding in an old shed.

Shepherd’s Night: A young couple come upon a German Shepherd unexpectedly while driving in a snow storm.

Good Neighbors: An older woman living in New York City takes her niece on a walk in the Village to show her the “good neighbors” at Christmas.

Spring Awakenings: Noticing city plants just awakening in the spring soil, a hitman on his day off experiences sudden, unexpected forgiveness.

Rain Dream: After a long rainy day of outside work, a city scientist becomes obsessed with watching live lobsters displayed in a tank where she has dinner.

Rose Death: Old Viola, a music teacher reaches the end of her days in a garden awaiting a child’s visit.

I hope you will come have a look at the new collection and like some of the stories. And please leave a review to share your impressions.