12 January 2021

Chronicle of a vaccination

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A first day at school, indeed the first ever. Same emotions and anxieties, a anticipatory night dream negative. I dreamt that on my way to vaccination in the morning I didn't have my mask on and on the way there I became very agitated because I didn't know if they would let me into the hospital and therefore allow me to be vaccinated. I was trying to cover my face with a scarf, but it kept slipping off and not responding to its mission.

When I woke up in the morning, I took great care in choosing a clothing compatible with the role of vaccinanda that I would shortly be supporting. I chose as a basic outfit a sleeveless dress that would allow me not to offer, in a setting that I did not know how protected by privacy, an undignified spectacle made of braces and leotards. I only had one suitable for the purpose, I couldn't find it, I took my time looking for it and as usual I got caught up in the anxiety of arriving late. I picked up a new FFP2 mask to deal with the pitfalls of a hospital where Covid still circulates, and in a big way. I set off.

I had been away from the hospital for just nine months, It was 6 March when I had done my last in-person shift for the centre Daphne (dedicated to welcoming and listening to women victims of violence and located at the Cardarelli hospital in Naples). Then I had retired and organised the activity of remote psychological referral with a regional on-call number. I knew that I would not be able to park inside the hospital: a big tent had been set up in the car park to allow patients access to the PS. But I didn't expect the unusual sight that appeared before me. The car park was completely deserted and I felt a sense of bewilderment. I remembered it always being packed with cars. Now, I counted them, there were only four. A real shock.

I enter the hospital and go to the central vaccination tent. Unusual but very pleasant atmosphere. No queue to enter. The sense of being in an oasis, in front of that reassuring tent. Inside, a large space with three vaccination stations and many blue reclining chairs, well spaced out and comfortable for post-vaccination relaxation. The tent filled with many young doctors, boys and girls, professional and well organised. About the centre Daphne There were three of us. After the administration, we pinned the pins with the inscription "I got vaccinated" (it doesn't exist with a feminine declension!), as if it were a merit badge in battle, and we took lots of photos. We were happy. We felt finally freed from a burden that I too had carried almost without realising it for 9 months of computer lockdown, and also of splendid isolation. Well, they had to politely tell us -the 15 minutes being up- that we could go. In fact we were in no hurry to leave. Then that empty car park again, the car ride home.

Heavy traffic as usual, it was yellow zone day. What was different was my state of mind: the newfound desire to look in shop windows.If the shops hadn't been closed during the lunch break, I would have rushed in to do some shopping. my first shopping spree. That's it: you have to avoid making mistakes out of too much enthusiasm. With the first dose you are not immune, you are not yet armoured against the virus. You need another 20 days for the second dose, and then another 10 days. Nonsense! Even the first dose gives me a great sense of well-being. And indeed here it is, at the end of the memorable day, that long-silenced desire: a nice pizza in the presence and without anxiety as only Naples knows how to make it, steaming hot and freshly baked from the classic wood-fired oven, accompanied by a popular Peroni beer.

Elvira Reale

p.s.: this text is not intended as a pro-vax campaign. Those who vaccinate will know what they are getting into if they read it. Those who don't vaccinate will know what they are missing.

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