Dad Receives the COVID-19 Vaccine

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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language, age, COVID-19 vaccine

It is a Thursday evening when my sister asks me to come up with fake illnesses to give my dad. He has just received his first dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, and my sister, ever the practical jokester, wants to tease him.

“You’re growing antennae,” she jabs. 

Then she tells him, “You have a new bald spot on your head. It must have been the vaccine.”

We laugh at the jokes, wondering what the underlying message might be. 

Anne Marie has always dealt with worry, anger, and even sadness through jokes. It’s a trick that she picked up from my dad. Instead of falling into depression, they both gravitate toward humor as a way to handle their plights.

The vaccine is our latest cause for concern. Should we be worried about its impact on my dad? Is it better to receive it than to go unvaccinated?

COVID-19 and Parkinson’s disease

While there’s still some skepticism around the COVID-19 vaccine, experts recommend that Parkinson’s patients and those who spend time with them get vaccinated. Currently, my dad is almost fully vaccinated after his second dose, but my mom is still hesitant to get hers.

The pandemic has shaken up the entire world. For those struggling with Parkinson’s disease, the effects can largely be seen in speech and language. Parkinson’s News Today‘s Diana Campelo Delgado reported in March that the lockdown has had an impact on Parkinson’s patients’ access to speech and language therapies. Fewer social gatherings may also be contributing to declining speaking abilities. Quarantine has kept us at home, limiting our socialization time.

Additionally, a study published in the journal Movement Disorders found that COVID-19 infection may worsen some Parkinson’s symptoms, as reported by Forest Ray for Parkinson’s News Today. Having Parkinson’s disease can also put people at a higher risk of hospitalization after contracting COVID-19, according to Hartford Healthcare.

For these reasons, I’m over the moon to hear that my dad has taken steps to become vaccinated. I don’t want him to struggle more than he already does. 

Dad’s experience with the vaccine

I’m excited when I hear that my dad has received his second dose of the vaccine. Ever the fighter, he’s always determined to equip himself to handle Parkinson’s as best as he can. 

Maybe it’s naïve to hope, but I want to believe that my dad will soon be able to return to Rock Steady Boxing, a nonprofit organization that provides a non-contact, boxing-based fitness curriculum to help people fight Parkinson’s. I wonder if the vaccine will enable him to do so. I believe that his recent struggles with freezing and mobility are partly due to his inability to attend boxing classes. I’d like for him to be able to return to such a supportive and encouraging environment. 

But it isn’t just Rock Steady Boxing that he’s missing out on. We don’t go to breakfast anymore. He rarely sees his childhood friends. And getting out to socialize or see the sun are much less frequent activities.

Although some people are still skeptical about the vaccine, my dad reported that he is doing well. He wrote, “My first dose was a little rough. I ran a slight fever, and my arm was pretty sore. The second dose wasn’t so bad. Just a sore arm. I am glad that it’s over.”

The antennae are minimal. He doesn’t appear to be growing bald spots, and his humor is just as ripe as usual. While I’m likely to add to my sister’s jokes about the vaccine, internally, I’m relieved to hear that he’s doing well. Progress always seems to come slowly — one step at a time. But I’m proud that my dad is taking the necessary steps to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today 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 another 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 Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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