The Eye of the Needle

dr putra vatakal, orthopaedic surgeon, Kuala lumpur, quill orthopaedic specialist centre

Little over a year ago, I was having a late work weekend when I got a call about an injured sailor on a ship newly docked in Port Klang.

While I mulled over how to treat his hurt shoulder, it struck me that his Ship had started her voyage in the waters of Wuhan, China.

That little detail changed everything.

This was before Sungai Buloh Hospital transformed into a COVID hospital, before the first Malaysians fell to the new lethal virus…

Before there were any vaccines.

🦠 🦠 🦠 🦠 🦠 🦠 🦠

Today I sat smiling as a masked nurse syringed out modified coronavirus proteins then leaned over and slid a fine needle into my arm. The eye of the COVID storm distilled into clear drops in the eye of the needle stuck into me.Over the past few days, I’ve had a lot of questions: which vaccine? Side effects? Other questions that I’ve forgotten.But an orthopaedic surgeon’s mind is a simple place. COVID bad. Vaccine good. So here I am today.It’s been over a year. The sun is bright outside. My body is adapting to the viral proteins in my arm as I type this.It seems all is well.


Originally written on 2 March 2021 in Hospital Sungai Buloh, Selangor

Image credits: SN Syahmimi, Vaccination Clinic

Note: Some details have been changed to protect patient privacy