I for one am sick and tired of my Covid-19 Series. I’m tired of Covid. I don’t like wearing a mask to Target and I don’t like that my kids can’t have a “normal life” right now.
I am also tired of people getting sick and dying.
As a physician, I find myself walking the ever-shrinking line between normalcy and the bewildering horror of a pandemic.
I scroll through social media and see pictures of my friends getting together, dozens of people in tight embraces, cheesing it up for the camera like we did circa 2019. There are birthday parties and back-to-school celebrations being held indoors with no masks in sight. And it all looks very normal. If I didn’t know what the other side of the coin looks like, I could probably convince myself that it is all okay.
But it’s not okay.
The more parties that take place, the more frivolous outings we go on to relieve our boredom and the more risks we take for our own amusement, the longer this virus will be part of our daily lives and the more grotesque the death toll.
Today, a colleague became one of the 177,229 people who have died of Covid in the US.
Do you care? Does that number even resonate? Or is it all still a conspiracy? Or something that just affects other people? Because it is them until it becomes you. It’s a conspiracy until you are in the ICU with a very real endotracheal tube down your throat. And when it becomes you, or your mom, or your brother, or your grandpa or your best friend, or your co-worker…it might be too late. The line between ‘normal’ and ‘sick’ (or even dead) is so thin that you don’t even know you are crossing it. And by the time you figure it out…when your people start getting sick, the ship has sailed. And at that point, all you can do is hope and pray (and perhaps prone) that you are not one of the unfortunate who will succumb.
So, sure…are most people going to survive a birthday party? Of course. Will you make it through a little league baseball season unscathed? Probably. But if everyone on the planet continues to behave as if their kid deserves to have the big party, or their family deserves to do this thing or that thing, then this virus is going to keep hanging around. And people will keep whining because they can’t send their kids back to school, or have that super important senior football season, or whatever it is that you think is more important than keeping our friends and neighbors and community and country safe. And…people will keep dying. And sooner or later, it will be someone you know and love.
The pandemic is real. It is still happening. Our patients are still dying. We still have an ICU specifically for Covid patients. We still have several patients who have “recovered” from the acute phase of the virus, but are still dying because of the destruction the virus left in its wake.
Danny likes to quote Grumpy Old Men, and often tells me “you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which gets filled first.” We cannot wish or hope or pray this virus away. It’s going to take sacrifice and commitment from all of us. We are going to need to collectively drop our entitlement and act like responsible adults for a hot minute. If we’d done that back in March, who knows…we might be sitting at the K watching a ball game, eating a burger and drinking a beer together instead of watching home run balls bounce off of teddy bears and cardboard cutouts. Maybe next year…
I’m tired. I haven’t been to Homegoods in 5 months. Sorry to be the fun-suck, but this is not okay.