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    Tuesday's Thoughts From Atop A Ladder

    A falling object accelerates at a rate of thirty-two feet per second. Terminal velocity is reached somewhere around one hundred twenty miles per hour. I know there’s a formula for acceleration and falling, but it’s lost in the archives of my memory. At the moment it doesn’t matter, because if I fall I’m screwed. And even though I work in an emergency room, I have zero desire to be a patient in one let alone try and explain what I was doing.

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    I’m standing on top a step ladder. You know that step where the verbiage, “Danger, Do Not Stand Here,” is molded into the plastic. Regardless of the warning, here I am. Belly stretched over a gutter and the across the shingles which are hopefully secured to the steep pitched roof. I take a deep breath, allow my cerebral neurons to override any inhibitory mechanism and crawl my way upward. Thank goodness I haven’t been drinking and in turn make a strong case against, “hold my beer and watch this.”

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    Now that I’ve conquered this first phase, I grab the broom, cautiously make my way to the top and begin sweeping away the leaves and branches. I also scrape those patches of moss embedded in the shingles. It’s definitely easier near the top, because there’s a lot of roof between you and the edge. But, as I get closer to the gutters, the ones filled with dirt, leaves and an occasional weed sprouting upward, things change. I toss a stick and watch it plunge to the ground. I think it took longer than a second maybe closer to two. I’m really not sure, but it’s a long way down and I have no interest in discovering how far. For all I care, that stuff in the gutters can wait.

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    How those roofers do it under the blazing sun is beyond me. It’s got to be a tough gig. After a couple of hours I make it down the ladder and safely to the ground. I took a chance, albeit not an overly risky one and it all worked out just fine. Yet, are those undergoing a similar risk when they step out into the public, refuse to wear a mask and avoid social distancing? I mean, if things worked out the first time, then they’ll work out a second, a third and so on, won’t they?

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    As we can see the pandemic has reemerged and is rampantly spreading through those states that were lax in their lockdown measures. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t be long before an uptick in the death rate occurs. What is it about our country that makes our response and subsequent infection rate one of the worst in the world?

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    I’ve heard the discussion regarding the absence of a clear and consistent message. In a previous writing I’ve suggested something similar in that effective leadership starts at the top and our top leader has shown no clear and unifying message. Subsequently, much of what we’re experiencing today, from the pandemic’s spread to the financial crises could have been blunted if he had provided such leadership.

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    And what of the argument where masks are a violation of personal rights or in other words the government cannot mandate someone to wear one. To me, this thinking suggests that an individual’s rights outweigh the benefit of a society. In other words the famous quote attributed to John F. Kennedy should be changed to read, “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you.”

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    Last week I wrote about the loss of thirty-eight technicians from our emergency department due to budget cuts. There were other cuts throughout the hospital that included staff, benefits and wages. And similar cuts are affecting other hospitals in the area as well. This speaks volumes regarding the trickledown effect of ineffective leadership. The longer the pandemic continues its incursion into society the greater the deleterious results on health and financial well being are bound to occur.

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    So where do we go from here? I can only answer, I don’t know. There appears to be no end in sight regarding the pandemic’s spread. A vaccine will eventually be developed, but there’s no clear cut answer as to when. The economy is grinding its gears as it struggles to reopen, but it has been hindered because of the pandemic’s reemergence.

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    In the end, each and every one of us has to burden some responsibility to make things better. I doubt my voice, among the sea of so many, will be influential to those who chose not to comply. And to those who decide not to practice these safety measures, I’m sure are quite fine with the results. I mean, hey, being near the bottom at controlling the spread makes us one of the best at being one of the worst. I can hear the chants of those few who’ll remain, “We’re number one!”

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    I still believe that the majority want to be in this together, let’s not be too close together while we’re all in it.

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