•  

    Tuesday's Thoughts From The Frontlines

    The other day while sprucing up my yard, my neighbor happened to walk by with his dog. Pleasantries were predictably exchanged and knowing that I worked in healthcare he kind of leaned forward, changed his tone to be more personable and asked me for the real scoop regarding the pandemic.

    .

    Judging by his behavior, I guessed that he didn’t believe it really existed or maybe he deemed it had been blown out of proportion. Regardless of how he felt, I became flabbergasted when he said something about it being spread in the inner cities because, “they’re in close contact with each other when they play basketball.”

    .

    Okay, even as I write this I need to stop and take a deep breath. At the time I was left speechless and I don’t remember if I had to pick my jaw up off the lawn or not. Nonetheless, no matter what you believe, I think we can all agree that this pandemic has changed all of our lives from the way we take on everyday tasks, to the way we work and finally to the way we interact with one another.

    .

    And despite these changes, what’s become equally troubling is that the virus has tallied nearly two hundred thousand deaths in the United States. This number becomes even more disturbing when you realize that the U.S. leads the world not only in the mortality column but the total number of confirmed cases too. Our country prides itself on the high standard of living it has created, the vast knowledge it’s amassed and that overall “can do” attitude. Unfortunately, this ideal doesn’t match with what’s truly happening. And in my opinion, we should be doing better.

    .

    You can perceive things the way you wish, but our top leader, despite the words that continually pass his lips, has not done an effective job handling the pandemic. Just as disconcerting is the appeal to produce a vaccine within a short amount of time. I’ve even read about the desire to make such a vaccination readily available to all frontline workers.

    .

    Hold on a second; let’s slam the brakes on that thought. Has anyone asked us frontline workers what we think about the vaccine? Has anyone asked us if we would be willing to get vaccinated? Given these questions I decided to probe my coworkers to find out what they thought. I chose to keep things simple and ask, “If a covid vaccine became available in the next sixty days, would you take it?”

    .

    I realize that this survey by no means demonstrates a rigorous scientific approach to the topic at hand. Instead I looked for either a yes or no answer and let the interviewee decide how best to interpret the information. I let them express their thoughts, but made no effort to steer them toward any single decision. In the end, ten people chose to take the vaccine while sixty-three said they would not. As you can see the “no’s” won by a landslide.

    .

    Now, before any anti-vaxxers start to jump up and down with glee and point to this as confirmation for their beliefs, all I can say is stop bouncing and sit down. One of the things frequently said to me by the people who voted no was that they believe in vaccinations. I mean, what did you expect them to say? We work in healthcare and our practice is guided by science.

    .

    The general consensus was that sixty days is way too quick for a vaccine to be made readily available to the public. They also had many safety concerns regarding the long term effects of the medication and lastly they felt it was too politically motivated to have it ready so fast. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean they’re willing to take it; at least not right now. As a few of my colleagues said, “I’m not interested in being the guinea pig.”

    .

    Despite what some in our society believe or how they approach the pandemic, we as healthcare workers are potentially exposing ourselves to the virus each time we come to work. However, most of us chose to be the examples of what needs to be done. That is wearing masks, practicing social distancing and overall doing our best to not spread the virus. In other words, we lead by example and not by spewing empty words.

    .

    So what did I finally say to my neighbor? After a brief pause, I told him that I can’t speak to the happenings in other parts of the country, but only in my small corner of the world. That yes, my coworkers and I take precautions every day. Yes, each shift I come across patients showing symptoms and we test for the virus. And yes, some people do end up admitted to the hospital, get taken to the ICU or in some cases, die. Have we become better at detecting the virus and managing the symptoms? Through professional diligence, communication and striving to better our practice, I believe we have. Whether you want to believe it or not, the pandemic is here. My colleagues and I have been doing our part, it’s your choice if you wish to do yours.

    .

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

Comments

  • (no comments)

Post Comments