It’s been a good summer. It’s been relatively care free. Work has been good, only a few COVID patients here and there, nothing like last November.
The tides are turning. The anticipation is setting back in. The numbers are climbing back up. I remember watching the tragedy of what was happening in Italy last April and then New York, Los Angeles. Then closer to home, then Waterloo, and then Sioux Falls, and then it finally hit and it hit HARD. That same anxious anticipation is rising up again. Visitors are restricted again at my hospital, memories of patients dying holding a nurse, a strangers hand come back all too clear. Every reimplemented restriction, every reimplemented policy brings back memories of late last fall, what we thought were the darkest days of the pandemic.
I’m afraid to admit. I’m afraid the darkest days are yet to come. Not only will the patients who will be admitted to our ICU be towing the line between life and death, they will have landed there by their own choice. To be clear, I’m not FOR mandating vaccinations. I do believe that everyone should be able to choose for themselves. However, that choice can and likely will come with a consequence.
I don’t claim to be a medical expert by any means, but the data and information being shared by healthcare providers from these hot spots around the country are awfully reminiscent of last Fall. Like this inforgraphic from Baton Rouge General Medical Center:
Like this post from Cedric “Jamie” Rutland MD:
Or this video from the medical director at another Baton Rouge Hospital:
Or the fact that my very own vaccinated brother is battling COVID and pneumonia going on 6 days now and is miserable. I’ve spent the morning contemplating, if I wake up with COVID symptoms today, who will I have exposed yesterday? Vaccinated or unvaccinated? As Cedric stated, this Delta variant is so much more contagious and carries such a high viral load than what we were facing last year.
Translated: The sick will get much sicker.
I can’t carry that on my conscience. I need to go about my life knowing that I’m not potentially spreading this to those who have chosen to not be vaccinated. Especially when the intervention to prevent these hospitalizations, deaths, and spread is as simple as a mask.
As for me and my house, we will be returning to masking. You can stare at us or laugh at us. That’s totally cool with me. You can call be a sheep and tell me I live in fear. That’s partially true, I do live in fear. I live in fear of unintentionally harming my neighbor or community. I live in fear because I know how fragile America’s medical systems are right now. I’m afraid for you, not for me. We are running on fumes and that becomes even more apparent in nursing forums and groups where this particular post is going “viral”:
In conclusion, I strongly encourage you to consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t and I encourage you to reevaluate your own personal choice to return to masking. These thoughts are my own and do not reflect my employers beliefs or values.