I’m sure those of you with children have told them when they were small if they should get lost they should look for the helpers. In different situations these mean different people. If you’re lost in a store you look for an employee or a security guard. If you’re on the street look for police or firefighters. We all find that we need helpers at some point in our life.
In the 90’s my then primary care doctor found a lump on my thyroid. He sent me to an endocrinologist (the horrors I could tell you about him! He’s dead now so he’s not hurting anyone.) who suggested a surgeon. The surgeon removed half my thyroid. Then the craziness began: 4 pathologists could not agree on what they were seeing. No one would make the call. Through serendipity I found my thyroid specialist who in a moment after slipping the slide of my sample into his microscope said I had cancer. Then came more tests and surgery and follow ups. Because of him I am cancer free living my best thyroid-free life. You’d be stunned to know just how many things that tiny gland does and what not having one is like. Add in being dosed with what is now considered a very very large dose of radioactive iodine, half again what is recommended now. You never feel like yourself again. But beyond that there were so many lessons to learn.
It took me 11 doctors to get to where I am today. Those 11 doctors offered different opinions on the right way to do whatever should be done if anything should be done at all. This was when I learned that the field of medicine is not black and white. It is gray. It is a living thing that grows and changes based on current beliefs. Once upon a time people were bleed with leeches. Then we thought that was a bad idea so we stopped. And more recently we’ve rediscovered that leeches are beneficial so we’re using them again.
Not that long ago opioids were the rage. Every doctor was handing them out for any sort of injury. Then it was discovered that they’re highly addictive so the rules on prescribing them were tightened up. This left people with chronic pain unable to get the medication they need to make life livable. Either extreme turned out to be bad.
So now we’re living in a pandemic. How are you holding up? Do you feel that we are being served well by the helpers? The narrative (that word again from yesterday) has changed repeatedly since March. The loudest voices, those making the decisions to shut down states, businesses and schools aren’t always following the rules they make. We need to look to the helpers who are qualified to make the decisions.
This is a medical emergency. It should be the medical professionals making the recommendations. These recommendations should balance what is necessary for each individual based on their unique situation. Just as a primary care doctor would do for their patients. There is more to consider than just physical well-being. Doctors make these decisions every day for their patients.
Now the homework. Read this declaration. These are medical professionals from all over the world. They are making recommendations based on the whole person and the risks of the individuals. They are seriously concerned about the mental health of adults and children. They are concerned about the increase in suicide. The increase in childhood depression. The increase in the isolation of the elderly.
Finally what are you seeing in your community? Are people still limiting their time outside their home? Or is everyone just out and about? I personally limit my time out in public. I avoid crowds. I still do my grocery shopping in person. But when I’m out I see lots of people outside interacting with others. Are the schools in your area open? In my town the private schools are open, the special education students and preschool are attending school in person. All others are full remote. Does your community alert you to the current infection rate? I have received text messages from my state before the holidays saying to celebrate at home with just the people you live with. Our school sends a daily email informing us of the cases diagnosed that day and they keep a dashboard online with all the case information. Think about this: Why if cases are increasing and it is too dangerous to open businesses and eat in restaurants are the public schools open for preschool and special education students? Is their health not valued or are schools afraid of the lawsuits and the loss of funding they receive for these students? The mixed messages are a big problem with the narrative if you ask me.