This week the impact of a medical system solely focused on COVID-19 hit me like a tidal wave. Truly, the pandemic is real, frightening, and painful. However, life and death continue without any consideration for the government’s rules and restrictions, and will leave innumerable lifelong impacts on the survivors.
One of our long-time friends went to the ER with a heavy chest and difficulty breathing, and was immediately ushered from the ER to the COVID-19 tent in the parking lot. He was tested, but told to go home and isolate. He went to his office, to spare his wife and kids. On Tuesday, he reported the previous night was the worst. Returning to the hospital, he found out that he had a heart condition, not COVID-19. He was hospitalized and expected to go home Thursday.
Within a few hours, his body began to deteriorate as they fought to understand what was wrong. By morning he was on life support, on ECMO, and fighting for his life. His wife sits home waiting.
On Tuesday, my cousin was rushed to the ER from complications from prior surgery. He was admitted with sepsis and a kidney stone. His wife was not allowed past the lobby. He underwent a one to two hour surgery. Seven hours later, his wife had no information. When she asked if he was alive, she got no answer. She finally heard he was out of surgery. He remains hospitalized as they fight the sepsis. She remains at home.
Thousands of people leave loved ones at the hospital and wait desperately for news. Some 35,353 families will never see those loved ones again.
How many people are immediately assumed to have COVID-19 and die from the wrong diagnosis? How many people go home to isolate and end up too sick to recover?
How many hospitals are firing physicians and providers because the only illness allowed is the virus. How can we have a $4 trillion dollar annual healthcare industry on complete hold, because of this virus. Healthcare conditions remain and will grow. Yet, government tells us, who we can treat and the healthcare system teeters on the edge of disaster.
Pregnant women sit at home praying that their babies wait to come out. Otherwise, they will deliver alone, without even their partner in some places. Is it okay that c-section moms are sent home in under 24 hours?
Is it possible that eliminating all contact, regardless of the situation, risks leaving loved ones with pain that they will never recover from? The CDC estimates that 34,000 people died of the flu in 2018-2019. I sat with my daughter in the hospital for days during flu season and she wasn’t dying.
Every death is too many, but is every situation the same? Don’t pack beaches, have parties, go to sporting events. Even God knows you love him from home.
But are there no compromises that allow relatives to sit beside dying or critically ill patients? To allow them to hold a hand and speak love softly. Our friend’s wife just wants to tell him he is so loved. Her heart breaks that he might feel alone. My cousin just wanted to know if her husband was alive.
For many very valid reasons COVID-19 is the focal point of every moment of our thoughts. It is the complete focus of governments and media. Every 15 minutes we hear, “Breaking News!” Do we close? Do we open? Who is to blame? Who gets to decide? Is it the state or the federal government?
Doesn’t matter – life and death will still continue.