2020 Musings

Hello, Friends, and welcome to the final days of 2020!

(Can I hear an amen?!!)

Thanks to COVID19, across the nation and around the globe, we ‘ve been hurtin’ for certain.

This month is full of so many contradictory notions, like the beginning of the Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

  • For some people, working in the comfort of a warm home with a stocked pantry, avoiding rush-hour traffic and the odd irritating co-worker, was mostly a gift, minus friendly in-person socializing we crave.
  • For many people, these same comforts were shared with many family members who needed help with homework or physical care; the experience has been nerve-racking and exhausting, at best.
  • For others, NO work meant staying home with limited resources (despite small government boost), watching pantry stock disappear, fixating on inflammatory and depressing newscasts that escalate division in the country (and sometimes in the home), dealing with kids and extended family who constantly need your help and attention— with nowhere to hide.
  • For too many small businesses, it has meant personal, financial disaster, and the end of the American Dream of self-reliance.
  • For too many on the frontlines, it has meant long hours, sickness, and/or death. Period.

No surprise that data reflecting rates of anxiety, depression,  suicide, as well as burglary, arson, and homicides, are at all-time highs. To date, the CDC says 915 HC clinicians have died from Covid19. (Note: according to the CDC, not all deaths were identified as HC workers on death records, so likely the number is much higher.)

What else ?

AH, YES… 2020 has been ironically titled, “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in deference to the planned 200th birthday celebrations of our iconic founder of the profession, Florence Nightingale.

So, what would Miss Nightingale say about this year and pandemic?

Speaking as a Nightingale scholar and sometime Nightingale avatar, she would have a LOT to say to (now) virtual audiences. As the first healthcare clinician to utilize scientific data to improve public health, no doubt she would:

  • remind all citizens to keep hands, personal items, clothes, and all inside surfaces clean-clean-clean, to limit the spread of the sickness
  • promote ventilation of all indoor spaces, especially sickrooms/hospitals
  • be mindful of smells that lead to exposing and irradicating the filth
  • utilize modern PPE like masks and gloves to protect yourself and others

However, some of you may have noticed there are those who call Miss Nightingale names I will not print here. Really? Sad, but true. Of course, this is nothing new. Nightingale herself wrote more than once in self-defense of her detractors[sic] who accused her of nefarious aims, including that she was ruthless. She retorted, “Ruthless about what…I am only ruthless about

promoting the honest employment, the decent maintenance and provision, to protect and restrain, to elevate in purifying…a number…of poor and virtuous women.”[FN,1860]

Now, many of you know me to be, essentially, an optimist. ?

In matters of healthcare, I try not to let optimism obstruct realism.

The good news is: Operation Warp Speed has given the greenlight to pharma R&D to clear the way for progress in troubled times. YES! This week, we roll out the vaccines for the most vulnerable and HC clinicians.

Also, a prominent group of Pulmonologists has gone back to the medical annuls and dug up a drug that might be a potent COVID19 prophylaxis! Ivermectin, an well-known drug developed originally by Merck used to kill lice, roundworms, and other tiny beasties. The original patent is expired, so there’s no big money to be made off such a drug. Dr. Pierre Kory, president of the FLCCC Alliance, testified to congress this week about the research and newest RCTs. (Follow that here.) At any rate, all these are positives, as we learn that necessity is the mother of innovation!

Today, as we celebrate Hannukah and Christmas holidays and look forward to the New Year, my wish is that we somberly reflect on the pain and suffering of 2020, count our blessings, and go forth with kindness to all.  Onward!

With high regards,