I write because I have the time. My first three patients this afternoon all called in with COVID. This has happened a little too frequently lately. Seems like when the day is sunny and beautiful, that somehow triggers COVID. Never happens on a yucky weather afternoon. Has that been studied? If you see Fauci, could you run that by him, please?
Me? I have been in denial. I respect but do not fear COVID. I mean yes, I am vaccinated and I wear a mask when I should, when with the staff or patients or when I am asked to by a business. I wash my hands as I have done between every patient over the past 42 years. Of course, now I wash my hands in front of the patient. They seem to like it. I just assume they are singing “Happy Birthday” twice while they watch.
And, I have only shook hands with someone probably two times in the past two years. Sorry, I know some of you think I should chop my hands off at the wrist after such a terrible act. But when an 82-year-old World War II veteran who fought at Normandy reaches his hand out, I am shaking it. Or a five-year-old soccer player. It’s how I was raised. I am not afraid they’ll kill me.
The staff’s response to COVID seems to be one of paranoia. Geez. A contact lens rep came in and coughed through their mask. Two of my employees ran outside to hide—I mean, to smoke. Everyone knows that cigarettes are safer than somebody wearing a mask who is vaccinated coughing 30 feet from you. And they think they should go into quarantine for a week every time they hear a politician say, “Look,” before lying about something. During the Clinton era, that was just a drinking game.
Supplements are all the rage, admit it. You take vitamin C, right? No? Liar, you know you do. And on top of that, enough zinc to galvanize your liver, CBD for depression and MCT oil for your COVID-induced 20 pounds. Don’t forget the probiotics for your MCT-induced diarrhea. Diarrhea? Better go get tested for COVID.
There are lines around every street corner for people to get tested. Should you stand shoulder to shoulder with every hacking person in town to get tested for something that you catch when you stand shoulder to shoulder with every hacking person in town? Whatever happened to just asking for a day off when you need it?
But if you have a temperature or can’t smell your eight-year-old son’s socks, you might be sick. Just stay home. Don’t wander into every clinic to get tested unless you feel it’s going to get way worse, which for many of us at this stage, it will not. No wonder there are shortages in available tests. Oh, and by the way, the CDC assures us of several important truths, including that if you test negative you could still be positive and that if you test positive you have already spread your lovely aerosols to everyone around you anyway.
And, in case you didn’t hear the latest, you should definitely mask up, but it’s not clear that masks even prevent transmission in the first place.
By now, many of you are mad at me. You think I am making light of a virus that can have devastating effects. I am not. I know that COVID can lead to very serious illness and death. That’s not funny.
What is funny is that nobody will tell us how many people in the hospital are there with COVID and how many are there because of COVID. They test everyone who comes in, even if they are there for an ingrown toenail. Also, the majority of folks in the hospital are not well to begin with. Oddly enough, they are not all there for the cafeteria food. I know, I was surprised to learn this, too. Many patients entering a hospital setting have very terrible comorbidities that can make an already dangerous virus a horrifying risk.
But what about the rest of us? I, for one, think we are in the process of ruining our kids (and ourselves) with a level of stress that could have been at least attenuated a bit if we had all just taken a collective deep breath (through our N95s of course) before hiding in the attic.
COVID has killed and will kill some wonderful folks. I pray about that daily. But the fear of COVID can kill, too. And that is more communicable than Omicron, my friends.
“Look,” it’ll all be okay. Keep smiling behind the mask.
Dr. Vickers received his optometry degree from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1979 and was clinical director at Vision Associates in St. Albans, WV, for 36 years. He is now in private practice in Dallas, where he continues to practice full-scope optometry. He has no financial interests to disclose.