Letter to the Editor

Jerry Crew Letter

Monday, March 23, 2020

After reading Jerry Crewís letter in the March 18 edition, my initial response would not have been printable in a family newspaper. So I decided not to reply at all ó until our daughter Stephanie sent me a portion of a debate last Saturday she had been having via text with a friend. Itís a perfect response and I received her permission to use it. The paragraphs in quotation marks below are entirely hers.

ďI lack the ability to see this from a political point of view. I just canít. ďTrump wonít do this and Trump wonít do that.Ē I understand his decisions are debatable and I understand that people like them and donít like them. I understand the fear and panic and uncertainty the world is feeling. I get that.

What I understand to be true is I cannot change the decisions that are being made and not being made. Thatís why everyone has an opinion and no opinion is correct. I understand that facts are facts and we can throw facts around until we are blue in the face.

I refuse to waste my energy on the ďTrump wonít do this and Trump did that.Ē I need every single ounce of energy to face the unknown head-on in the minutes, hours, days, weeks to come. I only know what I know and Iím attending Skype meetings each day to stay as informed as possible and how it relates to the current moment Iím in. Information is ever changing and there are times I know about what we are doing at my hospital before the CDC announces it on the news.

I feel that hand washing and staying home is the best way to slow down the spread of the virus. We can not control the people that chose to travel for spring break. We can not control othersí choices to defy the guidelines. We can control ourselves and our reactions. I will sleep better at night (ha-ha) when I know that if we need a gallon of milk, or five, that I am choosing to go to the store with clean hands, by myself, wiping the cart, only touching what I need, sanitizing my hands in the car and washing my hands the moment I get home. I can control this and I will.

I understand that people donít know how bills will be paid if they donít work. Overall I am impressed with the stories I am hearing about employers working with their employees.

You always have a choice to stay home.

With all of this being said, I have felt a tremendous amount of guilt for taking my Thursday and Friday off this week. I had time off scheduled months ago and I was allowed to take my days. It took a lot of mental strength to stay home with the kids to hang out when I know I should have been at work. I still Skyped into meetings at home and constantly check my email for updates.

Staying home from work is not an option for me and even if it was an option, I would not take it because thatís not who I am. I am a health care provider and will show up each day to face the uncertainty with a smile on my face, a scrub hat on my head and a coffee in hand. This is me. I wonít be sleeping well for months, especially when my area is talking about what we are going to do when half our staff is out of commission with COVID-19 and how we are preparing to set up ďMASHĒ-like units and taking inventory on who can do what outside their ďnormalĒ scope and comfort zone. Iím the one reassuring my team that we will get through this and itís going to get scarier as the days come. But we will get through this. We will get COVID-19 positive patients in our cath labs. We just will. And we will treat these patients with our whole heart and effort just like any other patient we treat. Our masks will barely be sufficient enough to protect us because we have to save them and reuse them over and over. We donít have protective gowns because they are gone. This is droplet transmitted and I canít even tell you how many bodily fluids I get on myself on a daily basis.

Iím not scared of getting sick. Iím scared to get my family sick. Iím scared that my choices in life are going to harm the ones I love the most.

I promise to do my very best to take care of myself second, because my team and family come first. I will lead and I will lead confidently.

Please pray for all of my health care family world wide. Please pray that we are going to be able to save those who are sick. Please pray for those who have to choose one patient over the other to ventilate based on age alone. Please pray for all of the health care providerís mental health because PTSD is going to rage through every single one of us. Please pray for my family at home as I go to work each day to face the unknown. Please pray for me to give me the strength I need by the minute, hour, day, to get through this.Ē

Itís time to listen to the medical professionals and others who are on the front lines fighting this virus. They are the most at risk, and if they go down, what then? The decisions to close businesses, churches and governmental offices; and to recommend ďsocial distancingĒ and to stay home were not made lightly or to infringe upon your personal rights ó they were made because those recommendations came from those medical professionals to help slow this virus from spreading. Yes, I know itís going to hurt businesses and the economy, but we have to work together with them to keep our communities and loved ones safe. And finally, itís time to leave politics out of this pandemic, no matter your beliefs and party affiliations. Political ranting and raving because one disagrees with a governmental decision has no place in a crisis like this.

ó Rick Steuben, Everly