Truth. Truth be told. Truth of the matter. We toss this simple yet powerful word around like an Olympian discus thrower. The word is in fact steeped with meaning and import. With each careless and reckless usage, we run the risk of expanding and altering its meaning. The truth cannot be defined by agenda. No shades of gray. Truth stands on its own. Our country is experiencing an epic mud season of “truth” currently. We are so busy protecting our own narratives that we are forgetting about our fellow human beings.
A recent medical appointment found me in Boston. The hospital’s reputation as recognized as the city in which it resides. People from across the globe seek treatment here. A new yellow disposable mask adorned my face. A gift at check-in with an identifying name tag. Covid-19 precautions and protocols firmly in place. The specialist’s office was in its familiar pre-pandemic location, but the chairs now spaced and separated by protective barriers. Never exactly a cozy spot but patient safety is paramount.
A younger woman arrived just after I did. She was late due to traffic. Boston traffic like the rising cases of Covid-19 is returning to the area. A couple appearing to be contemporaries soon also arrived. New to the practice and the city they were quickly educated on office procedures. The husband and wife dutifully sat across the room from me while the woman busied herself completing multiple medical forms. We settled in as we waited for our prospective appointments. Normal but not quite. An area just beyond the waiting room is where our vitals would be checked and the doors to the many examining rooms awaited. Doctors, interns, and medical assistants moved freely but pandemic-safely about.
A female voice boldly interrupted our quiet from the beyond. Loudly and defiantly espousing and exposing her opposition to the vaccine, the CDC, and our government. Anger tinged with bitterness immediately tainted the already stressful office air. Apparently, she was equally opposed to the survival of our species as she was of our lifesaving vaccine. Her message filled with conspiracy and distrust. The woman across from me immediately lost her pleasant yet nervous smile. Her pen slammed down on the clipboard as she began to rise in anger. Her husband’s hand on hers guided her back while cautioning her not to respond to the venomous words that have made us all cringe in despair. The “hoax” of hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died from a Covid-19 related death was being disrespectfully bantered about while the number on the scale was being recorded. Was that number believable for her? Numbers don’t lie. My head pained while my heart ached. Will we ever see the end of this pandemic? We wait. We waited to see the devil amongst us appear. A tall woman of advanced years sporting a silver bob hairstyle while wearing wolf’s clothing soon passed by the group. Anyone’s grandmother…
A medical office at 11 a.m. on a Friday in Boston was her bully pulpit. She had clearly and publicly shared her “personal truth” and a decision about her own future. Unfortunately, and potentially tragically she may have made decisions about the lives’ of others as well. Lives and families she may have greatly and negatively impacted. What about the health of our innocent young unvaccinated children? The immunocompromised? Our fellow Americans? Our global brothers and sisters? I was surprised this variant -making hostess was even seeking specialized care. The doctors at this highly acclaimed hospital medically and scientifically advise their patients to get vaccinated. Why did she even walk through the door?
Vaccine believers are being made in parts of our country that have previously refused our free, safe, and effective vaccines. There is a desperate want for any of the vaccines currently. Pfizer, Moderna or J &J are equally acceptable. No personal preferences. The flaw in the plan however is the want happens simultaneously with being intubated. Apparently, intubation is a compelling argument for the truth that is Covid-19…
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott