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In the next two weeks, we will see the virus death toll peak. Facilities and supplies will be stressed to the max. Nearly everyone across the world is locked down. To the extent that social distancing can ease the problem, it has been done to the max.
In the movie High Noon, the human killers are coming to town on the noon train, not a pandemic virus creeping up on us unseen. The town’s marshal has struggled to prepare with little time but now it’s coming down to the crunch. The marshal will face whatever is to be, alone if necessary.
What makes High Noon, the movie, so interesting is that the town doesn’t pull together but rather refuses to support the marshal. Even those closest to the marshal won’t stand behind him in this crisis. Their explanations are elaborate but the results, deserting both their town and marshal at the moment of greatest need, are the end result. In this defining moment, we find out what people are really all about.
I am a retired health care worker. Thirteen years working in a Detroit area ER, and sixteen years working in the organ donation/transplantation field. My wife [who I met at work!] is a thirty-five year nursing veteran. She currently works in SE MI’s Covid19 hot spot in Oakland County. As of today, they are seeing 20 deaths per day due to the pandemic, and that number will climb, horrendously. And now her co-workers and friends are dying.
Last night we had a bizarre conversation over dinner, as she prepared to go back in to work. We actually made arrangements concerning our dog and cat if and when she brought the Covid19 home, and the high likelihood of my death, and possibly hers, too. Those kids out there who call this pandemic the “Boomer Remover” can have a laugh at my expense, then, I won’t mind…
So, if and when we get a handle on the current pandemic crisis, and when the death toll at large, and amongst health care workers is finally tallied, and things “get back to normal,” I only hope that the current respect for those that go into harm’s way won’t dry up and blow away.
Each of us has, over the course of years spent in this field, memories, good, bad and horrific. One stands out for me. The night of a trailer fire. We got all four patients in via ambulance in less than ten minutes. An adult, followed by three babies, the oldest five years of age. I remember carrying them one at a time, wrapped in white plastic, to the morgue. We were all taking it hard. I had to go to our closet/break room to hang my head and cry a little bit, when our ER doctor put her arm around my shoulder and whispered “at least these kids had someone to make an effort to save them. We were here.” They still are. But now they’re dying. And still they serve.
It’s not “all for nothing.”Published in