I don’t think I need to point out that the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down, with the number of infected fluctuating and outbreaks coming and going with the kind of frequency one would expect from sailing on rough seas. A constant to and fro of cresting a swell and slipping into the depths, only to surface for air long enough for it all to happen again.
I’m certainly not here today to argue the merits of vaccination versus not. There are enough forums on the internet for people to argue about all of this without my involvement. I’ll reserve judgement in that regard since it doesn’t pertain to the actual topic of today’s post. It’s no surprise that most hospitals, at least here in Canada, are facing critical capacity issues as the number of infected patients are overfilling the ICU’s to the point where there is no room for anyone with any other illness than COVID-19. For the most part.
I realize that I can’t back this claim with anything more than what I’ve recently read in Canadian news releases. But the most concerning that I’ve read in recent days is from here in Saskatchewan, were ICU patients have had to be air-lifted to Ontario for care because we no longer have the in-Province resources to do it. Let that sink in for a moment. The second largest city in the Province, with two very large hospitals, no longer have the available staff, resources and room to accommodate potentially dying patients. Setting aside the statistic that the outstanding percentage of COVID-19 ICU patients are unvaccinated for the moment, this new development is frightening in more ways than I can put into words.
Throughout my entire life, there’s been something of a comfort knowing that if I became ill or faced complications with Diabetes, I could attend my local hospital for treatment. During my teens and into my 20’s, it wasn’t unusual for me to become suddenly ill from dehydration, requiring the intervention of an IV drip for a couple of days in order to bring myself back to health. Although one never enjoys laying idle in a hospital bed, it was something I knew was always there and waiting, should I need it. As well it should, but that available resource appears to be disappearing.
It’s no secret that hospital waits have become exorbitantly long, even prior to the pandemic. The best example I can think of, is when my son slipped on the steps of our landing and struck his head. He had a gash on his head, so we rushed him to the emergency room, fearing he may have a concussion (despite having not lost consciousness) or other injuries that we couldn’t identify or treat. Despite explaining that we had a toddler with a head injury, we waited for almost four hours before finally throwing in the towel and simply going home. By then, Nathan started getting fidgety and playing as normal anyway, so our fears were alleviated somewhat. But still…
It’s a fitting example of how low things have become in the health industry and COVID-19 has made it worse, since the majority of hospital resources are allotted to dealing with the pandemic. Any and all medical requirements short of immediate trauma are being rescheduled and/or cancelled. This includes organ transplant surgeries and dialysis treatments. For someone whose immune system is already spotty at best, this scares the shit out of me.
When you consider that a lot of this concern and strained resources comes as a result of people choosing NOT to be vaccinated, one needs to wonder where the line is drawn between “my rights” and “doing what’s right.” I can’t help but feel that if a loved one of mine died as a result of having their organ transplant cancelled because the ICU is overflowing with unvaccinated patients, I might feel some kind of way about that.
Freedom of choice is a staple of any modern, civilized society. It’s up to the individual to recognize that even when it seems or feels that they’re not being offered the choice for something, they really are. Do you need to eat out at restaurants? No. Do you need to go to bars or pubs? Certainly not. Do you need to join sports teams or participate in extra-curricular activities? Definitely not. None of these are your “right” and none of those things will save your life.
There’s a running joke in my household, whenever the boys are playing rough with each other or doing something stupid (which they often do). Either my wife or I will remind them not to get hurt, because there’s no hospital service to lean on, if they do. They’d essentially be at the mercy of my very limited field medic training, which is rudimentary at best. Light help them, if they break a bone and I have to set it myself. It’s almost like being back in medieval times, where becoming sick or injured is basically tantamount to the end of one’s life. Scary time to be alive… ☯️