First of all, I would just like to thank all of you for reading these blogs and
for your many replies – keep them coming. Thank you! Most are pretty positive
but last week, I got a reply that ripped me for advocating mask wearing in
public. She told me that masks do not protect you (my comment - N95 masks do,
plain masks protect others by keeping them from receiving your water droplets),
telling me that no one in her family has worn a mask since this all started and
they are all OK. In my opinion, she is very lucky!
Unfortunately, this disease is spiking again in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and a few other States that have begun to reopen and all CDC guidelines have not been followed. It is possible to return to work safely but CDC guidelines MUST be followed. Across the United States, 2.36 million people have gotten this horrible disease and over 122,000 have died – that is roughly fifty seven times more deaths than the Twin Towers brought us in 2001! It is amazing to me but up until this point, I had not personally known a colleague, friend, family member or patient catch this disease. Well, that has now changed. I received a letter from a friend in Northern California Sunday – with his permission, I am reprinting it here:
It is Donny Magalhaes.
I just read your article on Facebook. Did you know that Valerie is in the hospital with covid-19? Thank God she is on room air and it is not in her chest. She has been very sick for 2 weeks now. She was treated for dehydration on Wednesday and released. And then I had to take her back into the hospital on Friday. She cannot stop throwing up. Obviously, I'm a minority here this is affected my house and my family. What a terrible virus. Valerie will tell you this is no flu! Feel free to call me if you want to talk."
I did call Donny and got the scoop. Valerie is one of the most health conscious people you will ever meet and should have been the last one to get ill – but this disease spares no one. Valerie did not require a respirator and is recovering, but she can tell you that this has been the most horrible and frightening experience she has ever had. She is retired and was almost completely locked in her house during the quarantine with the exception of an occasional run to the grocery store AND riding a bicycle with a friend for exercise regularly. When riding bicycles, they did not wear masks (and one should not be necessary when you are not near other people). But Valerie clearly remembers being stopped at a traffic light when a crowd of about 15 people showed up, waiting for the same light, with no one wearing masks and not social distancing. She felt uncomfortable but did not move away. She got ill about two weeks later, started with GI symptoms and COVID-19 infection was not diagnosed for about a week! During this time, she lived with her husband and two daughters under the same roof but neither the husband nor daughters have tested positive after multiple tests. That should be a big lesson to all of us.
You never know where the Coronavirus will lurk! Major League Baseball is opening its training facilities and has tested everyone showing up – a few perfectly healthy baseball players, without any symptoms, tested positive for the virus – and it’s people like that who are most likely to infect YOU! That is one reason a COVID-19 test is an absolute requirement prior to any surgical procedure at the Orange County Surgery Center where I do most of my cases.
On the lighter side, Jo organized an outing for the staff this weekend,
bicycling the beach paths in Newport – and yes, self-distancing and wearing
masks when near other people. This is Stevie with her son, Davey.
To your health and well-being. Stay happy and persevere!
Drive safely, wear a mask in public, continue to wash your hands frequently, and be safe!
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Thanks for staying in touch and for coming back!