No more room in the inn (and hospital)

We have a relative with multiple chronic issues who is now in great pain and cannot stand up on her own. She was sent to an urgent care clinic because the hospitals are full up. She is now waiting in line at the nearest hospital to get a MRI as they cannot figure out what was wrong after the Xrays at the urgent care clinic showed no breaks.

Yet, if she is admitted, they may not have any hospital beds. You see, the hospitals are overrun by COVID patients who the significant majority of which have been unvaccinated. Yesterday, I read two things of import to this issue. In my metropolitan city of about one million people, there were only 66 hospital beds available in all hospitals within 30 miles. That was in the morning.

I also read of the death of one of my favorite singers, Marvin Aday, better known as “Meat Loaf.” Meat Loaf died of COVID after being an antivaxxer. He famously said if it kills me, it kills me. It did. In the last five months, six avid antivaxxer radio hosts have lost their lives due to COVID. Contrarily, in the last month, three of my immediate family got COVID, including me, and we recovered in a few days as all three of us had received at least two vaccines, with me having the booster as well.

Like any vaccine and any dose of medicine, there are those who react negatively to it. Some react with mild symptoms, while others realize more severe symptoms including death for an unfortunate number. But, when you divide those more severe experiences (I was just sluggish and had arm pain and a headache after mine) by the billions of vaccines in the denominator, the percentage of severe reactions is quite small.

I understand that people are concerned, but there is a lot more data to alleviate those concerns now. Yet, what I don’t understand is those who have been sold a conspiracy theory is behind all of this or that your rights are being infringed on to be made to have a vaccine as a political tactic by an opportunistic politician (think names like DeSantis, Abbott, Paul, Trump) or opinion entertainer.

If these folks had a child that would be going to a public school or any university, they would have to provide a vaccination record to get in. If they did not have certain vaccines, they would have to remedy those gaps. The rules of admission are forcing you to get a vaccine for the greater good. Why? Because the average distance between students is much closer in proximity (three feet) than the folks in general society. Schools are ripe for the passing of a contagious disease.

But, back to the hospitals. I understand elective surgeries getting placed on hold to free up space, but when acute or severe medical needs beg for immediate treatment, to have to wait is life threatening. I talked to the daughter of this relative last night. She had some choice words for antivaxxers who were making her mother wait in the lobby of the MRI wing.

Folks, there is a greater good issue that we often forget to pair with freedom. Getting vaccinated has been shown to save lives. Hospital staff are being overrun and they are begging folks to get a vaccine for the COVID patients, other patients and staff’s sake. And, yet these anti-vaxxers would like to beat on their chest to win a political argument acting tough. One thing is for certain in my mind – as the end nears for the less unfortunate unvaccinated patients, my guess is they are ruing that stubborn decision.

34 thoughts on “No more room in the inn (and hospital)

  1. I always love sharing your posts, Keith. But I love sharing this one especially. It cannot be said enough how important it is to get the vaccination. It may cause reactions but they are temporary and controllable. But catching the virus you are helplessly at the mercy of something you have no control about how it may affect you during the infection and maybe is hitting you months later with long COVID. My husband caught it too, although he was bolstered and only noticed it by chance. because we wanted to travel and got tested. Neither my son and I, who are living in the same household, nor anyone around him did not catch it. Our whole family is bostered.

  2. At one point, we’d lined our streets and cheered first responders and health care workers – what has happened to that? These people deserve and need our respect. They fight every day, working impossible hours, and all we have to do to do our part is get vaccinated. As you say, cannot we sacrifice for the greater good?

    • Thanks VJ. So true. They were convenient heroes then, but when they shared opinions that run counter to those anti-vax political positions, they became less heroic. It is not unlike the police who were heroes until they tried to defend against a Trump instigated insurrection on the Capitol. Then those that testified became liars and babies to those who did not like their courageous testimony. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: People who cite freedom to do or not do, must realize it is a two-edged sword. I have the right to say I understand your argument, but feel you are being insensitive to other people and not accepting your responsibility as a citizen. It is akin to not smoking in public restaurant or on a plane. It is for the benefit of others.

  4. Reblogged this on just drive, will you? and commented:
    I promise I’ll come up with an original post soon, folks, but lately, so many other bloggers are so eloquently addressing issues which concern us all, I feel everyone must read them. Here’s the latest example, from Keith, whose writings I greatly respect. Larry

  5. Oh this whole conversation makes me want to just cry. But it’s absolutely necessary that we have the conversations until every old person in this country is safe and we can use our rights – like to go to the market – without being exposed to life-threatening disease.

    My good friend is 85 (or so) and lives alone but has regular visitors. She got all her vaccines as they were available to her. Yesterday she was found in bed very ill and taken to a local urgent care which sent her on to the hospital where there was, thankfully, a bed available. This is in Texas and my friend has pneumonia. Why do her loved ones have to be so grateful there was a bed for her ??? Is that not the right of the vaccinated, too? Oh I am just so annoyed.

    • Becky, when we put people at risk, then that is not a good use of resources. This is why urgent care clinics cropped up, to free up ERs for acute care. To have hospitals crowded with people who chose not to protect themselves is unfair to those who have a crisis. Keith

  6. I have zero sympathy for those who are unvaxxed and get Covid. They made a choice they have to live, or die, with. Only bad thing is they can pass it on to others.

    • Peg, I do not wish misfortune on anyone, but when precautions are avoided, I won’t be surprised either. When I was in consulting and saw a client doing something that could lead to trouble, I used to tell them “I would be remiss if I did not tell you….” Keith

  7. I have numerous friends who have died, not of COVID per se, but of other diseases for which they did not seek treatment or for which treatment was delayed because of COVID. My attitude is that if someone gets COVID & is unvaccinated, then they should be told to GO HOME. They should not be taking up space in a hospital when other people need treatment.

    I also have friends who died of COVID because they refused to get vaccinated. One was as young as 45. In perfect health. He worked out, didn’t smoke cigarettes or use any drugs whatsoever, except drink a few beers on the weekends watching the Bills or Sabres or Yankees play.

    I myself have put off necessary tests (mammogram, now two years late, colonoscopy, a year late) because of COVID.

    I have been told MY ENTIRE LIFE that you “reap what you sow” & you have to deal with the consequences of the choices you make. If you break the law, you go to jail. If a person decides not to get vaccinated, we are told that “this is their choice” & we have to “respect” this choice. However, it seems to me that the consequences for the anti-vaxxers are negligible at best. Not only are they getting treatment when they get sick anyway, they are getting everyone else sick, even those of us who have been vaccinated (& even vaccinated, no one wants to get sick). The time has come to put them in some place … a COVID jail or something! If that sounds medieval, then so be it! They brought this on themselves. They could have been modern & reasonable & logical but they CHOSE to be ignorant & backwards. Treat them like they deserve.

  8. Thanks for this post, Keith. Regrettably, it continues to be timely.

    My sister-in-law, who survived a ruptured aorta seven years ago, was hospitalized with a mild heart attack last week. The nursing staff is so limited and overworked due to Covid that they instructed her in removing her IV and monitoring equipment bc no one would be available to help her over night.

    Our medical staff shortage, particularly in nursing, has been worsened due to burnout and the horrific treatment these dedicated folks have received from abusive Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers. We’ll be paying for the cynical use of a national health crisis for a long, long time.

    • Annie, I am so sorry for your sister-in-law’s experience. You are so right to be concerned with the long term impact on our health care staff. Keith

  9. Both sides of this argument are grounded in fear. I think it’s safe to say at this point we have all witnessed tragic stories on both sides of these controversies, and our hearts cry for all of them. Although, it seems the continued us vs. them narrative has escalated on this subject to a scale that may not recover. The pandemic has been a cluster of misinformation from day one, and I’m not an expert on either side. My hope is that we will be able to cultivate compassion for one another at some point because living in this current climate is more detrimental to our society than Covid or any of its variants.

      • Lisa, your perspective is helpful. Part of our problem in the US is too many feel they are owed things, even when they fail to do their part. It is like unruly passengers where the plane has to turn around. You know getting aboard what the rules are, so abide by the rules. I feel for hospital workers, as they have tough job to begin with. Keith

  10. Excellent post, Keith. So far, my husband and I have managed to avoid the virus but our double vaxxed and boosted selves should do okay if we get it. Of course, Long Covid is still a worry and seems to impact even some who have had no or mild symptoms. As Omicron is peaking here, at least we haven’t heard of any other worrisome variants waiting in the wings. Fingers crossed that it stays that way.

    • Janis, best wishes to you and your hubs. Let’s hope we can get on the downward slope on this. We are all now triple shot here, so hopefully we can stiff arm it if we get exposed. Take care and be safe. Keith

  11. Sorry about your relative Keith and I hope she can get a bed if admitted. It is such a sad and scary thing that is affecting hospitals everywhere, yet people still won’t open their eyes! Great post!

  12. I do hope your relative finds some source of treatment. Stepping outside of the debate on vaccination; this is an issue which tests all health services whenever a pressure of some sort bears down; be it financial, growing population demands, a new health threat, or worse the grubby playing of political games. Investing in an effective, efficient and dependable health system is a sound investment for the future, a great challenge because there are so many facets but one worth embracing as sure as any for a nation.
    My own opinions on vaccinations are, I confess Keith, influenced by my own admittedly stern view of socialism, ie it is the duty of every citizen to contribute to the well-being of their society and thus society to contribute to them…actually a version of ‘Ask not what my country can do for me, but what I can do for my country’. Thus responsibility is above freedom* (a moveable word at best).
    Of course I have been around long enough to realise there is no point trying to get that message across to everyone in a democracy* (another moveable word)

    * “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ (Alice Through The Looking Glass)…..
    A common held view these days.

  13. Note to Readers: I read where the ant–vaxxers are getting the former president not to push vaccines, as in their mind, it sells better to be against things that actually help people. This follows on the former president being visibly shaken at a pep rally when he was booed for actually encouraging vaccines. It is all about perception.

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