“Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” –Exodus 9:28
Happy and healthy Monday to you all! I hope and trust you all had a nice weekend. Fall suddenly fell in the Ozarks as we dropped from nearly 90 degrees to the 60s and 70s, toot sweet. This is a dreamy season…uhhh…errr…I mean week or two… before Fall gets kicked to the curb by winter. I fully expect a 2020 winter to involve tornadoes or perhaps Yetis falling from the sky? Maybe a little winter-coat-donning murder hornets? Who knows the way things are going this year??? As for me, I spent a weekend in KC visiting a sister agency and doing some planning. It was helpful and fun, but not great on the diet. KC is known for BBQ and apparently I ate my share as I gained a 2-3 pounds this week(end). No worries…back on the wagon again this morning and I will have them gone plus interest in a couple of weeks and I will still get to my 100 pounds lost by November 1st.
Here are my short-term, medium-term, and long-term charts of my weight loss:
Another item of note before I get out the shoe horn and WD-40 and start fitting this into a cogent article: The Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams, announced in a memo some new guidance for allowing visitors into long-term care facilities. Here is a helpful summary article from Zola Crowder from ABC17 News. Here is another version of the new guidance.
Non-binding guidance like this sounds like it isn’t as noteworthy until you realize that many, many organizations who deal with vulnerable populations lean into this guidance as we navigate the uncharted waters we currently navigate. This memo stresses the importance of having a solid plan and not “winging it”, as some out there seem to be doing. It requests locations within the buildings be set up, if possible, for indoor visits should COVID-19 cases locally stop (with physical distancing and layers of PPE) such that visitors would rub PPE-wrapped shoulders with as few residents as possible. It stresses outdoor visits where possible as well. Winter is coming…even the facilities with outdoor visits will need a warmer plan soon. This memo stresses the importance of working toward it. It prioritizes essential caregivers (clergy, Ombudsman, advocates, etc…), a very important facet that was not emphasized well enough before and led to these critical folks fighting to be able to visit. I encourage you to read the above links…they are quite helpful.
Why the hubbub? I mean, restricting visitors reduces the chance of patients catching and likely dying of COVID-19…so it is a no-brainer, right? Up close that sounds good…but step back a ways…..
So, allow me to sum up my point today:
- I had a good weekend of eating (like a stuck pig apparently), and I gained a small amount of weight.
- Today is day 200 (!!!!) of the loss of free and easy access to my mom’s nursing home and it got me thinking again about perspectives.
- New guidance was released to promote fewer restrictions on visits at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- Things look different closer up than far away.
My opinion of the new guidance:
- I love the idea of seeing mom and the Sweet 17 again!! They are doing bad. How do I know? Possibly the most important thing you will read here and something the guidance recognizes: Isolation is very hard on a person….especially when times are bad like today. Here are some links on this critical topic: Link Link Link Link Link. I included some from journals, some from science sites, some from advocates…they agree that isolation is very, very bad when times are good…but in 2020 it is really, really, really bad. These heroes’ mental health is suffering. Their physical health is suffering. Their “will to live” (whatever that means from a theological standpoint, there is something to it…) is waning in many cases. When you are up close to the situation…perhaps you are a Doomscroller and half of your day is spent watching the numbers of deaths increase, the politics, the riots, etc… (I get it…I have to do quite a bit of that for my job…) This leads to wanting a fast and easy fix. Let’s lock up the sick folks, lock in the staff of their facilities and wait it out! I get it…that is the temptation. That is my temptation if I was entrusted to operate a facility like this. Circle the wagons it is! However, when we step back, we see the complexity and the number of hazards.
- These are hard decisions. There are great men and women of tremendous courage making these calls. We need to support them and pray for them and not spend all of our time second-guessing them. Have input? Share it with them. Uncharted territory demands more voices. Let’s talk, not shout. 🙂
- Is this comparable?: I was IT Director for schools for 10+ years. Every December it happens. The first snow. Sometimes a biggie. Kids stare at the TV looking at the cancellation list to see if their school was among the numbered lucky ones. I can remember like it was yesterday when I was a kid: Raymondville, Reeds Spring…then, drum roll…. (Republic!!!…or some forsaken S-named school in the event we were in session). What we DON’T see is that the superintendent, often with a board member in the passenger’s seat, is out at 3:30-5:30am scouting the road conditions and prepping for the next biggest decision of their career: stay open or close? The temptation: Close her down! I mean, we all know the tragedy that would ensue if a bus-load of kids got stuck in a ditch, or, obviously worse, there was a wreck caused by the one slick patch that wasn’t accounted for. However, what about families? In a cruddy economy, babysitters are expensive…too much so for the family in some cases. Therefore 2nd graders are left at home alone? Or a 4th-grader watching a kindergartener. It happens every year. It really does. It truly is a devil you know (bus wreck) versus the devil you don’t know (panicked parents or parents that don’t care…) Similar: COVID-19 versus the harm of isolation…and living out one’s last weeks, months, etc…with nobody by your side.
- I like the guidance. It seems to me to be a happy medium…a step in the right direction. Allow the most critical caregivers in and keep everyone separate to a point…and pray it doesn’t make things worse. It shouldn’t if the precautions are followed. Having 200 of mom’s last few hundred days left on Earth spent alone is a long time…and a very bad thing. The quality of matters at least nearly as much as the quantity of life, doesn’t it?
- I am concerned that some will cheat. I am concerned that PPE will run out. I am concerned that employees will continue to bring in the virus and it may get worse. I am concerned with a winter surge in the virus…a very likely reality. I am even concerned about liability…but I am also concerned about the lonely and underserved. We promised we would never just “stick mom in a nursing home”, but that we would be there every step of the way…and we have been unable to fulfill this promise…and it needs to change, if possible. I am not ok with allowing for the devil I don’t know when that devil kills too…
- This is a step in the right direction…but a hard one and one that should be apolitical in this charged world we live in. Let’s study all sides harder. Let’s allow for emotion, but not decide based only on it. Never forget the few for the benefit of the many…never.
Update: Day 200 without a mom hug. 🙁 Tragic 🙁 No call last Wednesday…they apparently forgot about my video call. Hoping for a better result this week.
Diet update: Officially a gain of 3.6. DAAANNNNGGGG…those burnt ends and fries were good. Now back to work. 🙂
Dad joke of the day:
Why did the invisible man turn down the job offer?
He couldn’t see himself doing it.