Masks and Vanilla Ice Cream

I arrive for the unconscious patient.  That means I carry my in house bag over my shoulder, the heart monitor in one hand, and an O2 tank and my isolation equipment bag in the other.  I run up four flights of stairs.  I am wearing a surgical mask and a face shield.  By the time I am come out on the landing, I can neither see through the face shield, nor breathe through the mask.  I set the 02 tank down, lift up the visor on my face shield, unloop one side of my mask, and lean against a wall while taking in a few precious gulps of air.  I nod to the old man in the hallway who eyes me silently, flip down the visor on the face shield, reloop my mask, pick up the 02 tank, and continue down the hall to the apartment.

We interrupt this post for a news flash:

The Governor just issued guidance saying all youth basketball players must wear masks while playing.  “Are you kidding?”  Youth basketball is often nonstop fast breaks.  My daughter who played four games this weekend, often stands during timeouts with hand on hips, slightly bent over using accessory muscles to breath.  How can they expect her or any of the girls on the court to run with a mask on?  What about someone who has asthma?  If I was Bobby Knight, I might throw at chair in anger at the idiocy.


Connecticut has gone red on every COVID map I have seen.  Our cases are going parabolic.  While I have been encountering more COVID this fall than last summer, it is not yet as bad as it was last Spring when it first struck us, when people were sucking for air just sitting in a chair trying not to move.  Deaths and hospitalizations are up, but the hammer may still be a few weeks away.

I read the news today.

In North Dakota they are so strapped for nurses they are allowing asymptomatic COVID positive nurses to continue to work.

With North Dakota hospitals at 100% capacity, Burgum announces COVID-positive nurses can stay at work

Utah has declared a two week state of emergency due to the devastation.  Orders including canceling all sports, mandating all wear masks and limiting gatherings to family members only.

Gov. Gary Herbert declares state of emergency for hospital overcrowding, case surge

Nationwide we have surpassed 10 million cases with over 100,000 new cases a day. 

“What America has to understand is that we are about to enter Covid hell,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of Minnesota’s Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy and the author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, said yesterday.


Back to basketball.

New article in the paper about it.

Benefits of mask wearing for winter sports athletes outweigh discomfort, performance setbacks, experts say

The doctors interviewed concede that wearing masks can and likely will inhibit both performance and communication during the game.

Yeah.  No doubt.

But Dr. Christine Won, from the Yale Medical School, says tellingly, “we have to take the value into what we’re really talking about here.”

And what we are talking about here is a deadly disease that has killed a quarter million Americans and will likely kill many more before it has run its course.

While COVID may not affect the health of any of the children, they can clearly spread it to more vulnerable relatives as easily as they can throw Hail Mary passes to each other on fast breaks.

I was recently reading the hospital chart of an elderly COVID patient with double pneumonia, who EMS had brought in.  “Patient to be admitted.  Her wishes have always been not to be intubated.  Comfort measures only.  Son says patient’s sister and daughter are on their way to hospital, driving from 12 hours away.  Son requests vanilla ice cream for mother if possible.”

So if my daughter complains, my answer will be, “I’m sorry, honey, I know it’s going to be hard.  If you want to play, wear a mask.  The other team will be wearing them too.  And you’re young, you have your health and you are still being allowed to play basketball.  How great is that!”


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