Dear Door County,
I’m a “front line” health care professional working in the Emergency Department at the mightiest hospital in the Midwest: Door County Medical Center (DCMC). I shudder to think where we would be now had our community not managed to slow the spread of a disease you won’t necessarily know you’ve gotten or given.
Although no one can draw the line between what is prudence and paralysis or courage and recklessness, I nevertheless feel thankful for any efforts of which one is mentally, physically, psychologically or even ideologically capable.
These difficult measures all amount to a terrific protracted sacrifice for which there is no immediate end, nor likely any individual payback. The hot, smile-hiding, claustrophobic mask; the inconvenient, chafing umpteenth hand-sanitizer application; the missed friends and relatives – all take a steady toll.
I feel indebted to the many business owners who have to endure much more than the hardships listed above. Although often involuntary, their sacrifices nevertheless constitute a tremendous gift to us all.
Doctors and nurses have received many of the accolades, yet it is the respiratory therapists who are the true miracle workers and who have the most intimate virus exposure.
I cannot thank enough the real unsung heroes of the pandemic: the custodial staff who sanitize where we work and play. In the hospital setting, these indispensable people venture bravely into rooms occupied by infected patients and decontaminate the danger away.
Prior to the pandemic, emergency departments – particularly in rural regions – were already a dangerously fraying strand in a tattered safety net. DCMC was no exception. I’m extremely grateful it has invested in state-of-the-art facilities, but more importantly, in staffing levels that mitigate the effect of more numerous and complicated patients.
An effective, safe vaccine is now being distributed. The speed at which it was developed is a terrific scientific and human accomplishment. I’m thankful for all who contributed to bringing us this much-needed ray of hope.
The daylight is finally waxing and much winter is ahead, but the holidays are times of hope and, for me, appreciation of what we did as a community for each other and the most vulnerable in our midst.
Francis McCormack, M.D.
Fish Creek, Wisconsin