Saturday in Lyons. Lovely day, the start of summer. The cars, campers, and RVs heading up to Estes formed a steady stream of vehicles. In town, a dozen or so motorcycles were parked in front of Oskar Blues, and families waited their turn at the Dairy Bar. In normal times, this means sales tax revenue going to the Town, and people enjoying themselves.
But these are not normal times. I noticed that few masks were in evidence at Oskar’s or at the Dairy Bar, and physical distancing was loosely observed. I’m not sure how many states still have orders for distancing and mask usage, but at the urging of the president and some governors and mayors “to get back to normal,” people are taking advantage of the change in restrictions after months of inconvenience.
Despite the urgings of public health officials regarding hand washing, distancing, and wearing masks, a lot of people are acting like we’re back in normal times. I get that. It’s warm, school’s out, it was a holiday weekend (although it feels like we have been in weekend mode for months), and people are tired of staying home.
When you are on a course of antibiotics, the doctor warns you to take the medication until the prescription is finished. Despite feeling better after a few days, we know that if we discontinue the medication early, the illness can come back and lay us low again–not to mention possibly reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics.
I look at photos of beaches in Florida, California, Virginia, and New Jersey, and see enthusiastic throngs walking the boardwalks, laying on the sand and crowded into swimming pools, and think, “These folks are nuts.” I don’t wish anyone harm, but how does wishful thinking prevent something that is proven to be incredibly infectious?
It appears that many of the people in the pictures are in their 20s and 30s. It’s true that we often make foolish decisions and feel that we are invulnerable at that age. But I also see older people who are likely making the same mistakes.
The expression that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is pretty darn true. Wearing seat belts and sunscreen, not drinking and driving, getting a flu shot, maintaining physical distancing, and wearing a mask out in public are wise safety measures. The yahoo who says “hold my beer” while attempting a dangerous stunt like getting into the cage of a wild animal is probably not going to live to collect Social Security.
I feel for the person trapped in an apartment who can’t enjoy the blessings of a place like Lyons where we have beautiful vistas and easy access to nature trails. I feel for the essential workers, whether they be medical professionals, grocery clerks, first responders, or meat-packing employees who were working under terrible and dangerous conditions even before the pandemic.
I also feel for the spouse or child of someone with the virus who is dying in a hospital, perhaps on a ventilator, who can’t even say goodbye or hold the hand of that person. We’re all going to die one day. When we speak of a “good” death, we may imagine being in bed, knowing our time is measured, surrounded by loved ones. At least that’s the way I hope it will be.
My father, at 91, was in a hospital bed in Florida, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, girlfriend, and a nephew or niece. A granddaughter in Texas was able to speak with him by phone a few minutes before he died. When he felt he could let go, he peacefully died.
Having seen a “good” death, I can’t imagine not being able to see, speak with, and touch the people I care about when the end of life comes.
I’m fortunate to love where I live, have friends and family a short distance away, and have the ability to FaceTime with family and friends who are not nearby. I’m not worried about paying the rent on time, or anxious that I can’t cover a $400 car repair bill. I’m not going to risk it all to go to a crowded restaurant or swimming pool.
Public health officials warn of a “second wave,” meaning that if people don’t follow the hand washing, distancing, and mask advice, we could be hit with escalating numbers of cases again. Some are worried that such an outbreak would force us back to square one, cutting down a nascent economic recovery.
I care about life. Until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, I will wear my mask, maintain distancing, and do whatever it takes to keep myself, my wife and anyone around me, safe.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.