Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Today's Focus

Sometimes it feels as if growing older requires consistently lowering expectations of others. Or maybe it just feels that way today.


Today, some people are determined to live down to the few expectations I had left for them--I'm looking at you, election officials in Oklahoma, to say nothing of half of the voters who live there. 


But. I have a choice. Today, I choose to celebrate people who are doing their best in impossible circumstances. 


Random slightly fuzzy photo
of a beautiful flower/weed 
from the most beautiful place
on the planet.


Today, I'm celebrating public health officials who are saying hard things in rooms of politicians, and who continue to say these hard things, day after day after day. These people are giving good, science- and experience-based advice. 


Their advice is too often ignored and wished away, lalala if I pretend to be responsible, if I raise my voice and tell people to get it together, maybe something good will happen, lalala. I can't imagine the frustration of experts whose expertise is denigrated and ignored.* 


We may never know the names of these scientists--epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists of all kinds, people who have lived through and squashed previous pandemics, those trained in public health. But they're there, and they're doing their best for us, and today, I'm celebrating them. 


Today, I'm celebrating workers in laboratories around the world who run experiments and crunch numbers, who use their training and expertise to investigate drugs that will--and drugs that won't--serve as a vaccine against COVID-19 and end our pandemic. 


Most of these people will find out what DOESN'T work, science being science. Most will have only the satisfaction of doing their jobs well--we'll never know who they are, though their bosses may win Nobel prizes or get huge pharmaceutical stock options. 


But those workers are out there in the world, in their laboratories, and they're working for the rest of us, and today, I'm celebrating them.  


Today, I'm celebrating people who care for elderly people, people who bring breakfasts, who clean bodies, who elicit smiles, who sing old songs, who lead exercise, who button cardigans, who find glasses and hearing aids and dentures, who bring cheer and care to our parents and grandparents, our aunts and uncles, our cousins, our neighbours.


These care workers see far too many people, for too little pay, at great personal risk. They are blamed and censured and ignored. Whatever they do, they know they could do more--there's always more they could do.  


But they do their best work, they care for our loved ones with hands and heart, and today, I'm celebrating them.


Today, I'm celebrating people who care for patients in hospitals, who give reassurance and use the best practices known at the moment to treat COVID-19. I celebrate those who treat patients with other conditions, and those who make the institutions run--specialists in computing services, record-keeping, imaging, housekeeping. 


While politicians stand in formation behind podiums and pontificate about how "we should all do better," this army of anonymous-to-us healthcare providers are already doing better. They work long shifts, at great personal risk. They serve us, even those who deliberately flout public health advice--who know better yet choose to risk the lives of people they profess to love. 


But these front-line healthcare workers serve us, even those of us whose actions endanger their lives--and today, I'm celebrating them. 


Today, I'm focusing on people who are achieving impossible things for people they don't know. Because they're holding together a world with little more than hope and their expertise, and I'm grateful to them. 

 

________________

* Oh wait, yes I can imagine having one's expertise dismissed, because I'm a woman with expertise in my own body, yet many people without my expertise would say I'm not entitled to make decisions for my body.