By Ken MacDonald •
Tuesday morning was depressingly rainy, and when I arrived at work, the Main Street Methodist Church steeple was playing “Be Still My Soul.”
I had just listened to the New York Times podcast and a doctor at a 1,000-bed hospital in Italy who portrayed a very sad picture indeed, and one we’re likely headed for in this country. Several hundred new COVID-19 cases each day at that facility alone, hundreds of nurses and doctors out for sickness, and worse, the necessary decision of who to give the limited-number ICU beds. If you’re older and critically ill, the bed’s going to a young person, because there’s likely no way you’ll survive anyway, he said. Worse still, those people who die in that hospital mostly die alone, because family aren’t allowed to visit. Because of the pandemonium, as hospital staff constantly reorganize to cope, frequently family isn’t even notified of their loved-ones’ deaths. That task falls through the cracks.
It’s a scene we’re very likely to face, the experts say, because while there are pockets of exceptional cooperation, as a whole we’re still slow to go full-bore with our isolation efforts.
But as the Methodist steeple played its final notes, I thought about all the folks who are already trying to fend for others. Those who are rolling up their sleeves in the health care world—amid a shortage of protection equipment. Teachers rallying to teach remotely, and staff creatively getting food by yellow bus. It’s everywhere and increasing. The attitude I see is apprehension, definitely, but also determination to get through this together.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.