Hospital Corner – December, 2020
May your days be merry and bright! For Lefa L. Seran nursing home residents, the past month was anything but—more dark and lonely due to the pandemic, but that changed on the Monday evening before Christmas. On a clear starry night (Jupiter and Saturn adding to the sparkle), several residents joined staff in search of holiday lights and decorations. Once fully loaded, our bus cruised slowly down Armory Road, zigzagging from there to A Street taking in the sights. Oohs and ahhs were aplenty as those onboard marveled at displays of all kinds: some simple and elegant, others dazzling and audacious. Eventually we moved on to Barney’s Addition, where we were mesmerized even more by the twinkling lights and creative delights. Often heard during our hour adventure were comments such as “this is just what I needed” and “now it feels like Christmas.” Hands down the most memorable gift I received this year.
The worst times often bring out the best in people; certainly true the past few weeks. Don’t believe me? Here are four recent examples:
(1) We received Christmas cards from grade school students around the country, most notably from South Carolina and Arizona. Not sure how they learned about tiny Mt. Grant General but they expressed thanks to frontline healthcare workers and wished them a happy holiday.
(2) The Renegades! Not a name that rings holiday spirit but you would be wrong. Early one Sunday, classic cars and hot rods rolled across the hospital parking lot, stopping in front of the nursing home. Santa and Mrs. Claus, several elves, along with a very large bunny brought cheer and presents for our residents—a few of whom ventured out to witness this happy event, while others smiled through windows.
(3) F-Troop. Tom Gallegos and fellow troopers donated gifts and surprises for residents as well—their only wish to bring a little joy to a forgotten senior.
(4) Local faith leaders assembled in hospital parking lot on a sunny Friday afternoon and formed a prayer circle, asking for blessings upon hospital workers, patients and residents. Staff members joined in and all left with warmth in their hearts.
Say what you will about world and national events but nothing can diminish this outpouring of love and compassion from strangers far away or friends nearby. The spirit of the season is alive and well in Mineral County.
Let’s talk about the COVID-19 vaccine. I know some still question if a pandemic really exists or that the vaccine is safe. My purpose isn’t to convince you about either but rather just offer some food for thought. Our local communities have been relatively fortunate compared to larger urban areas in regards to rates of infection, hospitalization and death—but we have not escaped unscathed. As bad as recent months have been, the worst may lie ahead; winter 2021 could see significant spikes in illness and mortality. Much of this can be avoided if we all follow the rules: wear a mask in public, avoid crowds, and wash your hands frequently. Some continue to ignore these basic precautions so the new vaccines may be our best hope to minimize further suffering. Many hospital staff members have already received the first dose, with little or no side effects. By the time you read this, all local first responders and healthcare workers will have been vaccinated (unless they chose not to). And, contrary to Internet lunacy, there is no secret microchip in the vaccine. Sure, this vaccine was developed and tested in record time but shortcuts were not taken; all FDA protocols were followed by Pfizer and Moderna.
Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Do what’s best for your family, friends and neighbors most vulnerable to the virus: they will be eternally grateful.
Hugh Qualls, Administrator