We seem to have struck a chord.
Last week, Adam wrote about how, despite generally good intentions, he has not always abided by every CDC guideline in day-to-day life. Apparently, he is not alone.
Diana Hartley of Norman told us how she and her husband, Tim, who underwent a kidney transplant last year, have been navigating the pandemic. “I’ve taken far more risks than him, including airplane and road trips. As a relationship-oriented person, I at times feel so stifled and stuck that I, too, have been consistently inconsistent.”
Meredith Cook of Edmond thinks that humans aren’t wired to limit physical contact solely to those within our pods. “While we are doing our best to be safe and keep from hurting anyone, there are times we need to hug people we love even though they don’t live with us.” For Meredith, atop that hug list are her adult children.
Jeff Greenlee of Altus admits that he and his wife, Lisa, might be prone to taking an occasional risk these days, “especially if family or good food is involved.” But they probably have a little more latitude than most, having both recently recovered from bouts of Covid-19.
For Jeff, that bout was particularly harrowing. A 58-year-old banker and marathon runner, he spent a week in November hospitalized with the virus, fighting pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. A treatment regimen that included oxygen therapy and convalescent plasma helped him return home, where he said he is “slowly gaining enough strength to go back to work” at the NBC Oklahoma bank, where he’s market president.
Just before Thanksgiving last year, he covered the 26.2 miles of the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa at a pace of nine minutes per mile. On Sunday, he reported, he finally got in his first post-Covid jog on his treadmill. He went one mile, and it took him more than 15 minutes. But, he said, “I’m okay with that.”
The Greenlees are eager, Jeff said, “to do anything we can to help” with the pandemic. To that end, they’re both donating plasma to the Oklahoma Blood Institute. They’ve also volunteered to participate in a research study at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, where OMRF scientists are studying the antibody responses of people who’ve recovered from the virus.
Sadly, though, not everyone recovers from the virus. For evidence of that, one need look no further than the past week’s Oklahoman.
On Sunday, the paid obituary section was as large as either of us – daily readers of the paper for many years – can remember. Covering almost five pages, it told of the lives of 47 people who’d passed away in the previous days.
None of the obituaries specifically mentioned Covid-19 as the cause of death. But with the virus claiming as many Oklahomans (168) in the previous seven days as the Murrah Building bombing, it’s unthinkable that some, if not many, weren’t victims of the virus.
Indeed, in the succeeding days, we’d read the story of one of those whose obituary appeared Sunday: Loc Van Le.
In a wonderful tribute by Dave Cathey, we learned how this Vietnamese refugee founded Jimmy’s Egg and built it into a 60-restaurant chain. This month, he lost his life to Covid-19. And, Cathey wrote, the family continues to hold vigil for Le’s wife, Kim Hue Le, who remains hospitalized with the virus.
The obituary section used to appear a few days a week. Now it runs daily. And we can’t help but expect many more entries like the following, which appeared Wednesday in the death notice for Charles Lynn Lormand: “The family would like to extend our thanks to the amazing nurses and doctors on the COVID floor at Integris Baptist Medical Center who took such good care of Charles in his final days.”
As infections and deaths swell nationwide, this promises to be the grimmest holiday season in memory. Still, with two newly approved vaccines, hope shines bright on the horizon, piercing the cold, dark nights and reminding us of the warmth and light to come.
In the meantime, we must do all we can to protect ourselves and those we love. Zoom rather than travel. Instead of big gatherings, opt to KISS (keep it small, stupid).
And even though he’ll have visited countless homes before yours, it’s okay to leave the chimney open for Santa (provided the proper signage reminds him to don a mask). Put the cookies in a to-go bag.
Here’s wishing you and yours happy and safe holidays!
Dr. Stephen Prescott is president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Adam Cohen is OMRF’s senior vice president and general counsel. They can be reached at email@example.com. Get On Your Health delivered to your inbox each Sunday — sign up here.