We baby sat yesterday for my 2-year-old granddaughter.  She’s an incredible kid who almost always has a smile on her face.  It doesn’t take much to make her happy.  She is very inquisitive and is starting into the “why” phase of childhood.  If you’ve raised kids, you know what I’m talking about.

Asking why is how we learn and, as a doctor, how I solved problems and diagnosed diseases for 40 years.  Since retirement, I had pretty much quit asking “why” and just accepted things the way they are.  Not only had I retired, but I had retired the whole concept of “why.”

Yesterday, I pulled my “why” cap out of the closet and have been pondering the question, “why won’t people wear mask and practice social distancing in North Carolina?”  Some “why’s” can’t be answered.  Why am I cursed with this decrypted body that houses my soul is one of those questions that has no answer. Yet, I continue to ask myself that very question.

There are some “why’s” that have to be answered! Why won’t people wear mask and practice social distancing, is one such question. Yesterday I was in Publix doing the weekly grocery shopping.  I wore a N-95 surgical mask and consciously kept at least 9 feet between myself and others.  It wasn’t easy.  It seems that residents of North Carolina must be immune to Covid-19 because 70% of the people shopping with me did not wear mask or keep social distancing rules.  People invaded my safety zone with total disregard for my health needs.

At one point an elderly woman (you know she must have been old if I consider her elderly) wearing a cloth mask over her mouth but not her nose, pushed up next to me to get a can of corn off the shelf (or she just thought I was cute).  She was close enough that I could smell her and she smelled sick.  I moved faster then I’ve moved in years.

WHY? Do you not believe that 120,000 people have died from this virus?  Do you not believe that you are vulnerable?  Do you truly not give a shit about the health of others? Do you believe that wearing a mask and keeping socially distant infringes on your rights as an American citizen?  What the heck is wrong with you?

I hate wearing masks.  I got kicked out of my surgical rotation because of my dislike of surgical masks.  It was my 3rd year of residency and I was scrubbed in on a neck dissection to remove a nasty tumor.  We had been in the operating room for what seemed like a lifetime.  The surgeon asked me what I thought about the surgery.  I know surgeons have major egos but  I didn’t care.  I simply said, “its boring as shit!”  Yep, I hadn’t done my homework.  The surgeon was renown for his neck dissections, and I had just crapped on his “art.”  He was also the Chief of Surgery. 

However, I did accomplish my goal.  I was kicked out of the surgical suite and got to take my mask off.  My upper lip felt like a waterfall.  Sweat dripped off it.  I was relieved until I got called into my director’s office that afternoon.  I was unofficially banned from future surgeries and almost kicked out of the residency.  Luckily, an excellent surgeon, Dr. Ahn, took me under his wing and completed my training.

The point of the story is that if I, a person that hates surgical masks enough to get into serious trouble, wear one, so should you.   If you don’t like wearing masks, you won’t like being on a respirator!  If you don’t believe you are vulnerable to viral infections, you are a fool.  If you are so self-centered that you don’t care about the welfare of others, there’s really nothing I want to say to you other then stay away from me.

In previous articles on this blog, I’ve listed links to teaching sites on YOUTUBE that will show you how to wear a mask and gloves properly.  Having lost my health I can promise you that life will suck without it.  Do everything you can to safeguard and preserve your health now, while you still have it.

One of the greatest pleasures I have had in life is caring for others.  You don’t have to be a doc to feel that pleasure.  Wear a mask and you’re your 6-foot safety zone. Here’s your song for today.  Here’s a joke or two:

Why didn’t the toilet paper cross the road?

It got stuck in a crack.

Why can’t you trust a burrito?

Because they tend to spill the beans.

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