As we wished you good health and happiness at this time last year, we could not have imagined what 2020 would hold. But the New Year always brings hope, and with weekly shipments of vaccine arriving in Birmingham, we have much reason to be hopeful. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not there yet. Let our resolutions for this New Year include continuing to protect ourselves and others until we have all been vaccinated against COVID-19. We can do this for three or four more months and give thanks that it will not last three or four years. With the end in sight, I would like to offer a short message about keeping up our resolve.
A friend shared this story as we were discussing the likelihood we would soon get our vaccines, both of us being older adults and me a healthcare worker. My friend served on a helicopter crew in Vietnam. It was a very dangerous job, costing the lives of nearly 5000 pilots and crew. (That is nearly 10% of all combat deaths in the war). He recalls that he and his fellow soldiers accepted the risk without allowing it to consume their thoughts. Each day they did the job they were called upon to do. But as he neared the end of his tour of duty in Vietnam, he said he thought much more about the risk he faced. In his words, it would have seemed senseless to have survived those many dangerous missions only to become a casualty during his last few weeks.
His point about COVID was clear. We’ve made it this far; let’s keep up our guard. Wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding unnecessary exposure is not a terrible burden. We can do this for a few more weeks.
Along with my partners and our staff, I wish you a very healthy New Year!
Jimmy M. Sparks MD