Is it worth the risk?

Hubert Meyers

Dear editor,

Like to socialize? Not wear a mask and forego keeping your distance? Well just remember the alternative. If available, it will be a bed in the ICU with a ventilator and here is what to expect when this happens:

A ventilator is not an oxygen mask. Ventilation is a painful intubation (under anesthesia) down your throat and it stays there until you beat COVID-19 or die. It is that simple. If you are lucky it will only be for 2-3 weeks. The tube will be from your mouth to your trachea and connected to a breathing machine. This machine is what keeps you alive and breathes for you. You will be given medications to paralyze you so you don’t struggle or try to breathe on your own; this would work against the machine and that’s why you at first are rendered unconscious and sedated and have your muscles paralyzed. You will be given painkillers to tolerate this tube for as long as the machine is needed.

After about three weeks of this, you will lose 30-40 percent of your muscle mass. May have vocal cord trauma as well as other complications. This is much worse for older people. Because a lot of them are already weaker, they cannot take this stress and will die. (It could be your grandparents or your parents or your children.) We are all in this together so keep your distance and wear a mask.

I forgot to mention the added benefits when you are in the ICU; you are fully awake and can hear and see everything but you cannot move or talk, so if staff say things you should not hear you will panic. You will be screaming (in your head) but no one hears. There will be no visitors allowed and if you die, you die alone. Another bonus is that you will have a catheter up your urinary tract to collect urine. If lucky, they place a bag on your back side to collect the diarrhea because you will be fed via tube. You will be lucky if an ice matt is available to lay on to keep your temp down. You also will receive the benefits from all the wonderful variety of professional medical staff to do what they need to do, to keep you alive, nourished, medicated, moved and getting better, putting them all at risk.

If you are one of the lucky ones to make it through all of this, ask yourself, was this journey worth it, not to wear a mask and socialize? I THINK NOT.

Take it from someone who has worked in intensive care and the emergency unit.

Stay home if you can and when out, wear a mask and keep your distance, follow the directions in the store and let us make our northwest the best.

Stay safe and healthy,

Hubert Meyers