Good That Has Emerged From The Declared Pandemic
This is the message that I intended to send shortly into this new year.
My wife is great at helping me stay grounded and she always encourages me to try to look at the silver lining when bad things happen. The unwillingness or inability of those in charge of our public health policies to follow the science has prompted me to repeatedly try to correct their disinformation. This has generally made me feel very pessimistic for much of the past two years. However, when I look back over this time period there are some great things that have happened that I feel are worth celebrating. Here is the partial list that helped me usher in 2022 on a much more positive note than 2020 and 2021.
I have been able to spend a lot more time with my wife and two boys. Work as a faculty member tends to be very time-consuming and at times, stressful and distracting. I appreciate having been so close to my precious family for two years. Love can trump all negative emotions. My family is a treasure.
I lost some so-called ‘friends’ but found out who my genuine friends are and have made many more. The net result is very positive. I now know who I can rely on when life gets tough. True friends are far more precious than the pretenders.
Many of my work colleagues became embarrassed to be associated with me when the world around us changed to the point where scientific truths and respectful discussions were no longer tolerated. Others caused outright harm to my career. However, my network of colleagues is now vastly larger and has a far stronger international footprint. So, although my collegial network looks very different, it is also vastly improved.
In general, I have met a massive number of fabulous people whose paths I would never have crossed had it not been for the trials and tribulations of the declared pandemic.
I have been in awe working with many physicians and other health professionals from around the world who have been willing to sacrifice so much to ensure their patients receive the best possible care, even when their science-backed approaches were not supported by the public narrative. While so many of their colleagues succumbed to public pressures and failed to follow the science, they demonstrated real commitment to the Hippocratic oath. They used their in-depth clinical training to do what they do best in times of medical crises; they assessed the situation, rapidly identified the key mechanisms driving COVID-19, and repurposed readily available safe drugs to effectively treat this novel disease. These past two years have identified who the real medical heroes are. It has also helped identify many flaws in our doctor of medicine training programs that can now be corrected in the future. This would include spending much more time educating the average physician in the field of immunology, with an emphasis on establishing a mechanistic understanding of vaccinology. Their training in public health will also need to be completely revised. As educators, learning from our mistakes can be a positive step forward for future trainees.
I have been inspired by working with many lawyers who seek justice for all the right reasons.
The outpouring of public support that I have received over the past two years has been incredible and is what has helped sustain me at some of the darkest times.
My research team has experienced tough times alongside the rest of us. They have proven to be a great, cohesive group. We have been able to have many respectful heart-to-heart discussions about all has occurred throughout the past two years. They have done a great job of supporting one another. My team has also remained incredibly productive over the past two years despite the cancer and basic arms of my research program having been deemed non-essential at one point and shut down for almost six months. Because of their dedication and cohesiveness, I am extremely proud to say that my research team has published more than thirty peer-reviewed scientific articles in the last two years.
I have had no shortage of opportunities to express forgiveness. With that said, this is still very much a work in progress for me and I have a long way to go. Forgiveness is not talked about too much in our society, nor is it appreciated by many. It doesn’t always feel ‘good’. But I do recognize that it is an important part of the healing process and anything that promotes recovery from the emotional turmoil of the past two years is both good and necessary.
As I reflect on the things I am thankful for I notice that people are at the heart of all of them. Bad times bring out the worst in many but the best in some. I want to thank all those who have worked so hard to be the best versions of themselves. While we continue to try to figure out how to get our world out of its long-term nose-dive, one of my personal goals is to try to stop from time to time to count my many blessings.