THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT (July 25, 2022)
As I begin this report, it is Saturday night, and I am in Toronto at the home of Shauna’s mom, Hunters Bay Radio's MARTINI MUSIC's "ET" Ethel Goodman Taylor. Earlier last week, ET’s caregiver Andrea came down with COVID-19 and notified us that she needed to isolate for at least 10 days. Shauna and I made the executive decision to bring ET up to our home in the Almaguin Highlands in order to ensure that she would not be alone. We were of course concerned that, because her caregiver was sick, ET might also have contracted the virus. Today, Saturday, our fears were confirmed. She has a high fever, she is coughing, and she tested positive tonight. I may have caught it as well, but I won’t likely know for a few days. I’m not concerned for myself, but my wife Shauna Leigh is immune compromised and therefore at greater risk. That worries me.
Last week, our neighbour’s kids and grandkids got sick with COVID-19, and while those neighbours avoided contracting the illness, I have talked to at least a dozen people who have recently come down with the virus. Many are close friends. I know that this latest variant is highly contagious, and spreading like wildfire. It’s the perfect storm; we are all so weary of the omnipresence of sickness that many of us have let down our guard. I still wear a mask at some crowded events, and when I go into a supermarket or a store, but am nowhere nearly as cautious as I was a year ago. While thankfully, it appears that this latest strain is not as severe as earlier versions, for some it can still be dangerous. Shauna’s mom is 97.5 years old and currently quite sick.
A few weeks ago, I attended the annual Family Traditions Hoot music festival near our home. At the event, I was talking with a fellow I’ve known peripherally for about 5 years. We were chatting about how great it was to see this event resume after being cancelled the past 2 years due to COVID-19. During the conversation, this gentleman offered the opinion that he was against vaccinations. I listened to his opinion, and when he was done, I told him I disagreed. I didn’t call him stupid or uninformed, nor did he do so to me. We respectfully agreed to disagree. There really is no point in attacking those who disagree with you. Especially in the past 2 years, I have learned that there is no changing some people’s minds. I didn’t cite the overwhelming evidence that the death rate from COVID-19 was reduced drastically after vaccines were introduced, or that anyone who works in a hospital emergency room begs us to get vaccinated to help them lower their spiraling caseload. Even though these vaccines do not appear to be very effective against this Omicron variant, I stand by my decision to get vaccinated and boosted. It was and is for the sake of other people who may be infected by me. My doctor has told me that, while not entirely effective against the new variants, these COVID-19 vaccines vastly improve one’s chances of surviving the illness, and most importantly, of avoiding a trip to an overcrowded emergency room. I trust and believe my doctor, and I believe we need to free up our hospitals for the other people who desperately need critical care. I’m told the emergency ward at Toronto Western had to close temporarily due to a lack of staff. I’m also apprised that burnout in the medical community is a growing problem.
I’d like to think I have all the answers, but I’m just as confused as the next man or woman about the current state of affairs in the world. The former President of the United States of America is currently being investigated for what amounts to high treason, and the evidence to convict him of that crime is quite convincing. A lot of good, but misinformed people believed his lying BS and history will likely record that he and others tried to overthrow the U.S. government. Thanks Twitter, and Facebook, and every other social media platform that contributes to spreading so much corrosive propaganda. Whether talking about health care or politics, one would do well to check the scientific facts, because the truth is getting harder to find, or believe.
In a world wherein the internet can convince us that black is white, I am left to my own instincts to sort through what I think is right and wrong. In most cases, my instincts lead me to consider my fellow man and woman when I weigh my options. I hope Shauna and I don’t get sick, but if we do, we know we instinctively did the right thing for her mom. I’m not shaking my fist at the medical community for their failure to protect me and my family. I think a lot more lives might have been saved had more people considered the welfare of others when they made their decisions. Heaven help us when the next deadly, virulent disease is unleashed. Once again, I quote the cartoon possum Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Today is the 22nd anniversary of the day Shauna’s older brother Jordan died. July has not traditionally been a good month for the Taylor family. We’ll keep you posted on ET’s condition. At present, she still has a fever, and is quite weak and tired. Thankfully, she was vaccinated and boosted, and I think if she is properly cared for, she will survive this. Thanks to all who have offered your prayers and help; we’re doing the best we can.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED