Big Deals

Mike McGough
April 2021

For a multitude of reasons, we often miss the big things.  By the time we realize how big they are, they have passed.  We frequentlymiss them because they come dressed in common garb.  Their arrival is not heralded by a brass band, and no one has arranged a 21-gun salute.  There are no news crews covering the event, and many of the responsible parties are nowhere to be seen. Those who are there are so busy doing what they do that they too attract no individual attention.  They make it look easy; like it happens every day.

It goes by a number of names, where it started and how it got here depends on who is answering those questions.  We are frankly years away from having credible answers to any of these questions.  Notwithstanding, one fact is known, and nothing that we’ll ever learn willchange that—it got here!

Initially, it didn’t seem to be a major concern, but in short order there was no doubting the reality that it was.  Unfortunately, it became political, and as soon as it did, the battle began.  Unlike battles between warring factions or nations, this particular battle had three major contestants—those who thought it was real, those who didn’t, and those who began trying with all their might to battle it.  As the infection rate increased, hospitalizations rose, and the death toll began to mount.  

Battling it was tough, very tough, and in some instances almost impossible.  It was unrelenting and insidious.  It refused to respond to known medical protocols, it stood established procedures in the corner, as it defied the known.  It turned the unimaginable into stark, irrefutable realities. It interrupted everything, it stopped many things, and it threatened everyone.  It showed us just how vulnerable we were, and how much we depended on certain things that could so easily be taken away.  It punished some more than others, often crushing those least able to fight back.  

Some expressed their fears through anger and denial, while others turned their anxieties into resolve and action.  Science battledpolitics, and free will expressed itself in more ways than anyone could have imagined.  Limits were tested, and in some cases pushed well beyond reasonable bounds. Fortunately, there were those who turned their fear into action. The who, what, when, where, and why questions that fueled political and social discourse, and media coverage, did not deter scientists even a lick.  They had a massive job to do, they knew it, and they did it!

In less than a year, a feat most thought was impossible was done.  Not one, but several vaccines were ready, and more were on the way.  Shots were going into arms, and a scourge that seemed irrepressible just nine months earlier, was about to meet its match.  With little or no fanfare, the process started.  Sure, there were some setbacks.  This was uncharted territory. These were challenges that lessthan a year earlier were still in the realm of the unimaginable.  Villains emerged and so did heroes. Supporters powered efforts and detractors sowed doubts.

Everyone had a decision to make.  When it was his turn, there was no doubt.  If there were risks, they were small.  Some of the best minds on the planet said it was a no-brainer.   He was all in.

On that day, he was excited. This was truly something. He personalized the experience, and it humbled him.  So many people had done so much to make this possible.  He was thankful, he felt blessed. A great thing had been done, and because it was, an enemy that threatened all humankind was being faced down and subdued in a massive life-saving effort.  When he was vaccinated, he wanted to thank someone.  He wanted to shake someone’s hand or give someone a hug, even though he knew he couldn’t.

“This is real power,” he told himself. “This is what happens when the determined and committed among us take on a challenge. When fear is turned into willful action, when doubt is rebuked by resolve, and when the selfless lay it all on the line for a greater good, marvelous things happen.”

For him it was clear. In a friendly, supportive, and most unassuming manner, those providing vaccinations were winning a war one injection at a time.  An epic battle in the protracted war against Covid-19 was being fought that day.  The hospital offering the vaccinations is in a town that is no stranger to an epic battle fought in a protracted war.  On that day, history was repeating itself in Gettysburg!

Oh, and by the way, don’t miss this; it’s really a big deal!

Thank you, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, and everyone who has and continues to empower your best efforts!