Wealth, Health, and Corona!

Breaking News: We are informed that at 12:30 AM, Eastern Standard Time, Dr. E is admitted to the emergency department of Mercy hospital. No further information is available on his condition…

An old proverb that we might recall as a hot topic for our school essays has been the choice between health or wealth. I recall that during my adolescent years, deep in my heart, I used to think that there is nothing that money can’t do! With money, I could have bought whatever I desired; a new bike every year, an ice-cream factory, a movie theater that plays my favorite movies all-day-long, and even a team of doctors! The only thing that I felt money couldn’t possibly buy for me was “love”, and that was only because my high school idol, John, drilled it into my head (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srwxJUXPHvE)!  

What did happen in the years that Followed? Interestingly, upon graduation, almost all of us forgot about what we passionately wrote in our papers, and we began our lifelong quest for piling up more wealth! For most of us the craving for wealth became so mesmerizing that we no longer could care for our health. Most of us couldn’t appreciate or foresee the common downsides of our endeavors such as, chronic anxiety, weight gain, hypertension, chain-smoking, all-day-long crave for booze, and so on…

Can money buy me a ventilator? An issue that has progressively gotten the attention of hospital administrators in the American epicenters of Covid-19 pandemic, is the scarcity of the life-saving respiratory ventilators. These devises are practically the only lifelines available to those who are hit with the most common dreaded manifestation of the Covid-19, namely, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A question that concerns most hospital administrators is: “shall we deny a life-saving ventilator to a patient with ARDS to save others with a better chance of survival?”

Oddly, as I was writing this, I briefly started daydreaming! I saw myself gasping for air on a stretcher among many Coronavirus patients in a corridor leading to the emergency room of a hospital. A doc and an administrator, both wearing facemasks, were talking about me and the patient next to me. I overheard the administrator whispering, “which one should we let go?” While trying to hide my belly pooch, I turned my head and eyes with utmost difficulty to peek at the person who was lying on the stretcher next to me. I saw a well-built teenage boy with frightened eyes who appeared to be in deep pain! Had he been my own son, I would have cried “doc, please forget about me and take care of my son”! That brief thought of imagining my son in that situation shattered my daydreaming! Thank God, it was just a brief daymare! 

I then reached out to feel my pants pocket to see if I’ve brought my pills with me. “Oh yes! Thanks to my wife who packed them for me, I had my travel pills and meds in my pocket. The assurance of having my own atenolol, my lipitor, my chlorthalidone, my glucophage, my aspirin, and my albuterol inhaler amidst widespread medicinal scarcities was comforting.

 A few Minutes Later: I saw them moving the teenage boy for intubation. I wanted to scream “I have lots of money! I can build a Coronavirus unit with so many ventilators for your hospital… but no one could hear my voice! As my eyes started drooping, I heard my wife weeping and screaming on the phone and saying, “I have the right to know where the mass-graves are located!” but all I heard thereafter was “…due to high volume of calls we are unable to assist you at this time, please visit our website at…”

I just heard a cell phone ringing. It was my own! It shattered my thoughts again. As I wiped the cold sweat from my forehead, I couldn’t stop saying out loud: “Thank you, thank you, thank you God! It was just another daymare!”

10 Minutes Later: “let me check to see how my stocks are doing!”

Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder and head coach of the Center for Conquest of Longevity and Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.

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