A Lesson From My Dad

My dad was an old school mid-western Internal Medicine Physician who loved to tell medical stories and share anecdotes. He also had lots of little sayings from his childhood like “Waste Not, Want Not” and the like. For many years he also lamented the fact that Americans had no understanding of the “Infectious Theory of Disease” – medical rules of the road he learned all too well in medical school and as a practicing physician.

All of us are guilty at times of just trying to “push through it” when we’re sick. Many just go to work or go about our daily lives without a second thought.

I was reminded of this when just few weeks ago (it seems like so long ago, now!) a subject matter expert came into our voiceover studio to be interviewed for a business podcast. He chatted, shook everyone’s hand and then got all set up in the voiceover booth with the host. As we were getting levels set he said, “I hope my voice sounds okay. I’ve got a bit of a cold.”

My first thought was: I was glad that there were no voiceover talents here for this session because getting a cold could wipe them out from work for days. Then I ran out and washed my hands, all the time thinking of my dad’s frequent admonition. There is no such thing as “a bit of a cold.” Germs are germs, folks.

This is a vital axiom we are coming to learn all too well during this Corona Virus Pandemic. My sincere hope is that the one good thing that’ll come out of this will be a greater awareness of not wanting to transmit whatever illness we may have on to others. And maybe our first instinct will now be to stay home and away from others as much as we can when we’re sick. In the future we may be able to avoid those annual colds and sniffles.

As I watched clerks scrubbing the counters between customers at our local Target, I realized that this could be the tipping point. And we may become especially conscious when we’re hanging around the elderly or people with “underlying conditions.” This crisis has now made us hyper aware that the impact of what may only seem like “just a simple cold” to us — might have catastrophic effects on those around us who are more vulnerable.