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Notes on a December Weekend

December 18, 2021
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone:

It’s a busy weekend in the MICU, so I’ll be quick. Some observations:

  • Get your third shot: Our team has four COVID patients. Three are unvaccinated and they’re in bad shape. The fourth got sick two days before his scheduled “booster.” Thankfully, he’s improving but his case reminds us that two shots are insufficient. Let’s stop calling the third shot a “booster.” It’s a key component of a three shot series.
  • Stay vigilant: After nearly two years, managing COVID seems almost routine. But it’s as dangerous as ever to the unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, and immunocompromised. It’s also more contagious, especially with omicron. In the hospital, I’m wearing an N95 at all times, not just with patients. Outside the hospital, I’m also wearing an N95 or equivalent, staying away from indoor restaurants, socializing outdoors whenever possible, and opening windows when it’s not. It won’t be like this forever, but with Connecticut’s rates skyrocketing, it’s no time to get sloppy.
  • Harness your frustration: As I’ve said before, I can’t get angry at unvaccinated patients. They’re vulnerable and frightened and they need the same compassion we give all patients. Instead, I’ll transform my frustration into advocacy. Today, I plan to write to state officials, pushing for mask mandates, limitations to indoor dining, and universal vaccination. With all that we’ve learned and with hospitals overflowing, I can’t comprehend how we still allow unmasked, unvaccinated people to congregate indoors.
  • Accept what we cannot change: Like many people, I hoped the vaccines would end the pandemic. Maybe it will end someday, but with so many people unvaccinated, the end is a long way off. We need to learn to live with COVID, both professionally and personally. We will adapt to this disease and learn how to thrive, just as humans have since time began.
  • Be grateful: Vaccines are incredible. So are monoclonal antibodies. Antiviral medications are coming. Yale and YNHH’s treatment protocols and care pathways are amazing. We have plenty of PPE. We’ve saved millions of lives, and most fully vaccinated people are protected from serious illness. For all this, we can thank our colleagues in science and all the health professions.
  • Friends make all the difference: Working in the MICU is hard, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on this late December weekend. I love my team. We’re unpacking histories, exploring physiology, sharing articles, and performing procedures. We’re having fun. We’re even laughing. The truth is it doesn’t seem like work, because I’m spending the weekend with friends, and friends make all the difference.

Now it’s time to drive to New Haven to join the team.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone,


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on December 19, 2021