I think it can be said without question that 2020 was an unusual year. With all that has been going on in the country and with the pandemic, everyone has been affected in various ways. The situations have forced us to learn how to manage in ways we would have never considered. We have learned to conduct business—and even take care of patients—by “getting together” via video calls. Education has been managed virtually, with everyone at home instead of in the classroom. Many things we once considered essential are no longer mentioned. Isolation of people from families and friends has been causing problems that have not been considered enough. Some of the changes may be for the better, while some may not—only time will tell.
What are we to look forward to in 2021? No one knows, but it is unlikely that it will be what we would want to call “normal.” We shall be dealing with the promises of vaccines to resolve all our problems when the effectiveness and long-term effects of these are not truly known. There are new treatments for the virus on the horizon, but will they be effective? Even as this work is progressing, there is news that the virus may be mutating into a form that is even more contagious than the current form. Right now, all we can do is hope that scientists and others will continue to work to find a solution to this major issue. As you know, many times all we have to offer is hope. HOPE stands for Having Only Positive Expectations and, as Benjamin Franklin said, “Great hopes make everything great possible.”
What do we hope becomes reality? Obviously, we hope the viral pandemic will come to an end either through vaccines or treatments or both. We hope that a sense of normality in daily life will return for everyone in the country, that education can be continued, that families can get back together, that churches and religious activities can resume as normal, and that businesses can return to full function. I hope that everything will be restored so that travel can be resumed without fear. I hope that everyone encourages one another to adopt an attitude of helping each other—to be selfless instead of selfish.
Despite what we might think, we as health care providers should be playing a large role in encouraging our patients, friends, and family members to be part of encouraging hope. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.” As we go about our daily activities with everyone that we meet, I encourage you to spread hope to everyone as we wait for the day when our lives can return to normal.