Tri-City Ledger -

By Patsy Green
Guest Writer 

Sawmill Day cancelled for safety


March 26, 2020

Sawmill Day 2020 is canceled. We had to make this decision early due to some orders that had to be made right now. Hopefully, next year will be better.

The things we are doing to try to slow the spread of Covid 19 are reminding me of my son's experiences with West Nile Virus in 2012. On August 30th of 2012 my daughter in law called to say my son had been hospitalized with suspicion of West Nile Virus. She said he had told her not to call me, but as his condition deteriorated she thought it best to call. By the morning of August 31st he was unable to stand and was unaware he was in a hospital. The decision was made to move him to ICU. By the time I was able to see him in ICU his hands were restrained. The staff explained that he had pulled out his IV. Even with his hands restrained he was able to wrestle off his oxygen mask, so he was put into a medically induced coma in order to be treated. (He explained to me later that in his confused state he believed he had been kidnapped and the kidnappers had tied his hands and were trying to put something over his face.)

That was the beginning of a month and a half of ICU treatment. He had the best of care. Every time a problem came up the ICU staff responded immediately. He was discharged from ICU in mid October and from rehabilitation in mid December. Today he has few signs that he was ever at death's door, just a lingering weakness in his left arm and right leg.

He was one of 12 WNV cases scattered over the 3 Pensacola hospitals. The ICU staff was able to constantly monitor him and respond to problems. Hospital resources did not reach the shortage stage. All but 1 of the WNV patients survived.

The situation with Covid 19 could become very different if we don't all do our part to slow the spread. According to the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, if we do not heed the warnings an excessive number of Covid 19 patients will need ICU services at one time. There will be a shortage of medical personnel and equipment. Hard decisions will need to be made about who gets the services and equipment available.

Part of my Emergency Medical Technician training when I was in the McDavid Volunteer Fire Department was triage. What triage means is sorting patients to see who gets access to limited resources. Patients likely to recover without help or with limited help go to the end of the line. Likewise, patients unlikely to recover even with help are given low priority. Those not likely to recover without help but most likely to recover with help are given the highest priority. It sounds harsh but it allows limited resources to do the greatest good possible.

As a 70 year old with asthma and high blood pressure I would not be in the highest priority group. If we keep the numbers low we will be less likely to get to the point that those decisions have to be made. Some of the most severely affected will still die, but we can keep the number of deaths lower if we all do our part.

With those thoughts in mind, although we all enjoy Sawmill Day and it is our biggest source of funds to keep our museums open, we have made the decision to cancel to avoid drawing crowds to one place. We are also closing our museums for an indefinite period of time. When the museums are reopened it will be announced on the Alger Sullivan Historical Society Facebook group page. Stay safe.


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