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Why I Wear a Mask

By Tim Madison
 
Wearing a mask all these weeks has made me the recipient of not a few suspicious glances, even some unsympathetic laughter. But that's okay. I know why I wear a mask. It is not based on legal obligation or political affiliation.  It is because I don't enjoy the luxury of denial. My profession is hospital Chaplaincy and I serve one of the health systems that towers above the Houston horizon.
 
Since COVID-19 entered our community, my job has been to offer support to the dedicated employees of my hospital, the patients who suffer in isolation, and the families who cannot be with them. I have witnessed the deaths of patients as this vile virus laid siege to their bodies. I have spoken to families worrying at home, awaiting the fate of those they cherish.  I have listened to them grieve when the outcome was bad. I have heard the anguish of both veteran and rookie clinicians as they wept for patients lost, bearing the heavy weight of responsibility, fighting off contagion's fear for themselves and their families.
 
I wear a mask because I don't wish to see you on a ventilator, or being zipped into a body bag. I wear it because I don't wish to ask your family which funeral home to notify. I wear it because I refuse to add to the enormous burden of our hospital's clinicians. I wear a mask because I value your health, your life. My only request is that you would do the same for me.

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