We’ve all heard a good deal about triage of late. (“Do or do not. There is no try.” Sorry, Mr. Yoda, it’s triage, not try-age. Besides, there’s lots of try. We need try. Try is good.) Horror stories, mostly, and some unhelpful finger-pointing at selfless health care workers in other countries. Triage comes from the French word for sorting out.
There’s no reason to be afraid of the word. It’s just a word. If you’ve ever been to an emergency room, you’ve been through triage. The nurse who works at the check-in counter is often called the Triage Nurse. He or she makes decisions about which patients get to be seen first. That’s why someone who comes in with chest pain is going to be seen before someone with an ingrown toenail. Even though ingrown toenails hurt like the dickens. See? Triage is a regular thing.
Regular, and even domestic. Let’s say the boss is coming over and you have just an hour to get the house in order. Which rooms are you going to work on? The attic? Hardly. The kids’ room? Not right now; right now you’ll just shut the door. You’re going to put your limited resources (there’s only one of you at home; you have but 60 minutes) where they make the most difference: guest bathroom (tiny decorative soaps; tiny decorative towels; curtains that your guests will actually dry their hands on), living room, maybe the kitchen. The front porch should be swept as well, but there’s not time for that and it’s less important than the guest bathroom. That’s an example of domestic triage.
AND when the person who makes appointments at your doctor’s office offers a same-day appointment to someone with a bad cough but makes you wait for a week with your painful toenail, that’s triage. Just saying.
Physical distancing (perhaps a better term than social distancing) is important because it decreases the likelihood that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Of course we don’t want anyone to get sick, but if people are going to get sick it’s better if there are just a few of them at a given time. That makes it easier for health care workers to decide which patients need what and when and make sure that everybody gets treated.
The word triage is sometimes used as a fear-based weapon – particularly aimed at countries that have national health care. As in Canada = TRIAGE. Britain = TRIAGE. ALL THOSE OTHER COUNTRIES = TRIAGE. USA = NO TRIAGE. Not to put too fine a point on it: What a bunch of hooey. Our for-profit health care system sorts people out based on their ability to pay. Don’t have health insurance? Sorry. Can’t afford the co-pay? Sorry. Out of network? Sorry.
I’m getting down off my soap box now. SOAP = WASH YOUR HANDS. Go ahead and use the guest towels.
We’re working hard thinking of creative ways to help our beloved parishioners stay connected and engaged. That’s why we’re opening the church for prayer and adoration this afternoon (Wednesday) from 3:00 to 6:00 and tomorrow (Thursday) from 10:00 to 1:00. If it’s helpful, we’ll continue doing so. Please, let’s aim for no more than 10 people at a time, and please make sure you’re the required six feet away from one another. We also – of course – must make sure that the exposed Sacrament is not left alone.
AND we are assembling teams – because everything is cool when you’re part of a team – of parishioners who’ve volunteered to help with groceries and such as we get further into this. More about that tomorrow. If you’d like to make yourself available – or if you have ideas about how we can make this easier for all concerned – please call the church office.
If you haven’t yet been outside today, run outside and look at the sky. It’s a perfect Colorado azure blue.
And don’t forget Mr. Rogers’ wise words: “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.’” Amen. Let’s be helpers to one another.
This above all: God is with you, and you are beloved.