Gary Tetz

I saw a dog in a wading pool today. He just wandered over, stepped in and plunked himself down in about three inches of cool water. He also had a ball in his mouth, and seemed as close to an icon of pure joy and relief as I’ve ever witnessed. 

Later, with his strength and spirit replenished, he tried to take a big, jaw-snapping drink from the hose. If you’re a long-term care administrator, and you’d like to see a vivid metaphor for what most days are probably like for you, watch the video

I’m not an administrator, nor should I be, so I can’t remotely imagine what it must be like to sit in your chair during this endless pandemic. Especially if you happen to live in one of the many states where cases are increasing, and you’re forced to wait helplessly for the next shoe to drop. 

As close to an icon of pure joy and relief as there is.

When experts suggest that despite your most careful defenses, it’s the facility location, asymptomatic carriers and lack of testing that are the primary factors for whether an outbreak will sneak inside your building, that’s a recipe for a lot of sleepless nights. Because even though those three things are entirely out of your control, chances are you’ll still be blamed, written up or fined — and maybe all of the above. 

If that’s not anxiety-inducing enough, it turns out there might be one type of administrator who is more personally susceptible to the virus — a bald one. We’ve known for a while that men tend to have worse COVID-19 outcomes than women, and now new research from Spain links the group of hormones that cause hair loss to severe cases. “We really think baldness is a perfect predictor of severity,” said the study’s needlessly frank lead author. 

Before we panic — and one look at my photo will confirm I definitely mean “we” — those same scientists admit that more research is needed. But when 79% of 122 men who tested positive and required hospitalization were bald, that’s definitely a bad sign. Would wearing a hat be helpful? Could a hairpiece fool the virus? These are questions left strangely unaddressed. 

Unfortunately, there’s little we can do about any of this, so like everything unwelcome that happens in life, acceptance is one of only two constructive paths forward. The other is to find ourselves a wading pool and lie down in it for a good long while. The ball is optional. 

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a two-time national Silver Medalist and three-time regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He’s been amusing, inspiring, informing and sometimes befuddling long-term care readers worldwide since the end of a previous century. He is a writer and video producer for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.