Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Handshakes And Hugs… Who Needs Them?

Disclaimer, I have never been much of a hugger, especially in the moments of a greeting or departure.  Although to be fair, when I saw the jpeg, I am thinking, okay, maybe I would make an exception for the pound-sized Hershey bar.

But seriously, growing up, there was never any of the kind of displays of salutations such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.  So, with the exception of my daughters and any particular special interest in my life, I actually feel quite awkward in displaying such greetings.

Howie Mandel has often been made fun of for the reasons he does not make physical contact with people, concern over germs, or the term “germaphobe.”  I have seen him react when his levels of comfort have been actually threatened, often for the sake of comedy.  For Mandel, it is quite serious.

For me, it is just awkward.  I have no interest in giving anyone a kiss that I am either not married to or dating.  As for hugs, meh, I could care less.  Again, for an immediate relation point of reference, I have no problem.  But if I am visiting someone’s home, or just happen to see someone I have not seen in a while, yeah, not so much into it.

The only salutation that I did not have any kind of issue with, was handshaking.  Yes, that is written in past tense.

Covid19 has taken care of that for sure with me.  Honestly, I am not heartbroken about it.  I actually think a smiling “Hi there!” from me, produces more of a friendly approach than a firm handshake might mistakingly infer.  I really do not care if I shake another hand at this point.

And this new thing… the elbow bump.  STOP IT!  It is just stupid.  Not to mention the fact, that if you are supposed to be socially distancing, you actually end up two feet closer (minimum) to be able to knock each other’s elbows.

We are now in our tenth month of this crisis, the seventh month full blown, and no end in sight.  I have mentioned in past posts, I get how many are having such a difficult time dealing with the recommendations and restrictions, and worse, the isolation.  Unless you have been blessed to not have lived through a health crisis, you know the urgentness of what we are facing with this crisis.

I try to keep the temperature low when it comes to discussions about Covid19.  Of course, I care about everyone, not just my family and friends, not just my fellow cancer survivors, but everyone.  I am a firm believer in science, and am quite frustrated that politics has caused the damage and confusion that it has.

Years ago, I worked with biohazards.  I was within small groups of co-workers.  The good thing was, all of those co-workers were on the same page, follow the rules and precautions.  An issue one day, led to management deciding that this small group was no longer a workable situation, and instead opened the assignment to the entire department, and I spoke up against it.  My arguments were denied, and given my health vulnerabilities, I did the only thing I could do.  It was one thing for the small and close group who respected the dangers of what we handled, but by requiring all employees, many of whom only cared about short-cuts to get done working early, my health was in danger.

I went to our health services department to obtain an exemption.  I was told that I “just had a problem with management.  There was no health concern.”  Again, if you follow my blog, you know I have a difficult health history.  I would eventually win my argument, but I should not have had to fight so hard.

THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT EFFICIENCY OF MASKS!  I have already written a post on that.  No matter what however, even the lowest level of protection of a mask does one simple thing, and I have said it long before Covid19.  It acts as a cough or sneeze guard for those who are either lazy or slob and do not cover their faces when they cough or sneeze.

Sure, when my kids were just entering daycare, that is when we learned a new method to prevent errant sneeze and cough germs, doing it into the crook of your elbow.  That way you just did not transfer your germs from you mouth or nose to your hands, and then not wash you hands.

Of course, Covid19 has made it more difficult, and more necessary.  And the sad thing is, it really does make a difference, in lowering the risk.  No, not the same as eliminating the risk.  I have said before, even with the N95 mask, unless you are trained how to wear one, it will do as well at protecting you as the surgical mask.  That is why I say it helps lower the risk.  And lowering is better than nothing.

I live in an area that is high into mask-refusal.  I have been mask shamed.  I have heard all the excuses why not to wear masks, and have yet to hear one that was valid.  Freedom not to wear them, sorry.  The only ones who lose their freedoms are the ones that die from Covid19.  Can’t breath or dying from breathing CO2?  Right, that is why the death rate of surgeons and operating room nurses is so high.

My favorite, no one tells me what to do.  You wear a seatbelt in your car, right?  And believe me, I am 100% against being forced to wear one.  And given the option or the ability to make up my own mind, I would not do it.  But the argument is there, seatbelts save lives.  And here is the part that I hear, and I say, “but it should be my choice.  If I don’t wear my seatbelt, it has no impact on my driving.”  Sound familiar?

When someone claims that wearing a mask does not save lives with Covid19, that just does not make any sense.  You may have the right, not freedom, to not wear a mask, but you do not have a right to make anyone else face a deadly virus.  Seriously, do you think you could get away with infecting someone with AIDS?  Don’t tell me that is different.  At least AIDS can be treated.

My decisions that I have made in regard to Covid19 have no impact on anyone.  I am protecting myself, and those around me.  I am not making a statement, political or otherwise.  Besides not wanting to contract Covid19, I do not want the responsibility of giving it to anyone.  If you think because you are young and healthy, you have nothing to fear, ask anyone who has met those descriptions and developed Covid19, and have struggled since, because they found out, they may not have been as healthy as thought.

I have been through these crisis before, and I have gotten through them because I have made smart choices, not tried to prove a point.  Covid19 will not be any different.

And for now, I don’t care if I shake another hand…ever.

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