Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

Before we all head off to celebrate Thanksgiving in whatever fashion we safely can, here is my list of what I’m most grateful for during this holiday.

  1. My Family: I’m grateful my family is safe and sound and hope they will stop being mad about my stringent pandemic safety rules.
  2. My UMass Memorial Health Care Family: I’m grateful I get to come to work every day with such amazing people. They inspire me each and every day!
  3. Our patients: I’m grateful to our patients for entrusting their care to us.
  4. Our community: As the safety net resource for this region, our communities depend on us. I’m grateful to be a part of an organization that values taking care of all people in our region, regardless of their ability to pay for our services.

Celebrate Safely: I’m not popular with my family right now. Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays because we love to eat and there isn’t the pressure of exchanging gifts. But as one of two physicians in the family (my wife is an Emergency Medicine physician too), I feel it is my responsibility to keep my entire family safe during a pandemic and make sure we are adhering to the latest infection control guidance now that we are in a second surge. So, we canceled our usual big family dinner that includes my sisters, their families and my 83-year old mother, and keeping our celebrations small with just our household members.

I’m sure these discussions and negotiations are happening in your families as well. I wish things were different, but under the circumstances, my biggest wish is for our caregivers and our community to stay safe during this holiday season.

So please try to keep your gatherings small and contained to the safety of your household members; continue to wear your mask, social distance, use good hand hygiene practice and encourage your friends and family to do the same. I know doing these things are a pain, but the light is at the end of the tunnel with the soon-to-be-released vaccine. Hang in there – we will get through this!

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday!