In the Peanuts’ holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown laments to Linus that, “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” I think we can all relate to Charlie Brown’s sentiment this holiday season, given the economic, climactic and sociopolitical darkness that surrounds us this year, particularly as we approach the second holiday season overshadowed by COVID-19. The joy of the season seemed to become even more threatened over the past few days with news of a new variant, Omicron, emerging out of southern Africa that, potentially, can evade our vaccine-acquired immunities. However, as Linus ultimately reminds Charlie Brown, and all of us, the holidays (inspired by many different faiths) mean so much more than that which has become commercialized. The holiday season, and the prospect of a new year, bring a sense of hope and renewal to many of us.
While Aspen Valley Hospital has its own continued threats from COVID — the national healthcare workforce shortage that is compounded in Colorado by a critically high rate of hospitalizations, as well as high inflation and supply chain interruptions, and a local extreme housing shortage — we do have cause for hope and optimism. This is because we have a strong community within and around AVH; we have each other. Over the past few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of coming together to talk, share and learn from one another. We can’t solve what is happening outside of our hospital and community, but we can stand stronger together. The holidays inspire hope because of what they mean to us, our friends and family, and our community resolve. Similarly, I remain truly hopeful that our world-wide scientific community will continue to respond to COVID-19, and its continuous variants, with updated vaccines and effective treatments, and that we’ll learn to live with this virus as we do many others.
This holiday season, like all those before it, is indeed a time for hope, for standing together, and for looking forward to a brighter future. And what better place to celebrate the holidays than right here, in our special mountain community with all that it has to offer. In this month’s edition of our enewsletter, we offer expert advice from physical therapist Jack Michael, DPT, on how to keep ourselves in top skiing shape and avoid injuries, and from Mark Falender, Critical Care Paramedic at Aspen Ambulance, about how to take care of ourselves in the backcountry. Of course, Aspen is now home to The Steadman Clinic and our trusted world-class surgeons, who are there along with our physical therapists and the rest of the AVH team to keep us at our best. In fact, we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of our partnership on December 1. Our new partners are likewise celebrating how warmly they have been received and embraced by our patients, by AVH and our community.
Life in the mountains is about getting out there and experiencing the beauty and serenity of our glorious winter. I hope you will take every opportunity to find your joy in a spirit of hope this holiday season. And, as always, count on AVH, our physicians, and our staff, to be there for you, as we are for each other.