If you’ve followed my blog over the past year, you know that my wife is a stroke survivor who cannot wear a mask without risking another stroke. She tried wearing a mask in July of last year and ended up with temporary paralysis of her right side. Since that event, her symptoms from the stroke have flared up with a vengeance, and we have been attempting to get her tested and treated for whatever is causing it.
We have successfully managed to get her seen by a couple of neurologists, and she has had a CT scan done. Each step in this process has been a constant struggle with hospitals and doctors to get them to see her without requiring her to wear a mask. We have had multiple appointments canceled on us just because we let each doctor know ahead of time that my wife would require an exception to their mask policies. We have endured this with much patience, but when my wife called me yesterday morning and said that she wanted to just curl up into a ball and die after being denied treatment once again, that was the last straw.
I am through playing nice. I don’t care if I have to spend every last penny paying lawyers to sue doctor after doctor. I am going to see that my wife gets the treatment that she needs no matter what ridiculous policies stand in the way.
After that call with my wife yesterday, I called Brookwood Baptist Hospital back and asked (politely) for the scheduler who had just called my wife to explain to me exactly why my wife’s appointment for an EEG was being canceled. The scheduler, Dianne, told me that every patient was required to wear a mask without exception because Governor Ivey had issued a mandate requiring hospitals in Alabama to have that strict of a mask policy. I’m sure you realize by now that, if such a mandate had been given, I would certainly have been aware of it and would have written about all the laws that such a mandate would have violated. Governor Ivey has not issued a mandate requiring just hospitals to force people to wear masks, but I decided to play along and ask if Dianne could tell me more about this fictional mandate. She became frustrated when I asked for more details, so I asked to speak to her supervisor instead.
After I had waited on hold for several minutes, Dianne came back on the line to tell me that her supervisor was ready to speak with me, and she transferred the call to Brad Wideman. I asked Brad if he could give me any details about the new mandate requiring hospitals to require masks of all patients without exception. He said that he did not know the details but he could find out for me. I thanked him for his willingness to help, explained my wife’s medical history and asked him if he could also find out what we needed to do to get accommodation for her as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Brad promised to ask about that as well, and we hung up.
Brad called me back a short while later and asked if my wife could wear a face shield instead of a mask. I explained that face shields greatly increase her anxiety which triggers both her asthma and paralysis of her right side. Brad then said that, if my wife was not able to wear either a face shield or a mask, then the hospital would not be able to see her to conduct an EEG. I asked Brad if he had found any information about the mandate requiring this policy, and he admitted that there was no such mandate. He said that it was simply the hospital’s policy. I thanked him for confirming that, and I asked him if he had also asked about the hospital’s liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said that he had not asked about that, and he offered to do so and call me back. He did not call me back.
Four hours later, I grew tired of waiting, and I called Brad’s direct line at Brookwood Baptist Hospital. Brad did not answer, so I left him a voicemail. I reminded him of why I was calling, and I asked if he had found an answer to my question. I asked him to call me back and let me know if the hospital would allow my wife to enter without a mask in accordance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Brad called me back about five minutes after my voicemail and began apologizing for the “misunderstanding.” He assured me that the hospital would allow my wife to get the EEG that she needed, and he explained that the room where the EEG would be done was right next to an exit that we could use to enter and exit the building without any other patients seeing my wife enter without wearing a mask. My wife is now rescheduled to have an EEG done at the same time as the appointment that had been cancelled.
So, why did I just bare my soul to the world regarding all of this? Am I looking for your sympathy? No, the real reason that I shared all of this is that many of the people reading this article are the reason that the hospitals have the courage to treat us this way in the first place.
During the course of my discussion with Brookwood Baptist Hospital yesterday, I happened to just mention a bit about the situation in a comment on someone else’s post in a facebook group, and I was IMMEDIATELY bombarded with responses from people accusing me and my wife of being the reason that the pandemic has lasted for so long. I was told repeatedly (and not for the first, second, third, tenth, or even hundredth time) that my wife should not be allowed to go out in public until the pandemic is over. I had several people voice their concern about the family members and friends that we were actively killing by not wearing masks, and of course, there were plenty of the obligatory shouts and curses from people who claimed to care about us.
Well, guess what, I’m through playing nice with you people too. YOU are the reason that we have been kicked out of multiple businesses, hospitals, and doctor’s offices over the past two years. YOU are the reason that we had to leave our church and join a different one that didn’t try to shame us into compliance. YOU are the reason that we had to sell a house that we loved and move to one without stairs since my wife can’t get any treatment for her condition. YOU are the reason that this pandemic has lasted so long. It is YOUR compliance that has given others the courage to treat us this way. YOU are the ones so afraid of dying that you are willing to sacrifice anything and even anyone at the mere whisper of the possibility.
Take a moment to let that last sentence sink in a bit. I know it stings, but think about it. ALL of the illegal and unethical responses to the pandemic can be traced back to a single cause. The “Christians” in America are afraid of death. Jesus Christ came into this world to "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Heb. 2:15) What does it say about YOU when you willingly submit to the bondage of forced masking, forced shutdowns, forced curfews, forced vaccinations, and more just because you are afraid of death? Have you REALLY been delivered from the fear of death? Is your life here on this earth really so valuable to you that you are willing to submit to any level of shame to avoid losing it?
If there is anything that I have gained from the past two years, it is a better understanding of the imprecatory Psalms. After a day like yesterday, I am more than willing to join David in praying, "Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame." (Ps. 40:15) Maybe one day I’ll be able to look back on your cowardice with more pity than contempt, but at this point in time, those of you who have tried to force my wife to wear mask might not want to ask me to pray for you. I’m far more likely to ask God to "Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them" (Ps. 69:24) than I am to ask Him to bless you.
So go ahead. Keep cursing us for not wearing masks. Keep accusing us of killing people. Keep panicking yourselves into giving away the freedoms that none of us deserve in the first place. Just don’t expect me to care too much when you finally come to your senses and realize what you’ve lost.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)