The Unexpected Present


Miracle on 91st St+Central Park West

St Nick

I believe in miracles. And miracle workers who come into our lives from Dr. Peak Woo who is giving Yuri his voice back to Saint Nicholas, our parish namesake celebrated on December 6 (depending on which calendar you go by) and patron saint to seafarers and voyagers like Yuri whose journey from the depths in the ocean’s unknown is coming back to his own musical being. I believe.


It’s a week since the surgery and when I spoke with Dr. Woo, he exudes a confidence that makes me believe despite a week of pain, sore throat, just-above-a-whisper speaking voice coming from Yuri as I filled the days with banter, quips, wisecracks, crosstalk, wordplay, all the while trying to keep up a witty conversation so he wouldn’t have to keep telling me what he’s feeling at the moment.


During Yuri’s appointment, Dr. Woo commented on the excessive damage that was done to his voicebox. After forty-five days on a ventilator, intubated several times by student doctors who obviously missed that lecture on the proper technique of not rushing the process and caring whether or not they are hurting the patient. Something is definitely wrong with the teaching facility if you have to worry about the outcome of your quality of life after life-saving procedures.


The Attending Physician at WMC, absent during the weekends, defended the students without consideration for Yuri’s well-being during his critical care in the ICU is deeply concerning to me. As a nation, our country takes pride in the care provided in hospitals. The medical profession in the U.S. is one of the best in the world. New procedures, new drugs, new techniques save lives, yet in recent years, the training of good doctors is left to their own volition and during some scathingly dire moments looked to be remanded to the TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or a dorm room party on the weekends.


Yuri and I are also very cautious whenever we hear a promotion of a new product, or new technology just coming out. Whenever such a product comes out, we read about the company testing it to the max, and if when it inevitably shows harm, no matter how small the number may seem (1 in 1.8 million) in comparison to the population it serves, there’s no excuse for ignoring or dismissing the collateral damage as minor compared to the greater good. We believe in our civic duty to be good citizens, law-abiding, and serve our community in ways we can. We believe the government has a responsibility to care for its people. It’s the right thing to do.


Over the years, the government took it upon itself with consumer protections to protect people from the harm caused by new products. Our elected officials should take care of those who step up to the task of being good citizens– our veterans, the first responders, workers on the frontline of this pandemic as well as those who take this pandemic seriously as we do. We followed the protocol and got vaccinated. We believed it’s the right thing to do.


Yet so far, we’re going through this Unexpected Present for nine months without knowing what the future health repercussions will be. No one knows. We both are going through issues that never affected us before and continue researching the science and medical reports from all over the world. I feel I am doing the deep dive into the dark unforgiving waters for that Book of Knowledge for the answers we all so desperately need. While the vaccine is touted as safe, I don’t think it is for everyone. It wasn’t for us.


The company is responsible for the hurt caused by their product. That’s why there’s such a thing as consumer protection. The company must take responsibility, make adjustments, make amends, attend to the ones that have been hurt by their product. Their reputation depends on it. Yet it is financially surpassing their wildest dreams as Pfizer made $283 billion in profits.  It’s the government’s duty to oversee the company and its products instead of granting immunity. No one is above accountability. There needs to be better information for those who request it. Otherwise, the craziest rumors take over reality. Not a good thing. It’s downright wrong.


According to Daniel Alholm, lawyer and guest columnist in an Op-Ed for the Tennessean, “there’s a bill, H.R.3655 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) introduced in the House (June 2021). The four co-sponsors Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-6), Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29), Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large). Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act would provide crucial updates to the NVICP and streamline getting the COVID-19 vaccine added to the NVICP. I would encourage everyone to reach out to their Congressional representative and ask them to support this bipartisan supported bill.” It’s the right thing to do across the board.


We have been so fortunate to come across people who are supportive and helpful. Yesterday, we had good news that I attribute to the miracle worker, St. Nick who is also the patron saint of merchants, archers, thieves (repentant ones), brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, and children to whom secret gift-giving became his forte. There’s a lot of good work that I know can be done and it would be nice to find the love wrapped up in an unexpected present under the tree. Miracles do happen.

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