Ryan McMahon, executive of Syracuse-Onondaga County, NY, cannot drive.
He can’t send an email. At the age of 40, he can’t even shovel the driveway.
McMahon, who has been making a constant and gentle voice for pandemics for nearly a year, has begun in central New York Diplopia When he woke up on February 6th.
A series of tests and several expert follow-up visits at the hospital night eliminated the most terrifying possibilities such as stroke and brain tumors.
The main candidate at this point: pandemic stress.
“I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s related to a pandemic,” McMahon said. “Looking at what this pandemic has brought to the general public and the community … the human side of things … it’s hard to keep an eye on. Turn it off. To be honest, you can’t turn it off.”
Almost a year after Covid-19, he said, the front row seats of county executives over the loss, fear, and frustration of others caught up with him.
McMahon Syracuse.com The situation is serious, even while he is joking. His left eye nerve is damaged and so far a team of doctors has not been able to determine the cause. There is no treatment plan at this time.
He said he thought about keeping the crisis private for a moment. But how can he do it? People will see him close his eyes at the meeting. He said they would see him squint and stumble. They will hear that he is not driving himself. Of course, they will wonder. They will reach their own conclusions.
McMahon was the voice of reason, a delivery system for joint despair when the death toll surged and hope when the vaccine came online. He promised to be transparent about the pandemic reaction. He also had to be transparent about the fallout of his life, he said.
“We are now a big family and they share this kind of information,” McMahon said.
Still, his briefing reminds people that he is still struggling. I see two Unlooneys, he pointed out in a recent briefing referring to the top aide. He joked and went on.
In retrospect, he said McMahon was looking at where everything started to get worse. For him, deploying the vaccine is as stressful as the initial shutdown at the beginning of the pandemic, he said.
McMahon has no control over supply and little control over distribution. And he knows that thousands of people want a vaccine more than they can get it. They call him and leave a message.
Every time a new slot opens, his office is flooded with calls from people who didn’t put it in. There are thousands of them. A person desperate for a shot. Some are angry and others are worried. Some people are frustrated. McMahon has no power to help them.
“It’s as rewarding as the vaccination process, but it was the most stressful. You have a lot of people who want it and there’s no way to get it to everyone. And it’s from the masses. It causes reactions or extreme frustration and despair, “McMahon said. “We feel it. We are the face of this.”
Around the time the vaccine was rolled out, McMahon began to have back cramps. He couldn’t sleep. He usually sleeps for 5 hours. He said it was much less.
When he was at home at night, he often called state and federal authorities to try to get better. Access to vaccines..
He was sick when he went to work on February 5th.
It was one of the last hours he drove. The sun shimmered from the snow and I squinted as I drove South Salina Street. After that, he said his eyesight was strange. I thought he couldn’t shake the glare.
He told himself that he had just run away. He thought his eyes would be normal when he woke up that he would sleep. He didn’t tell anyone his feelings.
But when he woke up, he didn’t just see the anxious glare. He saw a double. He knew his brother Tommy had a migraine. Maybe this was it, McMahon thought. He called him. The brothers waited a bit to see if it turned into a headache or if his eyesight cleared up. Neither happened.
McMahon spoke to his wife, Caitlin, when he returned from his errand on Saturday morning. She took him to meet her sister-in-law, a nurse practitioner.
She measured his blood pressure. Blood pressure was recorded at 160 over 120.
McMahon had never seen his blood pressure near that height. He said he had never had a serious health problem.
McMahon called the doctor and told him to go to Cruz Hospital immediately. The doctor was worried that he might have had a stroke.
Upon getting there, McMahon lived his own version of the story he had heard many times. He was alone in the hospital. He was ill. And he was scared.
He had CT scans, MRIs, and spinal punctures.
“I’m scared of the needles dying, and I was a weekend pincushion,” McMahon said with a laugh.
Tests have shown that the left eye has nerve damage that makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to move the eye. However, there were no signs of what caused it. That’s why doctors focus on stress as a reason.
McMahon has glasses that help focus on everything, but he causes headaches when he wears them for a long time. Sometimes he reads with one eye. His phone is easier to see than other screens, so he was able to do some things on it.
But most of the time he has to rely on others to do what he can’t do. Communication director Justin Sayles has become the driver. McMahon replied because he liked most of the emails that arrived in the “county administration” inbox. Now his staff is doing so too.
He had previously planned to polish the county state address, but it must be postponed.
His eyesight has improved a little. He said he was okay to walk down the street. But he can’t manage the forest he was walking to find peace. The ground is too uneven as he sees now.
McMahon was forced to work at a slower pace. If he reads too much, he has to lie down until the headache subsides.
He has more time to play with 4-year-old Andrew. And I have more time to sit on the couch and watch the show with my older kids Maddy and Jack once or twice.
But it’s the on-center vaccination clinic that calms him down and reminds him that this is all worth it.
Have someone walk with you in a few minutes that day. Then he sees. He reminds himself what this is.
The flow of people who have lived in horror and isolation for months is lined up as if waiting for a concert.
Instead, nurses who have spent months tracking the route of Covid-19 infection will distribute the solution.
According to McMahon, they are both smiling.
For now, he sees it twice.
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