My Wife Has Surgery, I’m Not Wearing a Mask. What Do I Do?

A reader writes: 


Hello, Allan.


I have appreciated your writings for years and particularly your writing about masks. I have your books, Face Masks Hurt Kids and Face Masks in One Lesson.


A friend of mine who lives in Colorado (a never masker) is married to a woman who cooperates…She will be undergoing eye surgery next week. My friend and his wife made the trip to the eye specialist this past week for the preliminary exam. He used (I think) the language I “stole” from you, “What accommodation do you make for people who are unable to wear a mask safely?” Unfortunately, he also mentioned this to the doctor who sent it “up the chain.”


My friend has since received an email from the bureaucrat at the hospital’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. In this email, she makes the most audacious requests for information to determine whether they can make the accommodation. (Again, he’s already been there once – and he and his wife were the only ones there with their faces hanging out. The Center did have someone “greet” them and escort them everywhere they went. This person explained that he needed to be there because being mask-less caused the other patients to become “anxious”.)


My friend now is worried that he will be unable to stay with his wife while she undergoes this surgery or even wait for her inside – unless he completes this form giving away so much private information it makes your eyes water. One of the requests is a note from his doctor explaining his “disability”. My friend doesn’t have a doctor…


Any quick thoughts on this, Allan? Any place in your Face Masks in One Lesson that you can point me to to review so I can try to help my friend navigate this? His wife says she will wear one, but he refuses. I did say to him that he may just have to wait outside or elsewhere while his wife has her surgery if the people at the hospital refuse to accommodate him again.


Thank you, Allan.



Thank you so much for this note, dear reader. And thank you so much for your wonderful work. My answer to your friend is a simple one: just go. 


As you mention, Face Masks in One Lesson explains how to get through almost any door unmasked. The approach is, just as you describe — cite an exemption and asks for accommodation. This is a useful “training wheels” approach when you are not sure what exactly to do. The more important approach is to ultimately make normal life happen without an exemption. That is where we each need to get to in our own lives in order to again know freedom in our own lives. 


Your friend should go there with his wife, and to do so with the faith that he will not be wearing the mask and, furthermore, with the certainty that he is right for doing that. He should expect to be welcomed as anyone else and treated as anyone else. If handed a mask, he can surely accept it (and place it in his pocket), if told to mask he can politely and authoritatively  say, “I do not do that,” or “I will not be doing that.” If told to leave, he can say, “I will need to stay here with my wife.” He owes nothing else to anyone there. He owes his wife an explanation beforehand that he will be by her side and that he will not wear a mask — two wants that may be in conflict in this era. 


The world would be much nicer if these things could always be worked out beforehand. My experience with hospitals at present is two 1.) the mask tyranny is being mothballed there and being stored as the new normal, ready to be re-rolled out for the rest of society at the proper time, and 2.) so few gatekeepers at hospitals are enforcing what the paperpushers are saying publicly must be enforced. 


That has been my experience. That has been the experience of others. My best advice for your friend is that he behave like it were 2019, and if he ends up in an experience in which he is going to be turned away, to navigate that to the best of his ability, determined not to be turned away. 


If this is the approach he takes, he must ask for forgiveness, not for permission. And after asking for forgiveness he must be determined to stay with his wife and not be deterred. If the police are called, the situation changes. I do not believe the police will be called on a CALM confident man. 


I here highlight the word “calm.” You know very well what calm confidence looks like from a man. It is very reassuring. And you also know, in contrast, what both calm weakness or emotional confidence look like from a man. They are not reassuring. From your email, it sounds like your friend is properly tempered and well experienced to just walk in like a free man and it sounds like his relationship with his wife is solid enough to handle her man standing his ground in calm, confident authority as he dutifully escorts her and stays by her bedside. 


Please let me know how it goes. 



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