Today is Day 7 of “Sheltering in Place” for Bay Area residents. It’s strange how quickly life can change in a week. It seems that when I finally have a few days off, I can’t hang out with friends in person due to COVID-19. I do miss going to OTF and Pure Barre. I think it’s crazy that grocery store shelves are empty. And still don’t understand the need for so much TP. Some positives: #socialdistancing via google hangout with some of my closest high school friends last night. No traffic. Air pollution is apparently a lot less right now; some optimism for climate change? Shows how humans can change behavior (forced or not) to help our environment. Seeing the (international) medical community band together- via things like FB groups of all things- to share thoughts, information and educate each other on how to beat this dumb virus.
I’ve spent the past week at home, learning as much as I can about COVID-19 and SARS-COV-2 via journal articles, virtual grand rounds and university sponsored protocols. At our hospital, we’ve separated all the COVID-19 patients/PUI into a separate ward, and our group decided that we will designated “COVID-19 team rounders.” I start on one of the COVID-19 teams tomorrow. I’m slightly apprehensive but mostly excited to get to work and to help my patients. I feel like there has been a lot of distrust in the healthcare/medicine industry. Where I live and work, every diagnostic test, evaluation, treatment I order is questioned by either the patient, family member, or other health care team members (therapist, nurse, CNA, nutritionist). Everyone is Dr. Google. Everyone has an opinion. Perhaps with this pandemic, we (your physicians and health care providers) will prove to you that we are here to help, we have sacrificed and will continue to sacrifice our time and energy to do everything in our power to get you and your loved ones better. Medicine is perhaps the rarest field in which “patient satisfaction/customer service” is promoted by some hospital administration as very important but perhaps the only establishment in which we do not “have the right to refuse service.” We will continue to care for you regardless of your age, gender, orientation, ethnicity; we will do our best to help you even if you are an asshole. I hope that at the end of all of this, patients will thank their doctors, especially their primary care doctors (PCPs) who are on the frontlines. It is not needed or expected, but I can’t tell you how much a simple thank you from a patient or family member has made my day/week/month.
Things I hope will change in the next days/weeks: 1. Increased testing for COVID-19. Can you believe it is still taking 2-5 days to get test results and we still cannot test everyone? 2. #GetmePPE! More PPE for health care workers. We cannot take care of your sick family members to the best of our ability if we fall sick ourselves from inadequate PPE. 3. People take social distancing seriously #stayathome. This is the only way to #flattenthecurve and to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. I will be emotionally scarred for life if we run out of resources and will have to make horrible decisions about who gets treatment or not. If we flatten the curve now, we can avoid being like Italy.
Final thoughts from sumairaZ.com: