Self Care During the Pandemic

People are confused when clinics don’t want to see them for their medical problems. All their lives they have been told to get their symptoms evaluated before they turn more serious. Now, with the raging pandemic, the message is the opposite: If you have Covid and feel you are getting sicker, we will talk to you on the phone or via telemedicine, but we don’t want you in our building. If you have milder symptoms that might be Covid, stay home, take care of yourself and good luck. You can’t even get past the receptionist, as the saying goes.

I am always a little bemused when people act either helpless or overly treatment fixated with common colds, for example. Body aches, fever, congestion and cough require no treatment as a rule. That’s a little bit like trying to stop the rain. It is what it is and it will pass. Pharmaceutical companies offer branded products with false claims that the disease process can be altered if you pick the right remedy.

Many people lack the ability to gage how sick they are. Under normal circumstances we, as medical providers, see our role as providing triage and reassurance for those who worry. Now, without the in-person dimension, our ability to do so is hampered. But in this state of emergency, doing what we are used to doing would endanger ourselves, our staff and other patients inside our clinics.

We are in a strange survival mode most of us never anticipated to find ourselves in. And just when we thought the vaccines would open the door to life as it used to be, the new virus variants and the rapidly fading immunity markers are bringing us back to the state of uncertainty we were in 18 months ago.

Life is perilous, even frail, but the odds are on our side. The vast majority of people who contract Covid will do just fine. It’s just that in our culture, every disease is expected to have a cure, a treatment. This pandemic reminds us that most viruses don’t have a treatment. Only if you are desperately ill do we have something – fairly generic – to offer you, such as respirators, steroids or drug cocktails.

I wish more people had a wise old grandmother to ask for advice when they are sick. I do the best I can to play that role to my flock of patients. Common sense is what we need right now.

1 Response to “Self Care During the Pandemic”

  1. 1 marilyn Findlay August 22, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Your self-care is exactly how I feel. I remember seeing you once a year, up would go my blood pressure, hoping you wouldn’t find anything wrong with me. I am 88 now and the old bones and joints show me no mercy. Grin and bear it, Old age is what it is. No cure, your smile was the fix. Keep up the good word and the good write-ups
    . I follow every one of them.

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.



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