Monday, March 30, 2020

This All Feels so Familiar

The past few days of isolation have been an enlightening experience.  Much of my contact with the outside world had been intermittent. Many of us are probably spending a little too much time on social media, but it is one way that we cope and how we gather information.

One thing that I have noticed that is different about the many people that I follow on social media is how they are reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic. I am seeing some people who have a lot of experience dealing with severe health care conditions expressing genuine fear about this pandemic. These are people who I respect and who don’t panic for no reason. I am not sure why, but it shocks me to hear some of these people say, “I’m scared.” I guess it is not the words themselves but who it is coming from - people who have stared death in the face. It means something different coming from people with that kind of experience.

I must admit that I have been having many feeling of déjà vu as I hear physicians on news programs describe what they see in their hospitals and critical care units. Many sights that we experienced in our own experiences in the ICU. Although the circumstances are different - the language - the procedures - the drastic interventions are all too familiar. Sometimes it is just a good idea to turn off the TV.

For those who know what this is or seen it used - your perspective
on Covid-19 might be a little different than most.

What has also been surprising is comments from experienced doctors and nurses, how they are reacting to this crisis. I saw one physician post a picture of what it looks like to be intubated and imploring people to isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. I saw another physician express the horror of having to intubate a colleague who had contracted the virus. He went on to explain the profound effect of performing this procedure on someone he knew.

I find the impact that this is having on medical professionals surprising, but perhaps my perspective is a little jaded. I recall so many things that our medical team did and how they described many heinous procedures as if it was routine. We do this all the time was how we interpreted the message. In retrospect, I always felt that our very legitimate fears were dismissed. Now that I see practising physicians express many of the same feelings we had - I feel somewhat vindicated but I take very little solace in that vindication. Having been through it - I know what it’s like, and I know it’s hard. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Perhaps that is something we will learn in this whole ordeal. To respect the fragility of life and acknowledge our apprehension and even our fears. The next time a Doctor has to explain to parents why they have to intubate their child -  that they would look at it through a different lens. Also, that we as patients & caregivers will realize that those caring for us have many of the same fears that we do.

We were all there once, and we are in this together.

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