Lessons Learned From COVID-19

With many states on “safer-at-home” restrictions and social distancing of at least 6 feet, the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked much of our country as well as the world.

I have intentionally refrained from commenting because I’ve wanted to see how everything was going to play out. I’ve also been reflecting on what we can potentially learn from this once in a lifetime (I hope!) disruption to our daily lives.

Here’s a few lessons I’ve come to appreciate:

  1. Providence reigns. We aren’t in as much control as we think we are. As much as I want and try to control my daily schedule, I can’t control everything and in reality, have very little control over much.
  2. In times of crisis, we witness both the best and the worst of humanity. I love the stories of people checking in on their senior neighbors, sharing birthday parties via video chat, and connecting or re-connecting with their kids during “stay-at-home” school. I am saddened by the people hoarding toilet paper, canned soup, and pasta boxes.
  3. Our medical professionals and first responders deserve praise. These people are dedicated to putting themselves in harms way. They are on the frontlines of treating the sickest and most ill. They deal with life and death on a regular basis. They are smart, innovative, creative, and resourceful people who want the best for their communities. They are getting recognized for their commitment to service and my hope is that when this time passes, that people remember all that they do to save lives.
  4. Technology wins and loses. As a provider of Telehealth and online options for my patients and clients, I’ve been a big fan of technology’s convenience for years. Now, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and seeing how easy it is to communicate for both business and social connections. This is a huge win! The loss comes when people spend more time behind their screen than connecting with their family. Screentime can be a great babysitter and a huge excuse for procrastination. This is a huge loss!
  5. Rural communities have been social distancing for years! For all the jokes about the “fly-over” states, these rural communities are much less impacted by COVID-19 because they naturally social distance by living on farms and on acres of land. They can’t reach out and touch their neighbor like those in the city and the suburbs. When I look at the map of the United States, the most impacted areas are big cities with large apartment complexes, mass public transit, and high density populations. This is not a knock on big city vs. rural living, it’s just a fact that when a major outbreak of a communicable disease occurs, areas with more people are going to be affected more than areas with less people.
  6. Handwashing will be taken more serious from now on. As a healthcare provider, I’ve been instructed in and tested on how to wash my hands. That’s right, folks. When I worked for the hospital, if the Joint Commission was on-site and inspecting healthcare workers, they could penalize the hospital if they witnessed hospital employees not washing their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds AND not washing fingers, thumbs, and backs of hands. Correct handwashing reduces the spread of germs and decreases risk of infections. That’s why surgeons have always had to “scrub in” before performing surgery.
  7. Social distancing will be the new “normal” for a while. Even when we are all able to return to work and resume other activities, people will get the “stink eye” when they cough, sneeze, blow their nose, sniffle, or touch their face. If you do ANY of these things and don’t wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer IMMEDIATELY, you will get “THE LOOK” of utter disgust and fear will consume the eyes of all of the people around you. You will become known as “THE ONE” who is gross, inconsiderate, and unconcerned about others. Don’t be that person!
  8. People will return to their regular activities. We are a resilient people. We are created to be social and connect with people. As the healthcare community finds and creates solutions to solving this pandemic, we will be less fearful of leaving our home. We will return to work, school, playgrounds, sporting events, theatres, restaurants, and more. It will me like Whoville gathering together in hope and support for each other. My heart goes out to those who have been directly affected and impacted by COVID-19. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish everyone who has taken the time to read this that they are well and staying healthy.

 


To Your Best Health,
Dr. Jeanette

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