Holy Moly all y’all,
We just hit over a hundred thousand Covid cases in Georgia as we rapidly close in on a three million total for the country. I’m so incredibly angry and anxious today, all at the same time. Like a lot of you, the fatigue of all this has really been kicking in for me. If we were all running a marathon together, no matter how well or ill prepared we were for the race, at least we would know that with each mile marker, we were THAT much closer to a finish line, whether we were running, walking or even crawling on all fours. There’s no such markers on this journey, and no clear definition yet of an “end” to this race. A distressing number of you, my patients, have taken ill and had positive tests in the last week. This virus and the spectrum of illnesses caused by it are now embedded into the fabric of our practice family.
It’s hard not to feel panicky about this moment. Our angst is heightened by those amongst us who do not fully comprehend the scope of the threat facing all of us. If any of us were amongst a group of people in a room that had caught fire, we might reasonable expect some people to bolt for the exits, while others applied themselves to stamping out the fire. Some individuals might simply become shocked into brief immobility. But it would be disorienting to see anyone going about their business as if the room were not on fire. The wholly disagreeable moment we all find ourselves in is that we are together in a burning room, and some people are going about their business as if they JUST CAN’T SEE THE FLAMES.
As a dyed in the wool worrier, I find the local and national case numbers alarming enough. But what ticked me off today was being informed by the lab we use that I’m no longer able to test for the virus in nasal samples. We used our last tests on Monday and by the end of the day were referring patients out for testing. I was told by our representative at the lab that they have test kits and personnel, but are now running out of reagents to process the tests. These are the chemical solutions necessary for processing the tests themselves. Like having a washing machine and detergent but the water has been cut off. For decades we have been the most prosperous nation this planet has ever seen. And now we have a pandemic (that MANY saw coming and have predicted for years) and we can’t test everyone who is getting sick. Forget even assessing how much this virus has penetrated our population in asymptomatic carriers. We can’t even test all the sick people. But we can build a wall to keep out all the people that fuel our economy by taking all the jobs that no one else wants. Unbelievable.
One of you asked me on Monday how I was doing, whether I felt like I was going forwards or backwards. I answered, “both. I guess I’m spinning in circles actually.” I amused myself at the thought that I might be like a whirling dervish, pivoting on one foot while spinning in circles in the hopes of achieving some ecstatic revery in communion with God; the reality is that I’m more like a car spinning it’s tires in the mud. However, in a lovely moment of synchronicity, I arrived home that evening to find a thank you note for an appropriately distanced meal we hosted the previous week. The note quoted the poet Mary Oliver. I’m going to leave you with her ninth poem about her dog Percy. As the King of Over-thinkers, I leave you with the divine wisdom to be found in our canine companions about moving forward:
Your friend is coming I say to Percy, and name a name,he runs to the door, his wide mouth in its laugh-shape, and waves, since he has one, his tail. Emerson, I am trying to live as you said we must, the examined life. But there are days I wish there was less in my head to examine not to speak of the busy heart. How would it be to be Percy, I wonder, not thinking, not weighing anything, just running forward.
Remember the dogs, and be at peace, Dr. Bob
P. S. We continue to be able to test for antibodies in the blood that hopefully will help us know if a previous illness has been Covid-19. These antibodies can be found ias early as two weeks after onset of symptoms. So please, continue to call us first. We still want to help you make the best choices for yourself. When we can’t provide exactly what you need at the moment we will still try to guide you to where and what you need. Call us.
P.P.S Though we are keeping normal hours, our efforts at infection control mean there are many moments when we are each too tied up to answer the phone. Do leave a message so we know who to call back.
P.P.P.S. Infection control is paramount. Please do not just drop in to face our locked door. We are doing EVERYTHING by appointment so that coming in to see us can be as risk-free a proposition as possible. Call ahead.
P.P.P.P.S. Our automated system will remind you of your upcoming appointment, whether its in person or over the phone. If you remember that it was a phone appointment, it still is. Stay home, save a life. Just don’t over think it. ; )-