In a pandemic, it now seems safe to go back to your regular doctors
today at 6:06 am
Does anyone remember the good old days? It’s hard to believe, and it seems like it was years ago, but March was only five months ago. I remember getting off an airplane, from a vacation in Las Vegas, on March 6. Five days later the world as we knew it had changed. Only a few days after that, everything shut down….and I mean everything! Covid-19!
On March 26, I had a scheduled appointment with my Gastroenterologist. Her office is in a hospital and there was no way in Hell that I wanted to go there in the early days of a pandemic. I was getting ready to cancel when she beat me to it. She called to see if I was doing okay. When I told her I was fine, she said to skip the visit and follow up in a couple of months. Phew!
About a month later, I had a different issue and needed to see my primary physician. When I called to make an appointment, I was told unless it was an emergency, appointments were handled by phone or Zoom. We talked for a few minutes and they gave me a prescription sight unseen. That’s more than a little scary, but that was health care during the early days of Covid-19.
My stories weren’t unusual. We’ve heard many like that over the last few months. People were not only not going to doctor’s offices, but they were avoiding emergency rooms. People who had heart attack and stroke symptoms were staying home to avoid getting infected with the virus. That is very scary thinking and behavior, but almost understandable…almost.
But lately I’ve noticed a change. People are starting to get back to somewhat normal. We’re going to places now that were unthinkable in April or May. That includes doctor’s offices.
I first found this out in late June. I really needed to see the Gastro-doc. A phone call wouldn’t do. I set up an appointment and reluctantly headed to her office. When I got there, I was shocked to see I was the only one in her waiting room. SCORE!! She told me that they were only handling a few patients at a time. No double booking in a pandemic. My issue was handled quickly and I was out there fast. Better than normal times…much better. Yeah, I still went home and took a long hot shower just in case, but overall, it was pretty, pretty good!
Then came last week. For the last couple of years I’ve had a problem with my left shoulder. Rotator Cuff! My shoulder doctor says it’s either surgery or cortisone shots. Two times I’ve opted for the shots. They worked great. No pain for about six months until the medication wears off. That happened last weekend and this time the pain was intense.
Last Monday, I called their office expecting the next opening to be weeks away. Weeks became days as the next opening was Wednesday…and I could pick my time. Hmmmm….one o’clock works for me!
I show up at 12:45 and it’s me and one other person in the waiting room. Five minutes later, I’m in the examination room with an aide. We make a little small talk, she checks my record, then my shoulder and says the doctor will be right in to see me….and he was! Same story as with the aide…a little chat, and a little check of my shoulder.
“So do you want another shot or should we schedule the surgery?”
Hmmm….surgery, recovery, and physical therapy during a pandemic? I don’t think so. It’s shot time!
Five minutes later, the injection was done and I was on my way home. The time 1:05 pm!
I ran into the doctor’s aide while leaving and asked her about all of this:
“You picked a good time to get this done. People are starting to come back to see their doctors, but not in big numbers. As you see, it’s easy to get in and out quick. If you have to see other doctors, now is a good time.”
And if you’re neurotic about cleanliness these days, and who isn’t now, you should check out the procedures these offices are doing. Disinfecting everything constantly. Every time you leave your seat, someone is right behind you wiping it down. Overkill? Maybe, but it is comforting to see this.
So if you’ve been thinking it’s time to visit a health professional, you can feel confident about going now. I just hope that passing this tidbit on doesn’t turn out to bite me in the butt. I have an appointment with my cardiologist on Thursday. Can you guys wait to see him until at least Friday? Thanks in advance.
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