Counting from March 11 as the first day of the COVID-19 Pandemic, today is day 5. I’m hoping to document here a little bit of what it feels like to be a family doctor in British Columbia. I’m happy to try and answer any questions along the way. I also absolutely advocate taking a lot of non-virus-focused time each day! I’ll try to have some of that content, too. (Check out travel, wellness or food stories!)
First things first I’ve changed my tune a bit about how I think we need to be handling this on a societal level. On Day 1, I suggested we take a moderate approach. However, seeing stories from Italy and Spain has quickly changed how I (and I think many of my colleagues) feel… I think the tone of Friday’s post already reflects that. As of today I have been telling people to stay home as much as possible. I know it would be nice to get a few extra groceries, see your close friends, or go to the gym, but don’t. Please.
I usually take the bus to work, but as of today I’m on the bike until further notice. We pumped up the tires this morning and my lights are all charged and ready to go.
I did my first ever telehealth visits today. We are offering all of our patients this option for anything that doesn’t need an immediate physical exam. It worked pretty well. The province expanded our billing codes so that we can reasonably take on the costs of implementing the online infrastructure, and also safely deliver care. Jan helped us work on our clinic’s website.
Provincially, BC has stepped up hospital response levels. They have taken medical students out indefinitely and told residents to prepare to move to acute-care settings. Retired and otherwise non-registered physicians are being immediately re-registered. All physicians’ insurance has been expanded to let us work in a wider variety of settings (ie emergency and acute care). This is meant to make us more prepared and I am choosing to see it as fortifying rather than frightening.
I felt pretty nervous through the day today. We don’t have many masks, so we are trying not to use them unless necessary. The province is working on getting additional supplies to us, but for now they are being diverted to the emergency rooms. One patient told me they had a runny nose and I might have visibly recoiled a bit. I took a break from my computer/emails/EMR and cleaned the house in the early evening. The house wasn’t really dirty but I needed to get my beans out. I’m now calling it “Corona level clean”. I’m feeling a lot better and hope to maintain this headspace.
News-wise, BC has 103 cases (30 new, 5 recovered, 4 died) and Canada has 440 cases (60 new). Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the nation this morning. He closed Canada’s borders to all non-Canadian citizens, with a few exceptions- most notably that our border with the US remains open. BC has asked businesses and official groups to limit gatherings to less than 50 people (I think this is lenient).
I have more ideas for staying engaged at home! If you’ve got kids:
– Play with dominoes (you could be the next youtube sensation)
– Build a fort
– Have a concert (make a kleenex-box guitar, first!)
– Do a baking project
And, if you haven’t got kids, consider any of these:
– Virtual book club/dinner party with your besties- just use Skype or FaceTime
– Organize your pantry/freezer/closet/that one random junk drawer you know you have
– Read a book!
– Do any at-home exercise, like yoga, HIIT, or cycling on the trainer if you have one
– Consider your own art projects- painting? Sketching? Knitting!
And, of course, no judgement if you want to try the kid activities (I see you, budding guitarists!)
Overall, I remain worried but optimistic. If returning travellers isolate, if we practice good social distancing, if we work together as a nation I think we still stand a chance. Send questions if you have ’em! I’m on Instagram, too.