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Day 21

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three weeks since the WHO declared COVID a pandemic… I was in the office seeing patients all day and didn’t actually hear about it until I’d resurfaced, eaten dinner, and finally started to catch up with the rest of the world. Only three weeks (which have felt like three years) later, I’m seeing patients mostly from home and have been face-to-face with no one except Jan. None of this is news, or really even noteworthy, but in the spirit of this blog also being a mini-journal, I’m noting the stark difference.

First, I think we need some good news!
1. It is April! March 2020 will go down in history as the LONGEST month ever, but it’s over. The sun was shining today and I got in a run.
2. I filed my taxes! (Or rather, I organized everything, filled out my spreadsheet, confirmed all the numbers added up and sent it to my accountant). Way back in February when things were simpler, I had planned a post all about this- why I use an accountant, what I’ve learned, and how I organize my financial in’s and out’s through the year. This now seems kind of silly and irrelevant, but maybe I should continue some non-COVID content? Thoughts welcome.
2a. Other ideas: easy pantry meals we’ve been making, a “day in the life” blog (vlog??) COVID-edition,
3. I have had some incredibly kind phone calls from both friends and patients just checking on me. They have even offered to pick up groceries! I’ve really been touched by this- the same way I feel every night when I hear people cheering for their front line workers. We’ve definitely been out on the patio with the cowbells to say thank you.
4. My sister stepped up to help the spin studio she teaches at figure out a way to work through COVID. They have managed to rent their bikes out and host virtual classes- and this is all while she’s been dealing with her full time job in the (insanely busy) financial sector. Now she’s going to be featured on CBC! I’ll update the link when the segment airs.
5. In the spirit of supporting local businesses, we bought 6 pints of Rain or Shine ice cream and it was delivered today! My freezer is full and I’m anticipating this will get me through at least until the end of this week :- ). We also had a Rain or Shine ice cream cart at our wedding, so the honey lavender flavour will always feel a little extra special.
6. The BA Test Kitchen folks are producing content from their home kitchens and I am here for it! My parents are great, but if I couldn’t have them I would like to be adopted by Carla.
7. I cut Jan’s hair! No ears were harmed and it looks ok! He misses Linda, his usual hairdresser, who does a much better job and also gives him a fancy coffee :- ).

My struggles:
I debated about this because my struggles are relatively small. But they are real so here is the list:
1. After that 6 AM grocery store trip I took almost three weeks ago, I haven’t gone back. I found it SO anxiety-provoking to see empty shelves that the desire to go shopping hasn’t overcome that feeling. Normally I love grocery shopping (I find it weirdly relaxing) but we’ve been getting by with our freezer stash, increasing our Goodfood meals, and ordering a little more. Don’t worry, Mom + Rudi, I promise we’re still eating fruits and veg.
2. I don’t really know what my obligation to society is. I might devote a whole post to this at some point, but we’ll see. In short, there is a lot that goes into training a doctor. The government puts in money, people put in time and effort, and patients often allow trainees to practice (think of how many people let me take their blood pressure and then had my supervisor repeat it!). Balance that with the fact that I’m still a regular human, with opinions about how and where I want to work. Now, put it in the context of a pandemic. In BC, the wheels are already in motion to redeploy doctors to areas where they are needed. This is still on a voluntary basis, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have not volunteered. Of course I’ve continued to care for my usual patients, but I definitely haven’t raised my hand to be in the ER or urgent care etc. I feel quite guilty about this. I would like to remind myself that there is value in outpatient medicine and keeping people out of the ER can be as valuable as fixing the people in it!
3. Information is changing quickly and can be hard to stay on top of. I miss the days of just feeling confident about advice I’m giving. I miss seeing patients in person and being able to examine them. I am tired of screens. I would like to be more solutions-driven.

And finally (this is a long post!)- goals for the month. March was a cluster#$*& and I am very much looking forward to a reset.
1. Get back to reading– my plan is to try 15 mins in the AM since I’m not taking the bus to work anymore (my usual reading routine).
2. Keep checking in with friends, now and post-COVID. I’d like to have this much FaceTime in my life always!
3. Keep exercising at least 4d/week. For sanity if not for fitness! And ok, maybe also because those massive cookies have to go somewhere.

How are you doing?

This post is part of a series on my experience providing care as a family doctor in Vancouver through the 2020 COVID Pandemic. You can read the entire seriesย here.

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