An Aura of Uncertainty

We are living in some very, very, VERY strange times.

I'm not going to sit here and beat a dead horse by talking in length about COVID-19, the importance of hand-washing, avoiding sick people and social distancing. You all already know all of that, and if you for whatever reason STILL don't, here's the link to the CDC website. What I will do is spend some time talking about my feelings about it and how it has impacted my life and the lives of many others that I know. Believe me, I would rather talk about other things but with this virus now taking over our everyday lives, it's tough to find other things to discuss that haven't been directly impacted by it.

First off, it's stunning to see just how fast the virus has moved across the world even with the preventive measures that many countries took. In just a little over two months, the virus went from being virtually unknown to being the cause of a downright pandemic. In just a matter of weeks, many of us in the U.S. went from casting away the virus as an afterthought to shutting down schools, businesses, and practicing social distancing. The rest of the NBA season and the March Madness tournament were cancelled. Beaches and restaurants closed down. Conferences (pour one out for AMEC), retreats, concerts, vacations and weddings across the country were either canceled or postponed. Match Day celebrations were negatively impacted. College students were thrown in limbo in the midst of their spring breaks and were ultimately sent home to complete online courses. Grocery stores were raided. Hospitals became overburdened with sick patients and started running out of personal protective equipment. COVID-19 testing kits were delivered in a disproportionate manner across the country. The stock market is currently going through extreme turmoil unlike anything we've ever seen in modern history. The list goes on and on and on. It literally feels like we are in one of those wild pandemic movies. It would all be eerily entertaining if it didn't feel so real and we weren't living in it day by freakin' day.

I personally was one of those who initially thought that the virus was being blown way out of proportion and that people were completely overreacting to it. Over a short period of time though, as we began to obtain more data about the disease, I started to fully understand that such drastic measures were being taken to protect the vulnerable populations that would be severely impacted by the disease and that my privilege of being young and healthy initially clouded my judgment. However, I did find it interesting how the media began to hype the virus up and how social media exponentially sensationalized it. Before we knew it, it was the only thing that people were talking about. By the grace of God, I managed to fly out of Los Angeles a couple of days before California declared a state of emergency and flew out from my vacation in Puerto Rico a day before they declared a state of emergency and put the island on lockdown.

Now that I'm back in North Carolina, it looks like I won't be leaving from here for the foreseeable future, especially since I'm considered essential staff at the hospital. I just feel so bad for all of the adult providers at the hospitals across the country, especially the emergency medicine providers. They have been the hardest hit during this pandemic and are working endless shifts to provide as much quality care as they can for their communities. Please pray for them. Pediatricians have been severely impacted as well, with many of us having to wildly adjust our schedules to deal with the pandemic and the attending physicians have been working even harder than usual to help with screening out COVID-19 patients. It's all just so crazy man.

Throughout these unpredictable times, I've been trying to keep an upbeat attitude and proceed with my usual daily routines. However, I've found myself becoming increasingly frustrated, anxious and angry about the whole situation and the government's response to it. It didn't help that I was checking for updates on an hourly basis, sometimes even more frequently than that. While my fiancee and I were in Puerto Rico, we were constantly getting updates from the media and our emails. We tried our best to enjoy this tropical vacation that we had been planning for months and had financed near the end of last year, but we also felt a twinge of nervousness that continued to creep up within us as we neared the end of our vacation. I eventually had to force myself to stop checking updates at such a frequent pace for my own sanity. Ultimately, even though the pandemic was disrupting our peace of mind, I'm very grateful that we were able to still go on our trip. There have been a countless amount of people who have had to cancel enjoyable experiences such as vacations and weddings because of this situation and my heart goes out to all of them. My PGY-1 annual class retreat was supposed to happen this weekend but it got canceled and I just feel so bad for my co-residents who have been working on tough rotations this month who were looking forward to relaxing at the retreat. ๐Ÿ˜”

I also feel sooo bad for all the MS4s who just went through Match Week and could not celebrate their achievement in the traditional ways. They all had to learn where they matched at home via email but many of them were still able to celebrate with loved ones. It just sucks that they were robbed of the experience of being around their classmates on Match Day and that they will be robbed of the opportunity of spending their free time before graduation doing the enjoyable things that they have been planning to do for a long time, such as traveling to various destinations across the country and the world. I even have some friends who won't be able to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to the congregation restrictions in place because of the pandemic. I sincerely hope that they are all doing okay in the midst of these circumstances. I also really hope that these social distancing measures can be lifted sooner rather than later, although there's no telling how long we'll be in a state of emergency across the country. And with the way things are looking right now, we'll most likely be in one for a while. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

But even with ALL of that said, I have faith that we'll get through these tough times and that we'll be made stronger because of them. Gotta have faith to keep hope alive. We just need to continue taking things one day at a time and as hard as it may be, we need to keep pressing on with life.

We got it y'all. We got it. โœŠ๐ŸปโœŠ๐ŸผโœŠ๐ŸฝโœŠ๐ŸพโœŠ๐Ÿฟ

โ€œI will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.โ€ – Og Mandino

– Black Man, M.D.

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