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This Is How Your Patients Feel

If you're like me, there is nothing that has been on your mind more than coronavirus. It seeped into virtually all aspects of our lives, seemingly overnight. Our jobs have changed, our personal lives have changed, the world has changed — in some ways irrevocably.

Do you mark the time before and after the virus? My mother and I do. It's a stark divide. "Do you remember the that little shop we used to go to?" she muses. "You know — before the virus?” I grieve for the before. I fear what the after could bring.

I am overwhelmed by an invisible virus that is entirely out of my control. I find myself becoming easily frustrated by things that once felt trivial — hearing my dog bark again at the people walking past our window or my husband's innocent whistling as he answers his work emails.

There are moments in which I can tune it out and, for a moment, feel normal again. I get wrapped up in a great song or a video chat with my friends. It almost feels like they're in the room. Then, the video call stutters. Or, while walking, I notice children riding their bikes down the street… wearing masks. I am reminded that things are not normal and my friends and family feel even further away.

Whenever I go through something hard, I try to find a lesson to give the experience purpose or meaning. As I walk around my neighborhood block for what's probably the tenth time today, I realize: this might be how our patients and their families feel.