Uncertainty: this is a difficult time because we are all dealing with a lot of uncertainty—the virus, will we get Covid? Will it be mild? Economy—what will happen to our income, our job, our 401K, our investments? USA—is borrowing all this money going to crush us long term? Is there an alternative?
Opening up/keeping closed? What will happen as cities and states, including LA, begin to open.
Uncertainty makes us tense, makes us scared, but is also a stimulus for creativity—how can we live our lives, enjoy our living, despite the circumstances?
The New Normal: we all want to go back to the old normal. We appreciate it more than ever. But what is going to happen over the next couple of weeks/months. The New Normal is going to include a lot more masked time, so get some comfortable, well-fitting masks. The New Normal is going to involve a lot of handwashing and a lot less face touching, so train yourselves to do these behaviors (or not do them). The New Normal is a six-foot conversation, not a 24 inch conversation. It is a walk in the street, alternating with the sidewalk, to let people pass. It is exercising at home, not the gym. When the gym opens—the outside will be safest, and the room is going to be less crowded and the equipment more spread out than before. When restaurants open, there will be more takeout, more eating café style on the sidewalk, and tables farther apart.
My practice: I am looking at some “hybrid” models for physicals and new consults. Since you are existing patients, let me focus on Physicals. Physicals have traditionally involved a check in with my assistant (10 minutes), 30 minutes or so with me, including a lab draw, and perhaps an EKG or a spirometry with the assistant if appropriate. Hybrid physicals will be 10 minutes on the telephone with the assistant a day before your visit, or two days. Perhaps ten minutes on video chat with me, in advance, focusing on your concerns, medication refills, etc.
Then when you arrive, vitals, weight/height with the assistant (two minutes), a five-eight minute physical exam with me, perhaps drawing your blood (although that could be done at lab prior) too and five more minutes finalizing a plan based upon the above.
Sounds a little more complicated, but it would reduce your time in the office, which, in theory, could be safer for you, my staff, and me. We will try it out and see how it goes.
I am continuing a lot of telemedicine and some brief office visits where needed for procedures (injections) or visual/tactile examinations. Hopefully, telemedicine, where appropriate will be the New Normal and the Normal after that.
(Telemedicine is mostly video-chat medicine. The visual is key in making it a more personal experience and being able to see your arm move or your mole’s size)
This image is our goal: if a corona virus gets into your body, it is surrounded and covered with antibody making it waste material, not dangerous. It is then chewed up by other cells and spit out.