Coronavirus Update: August 20

Dear Patients, I always chuckle a little when my teammates call me their “fearless” leader because frankly, there are about a thousand things that scare the crud out of me: snakes, escalators, mice, and waking up to an empty half-and-half container (REALLY, I have back-up powdered creamer hidden away in its own little Armageddon bunker). This week, I came face to face with TWO of the things that I fear the most: an exam table, and releasing my son into the world knowing I will have zero ability to protect him. Much to my chagrin, I realized this year I was woefully behind on my annual gynecology visit. My old doctor retired and I just couldn’t bring myself to search for another so... I accidentally on purpose let it slip. I don’t know exactly what terrifies me so much about being on the laying-down side of the exam table, but I know that the thought made my heart race, my mouth go dry, and my stomach sink. All that to say: doctors can be afraid of doctors, too. In the end my fears were so unfounded that I want to share my experience with you (don’t worry, no videos). It was quite literally the BEST medical experience I have ever had. Everything about my arrival to Dr. Susan Roitman’s office put me at ease. I was greeted by name, and with a smile. The Axia Women’s Health / Valley Forge OBGYN office was calm, and quiet. In fact, I was the only patient I could see. Okay, I did not enjoy being told to completely undress, and I did have a staring contest with the fuscia gown for a second... but once I gave in, it all went up from there. For those that don’t know her, Dr. Roitman is a goddess. She breezed in full of energy and positivity and smiles. She greeted me like an old friend, not one of the last patients of her long day. She sat down. She talked to me. She listened to me. She did not have a chart or a pen or a computer. I felt like I was talking to my best friend (if we were in the habit of chatting half-naked next to a tube of lubricant). There is nothing pleasant about having a doctor “go there.” But Dr. Roitman was attentive and so very kind. I left there with two thoughts: “What took me so long?” and “How can I be more like her?” Anyway, one fear overcome, I turned to the next: dropping Sam off at Temple’s College of Engineering. And for the second time this week, I was so very pleasantly surprised. Yes, I still had the overwhelming sense of loss as we pulled away, but this was different than our Maisy drop-off in many ways. First, he is only an hour or less away. Second, Sam has about 6 of his best buddies there at Temple with him. And third, this wasn’t my first rodeo; I think experience in grief softens it a little. They say that staying busy is one way to get through grief, and boy are they right. Riding along in the car on the way back from Temple, I didn't really have time to mope or be melancholy. I had to dry my tears, open up my laptop, and connect to my hotspot – because THIS was waiting for me:

That's 42 dedicated staff members, all in a Zoom team meeting at 9:00pm, awaiting instruction and our next moves to keep our patient community safe and healthy. So grief and fears quickly faded to resolve and focus. With this team, and with our smart, sensible patient community, we are so ready.

The first, and most important thing we can do right now to kick the pandemic right in the teeth is to get a flu shot. Let me say that again:

Get a Flu Shot!

Flu vaccine is a critical tool to keep our health systems from being overwhelmed this coming season. Even when the flu vaccine is not completely “right” — combatting the exact strain of flu that the season brings — still, people who get it tend to have less severe illnesses. The more people kept well or only minimally ill because of the flu vaccine, the more resources we have for CoVID-19 patients until THAT vaccine is available.

Call our office today to set up your appointment for a shot at one of our convenient clinics or at a regular appointment.

What are we doing about Flu Patients this Fall?

When the pandemic began, my staff and I made the important and necessary decision to see no sick patients in the office. A fever in May or June was very likely COVID-19, and in the absence of a treatment plan (other than rest, quarantine, and monitoring your fever) there was no need for a patient to come to the office for that diagnosis. We operated our medical buildings as sick-free zones - first just 750, then both offices. Now, it's fall, and we have a look-alike. Flu is going to present with fever, aches, cough, and a host of other symptoms that are straight out of the COVID-19 playbook. But flu has treatments, and we have a small window of time to diagnose and administer Tamiflu if it's going to make a difference for a person in the grip of flu. That diagnosis with a flu swab must be done in person. We are working night and day to develop a plan that will allow us to evaluate flu patients while keeping our healthy patients away from both flu and Coronavirus. We are in the unique position of having two adjacent offices, and you can bet we will be creatively leveraging those buildings and every other strategy available to us, to ensure sick-free zones for healthy patients. Stay tuned for important announcements about how this will work!

In the meantime, please know that all flu shot clinics will take place in a sick-free zone: an outdoor tent where no sick patients are seen, with shots administered by a medical assistant who has not seen sick patients. Unlike a pharmacy, this will be a sanitized and open-air setting – the best possible environment to limit exposure.

And finally, I need to acknowledge school reopening. Or, in some cases, not reopening. Here in the Meyer household, our school district will be doing all remote learning until November. As I have said before, Hadley did not love remote learning in the spring. It is our understanding that things will be far more structured in the fall, as our teachers and administrators have been working tirelessly all summer to this end. Here at the practice, several of us have school-age kids. Continuing to work while helping our kids navigate remote school will be challenging. Please be patient as we may need to alter schedules now and again. For those of you struggling with the difficulty of balancing returning to work with supporting your kids through remote learning and with limited child care options, know that you are not alone. We are committed to supporting our patients with evening, Saturday, and Sunday appointments. We will work with you to provide virtual or in-person care, as we understand the struggles of balancing your health, working from home, and the needs of your children. Lean on us for telemedicine appointments or portal messages – some things require a trip to the office, but many things do not. We also encourage you to call us if you are struggling with issues of stress, anxiety, poor sleep, or anything else. Everybody talks about self-care – but it doesn't have to be done all by yourself.

Stay safe out there,

C

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