Zooming in. Social distancing. Share my screen. Can you hear me? Cancel. Reschedule.
In January and February I’d hear news updates about COVID-19 and I didn’t know what to think or how’d it evolve. I was on vacation during the first week of March when I realized, THIS IS SERIOUS. When I returned to work, it felt like the world fell apart: no more in-person visits, national conferences were cancelled, and we were all wearing masks. What a shock for us all. And as a physician, face-to-face interaction, a caring smile, reading others facial expressions are how we were trained to take care of patients. And now this was gone.
But while the pandemic was raging, our patients still needed us. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, etc., these things don’t go away. Delivering care in creative and innovative ways, while there were many bumps along the virtual road, was critical. And we adapted.
I was on-call in April 2020 during the shutdown. Work looked unrecognizable at times. Meetings were all virtual and medical students were no longer present. The outpatient world was 100% virtual. Usually, on my morning walk into Riley the hallways are bustling with activity as patients and coworkers are all coming in. On the morning of April 2nd, I snapped this photo because I’d never seen an empty hallway like this before.
Eventually the pandemic, social-distancing, and masks became our new-norm. Patients and families returned for routine care, we now have in-person and virtual options, and the hallways have activity again. Upcoming national conferences are now virtual. Medical students and residents continue their clinical rotations.
Sometimes, I long for the return of get-togethers, to see my patients and coworkers faces again, to share a smile and a hug. It’s normal to feel this way. But I also reflect on the incredible feat of how when we work together, we can continue to be there for our patients and each other in a safe way.
So for now, let’s Zoom on…
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Ashley Dummer is a Communications Specialist in the Department of Pediatrics. She has worked in Pediatrics since graduating with her degree from Indiana University.