Within a few days, our lives have been transformed. Our modes of transit, communication, and even grieving have been upended. It’s been a lot to come to terms with and a lot to grieve – let alone the grieving of those lost to this pandemic.
And yet amidst this turmoil, there has also been light, like the budding flower that manages to struggle through the cracks in the sidewalk cement. I’ve been touched by the concern my patients have shown for my own wellbeing – concern that I’m still going into the hospital to work, concern that I may not have access to adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, and concern that I may be overworked. And the gratitude. Never have I been thanked so much in this line of work.
But most touching has been the ways this strange experience has allowed me to connect with my patients. Together, we’re able to share in the same uncertainty and fear. As we both share strategies to adapt, I also find myself inspired by the resilience and creativity of my patients during this unprecedented challenge. Whether in discussions in person or over videoconference, I’m starting to find empathic proximity is the other face of this time of physical distancing.
While COVID-19 may be a behemoth we wish to have never grappled, I’m hopeful we’ll emerge from this a little more human – and a little more connected – on the other side.
by Dr. Sarah Hanafi