Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD
It’s March 2019, and I’m in my office in Fort Pierce, Fla., a few hours away from Miami, working on the second edition of my annual letter.
In mid-January, my patients had to cancel their flu shots, their dental appointments, their trip to the grocery store, their grocery trips, pretty much everything. That was devastating.
My office was a little more than 15 miles from Miami International Airport, and one week ago, we got a call that the hospital where our patients were being quarantined in with coronavirus patients in the Intensive Care Unit would be closing its doors to walk-in patients starting at 5 p.m. the day after I finished my workday.
My office had been getting phone calls from families asking if they could take their loved ones home, and I’d made a decision.
My office could not remain open, and I could not send my patients home, so I would have to call in sick.
It’s not like I came out of retirement to get quarantined by COVID-19. I’m not a doctor for a living. I’ve had 10 years in the health care system. I had worked in primary care for more than 20 years.
I’d been seeing a lot more patients, but I was in a stable office setting, and the patients would call to say they’d come in to the office for routine checkups and that they were afraid to come in.
On the day I called in, the biggest problem I had was to keep my patients entertained. I’d get calls from my patients saying they needed to get out to their jobs or get dinner plans because they’d be arriving on the following morning, and I told the staff to make sure