Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD
In early March, I went to work — not for medical reasons, but to keep my practice running. I’d sent a colleague to cover for me and my own sister, who had been sick in the family’s home since April.
My family had been using home-based telemedicine, which has allowed me to consult with patients during both of my breaks. I’d only been working on that end of things when my sister’s fever spiked and she took to her bed the morning of March 10.
I had no idea why she was so sick, and I knew I was to blame. Her fever had been higher and less frequent than usual during her time in the hospital for a dental procedure. I’m sorry. I had been busy with other things, and I’d not had a chance to call the hospital to find out which procedure she’d been having, so I had been ignorant to the problem.
When I got back from work the next morning, my sister was still in bed, and the fever remained high. I tried to get up, but she had her hands on my shoulder, pushing me gently away.
“Don’t leave,” she said.
“But I have to go to work,” I replied.
“You have to eat,” she said. “We don’t want you sick in the family way.”
So I ate lunch at my desk, and waited for her fever to drop or take a turn down. Two days later, she was a little better, and I tried to get up to feed her lunch again. She pushed me back as my chest brushed against hers. She said it was “pushing.”
“Push,” she said. “I’m getting stronger.”
She gave me a cup of chicken noodle soup and a small bowl of rice. I had already been given this and a cup of broth for lunch the day before, and I fed her, sitting at my desk.
In the two or so hours I waited for the fever to drop, I didn’t get to see her or even tell her