I have not posted on my website in many years because I’ve been more focused on our time together in the office. But with the current pandemic, the time has come to step up my game when it comes to virtual communication!
Here is the email I sent out today:
The current pandemic has caused a lot of questions for people. Because we already know each other, I hope to be able to provide you with trustworthy information in the coming days and weeks. I’ve also increased availability to provide you with the medical advice you need (see below for more details). This email will hopefully answer some questions as well as keep you updated about the changes in my practice.
Coronavirus information (scroll down for important changes at CSFM):
- Please follow the current health department recommendations. Wash your hands frequently, avoid congregating with other people, and stay isolated at home if you are at all under the weather. This article (click link) has a good summary of what to do if you’re worried that you have coronavirus. At this point, 90% of the people who have been tested in Colorado do NOT have coronavirus–it is still the thick of cold and flu season so most likely whatever you have is one of the other viruses going around. That said, people are dying of coronavirus, so do not ignore concerning symptoms out of denial. Getting the help you need when you need it can save your life.
- Most of us will not be affected medically. We are responding as a community to protect our most vulnerable (pregnant moms, people over 60, and people with chronic medical conditions). Very few healthy people under 50 will become seriously ill (end up in the ICU). In Japan, as of this writing, they have had ZERO deaths in people under 50. At the same time, even “mild” cases can be pretty miserable with anything from typical cold and flu symptoms up to viral pneumonia. People who are seriously ill but do not die have a prolonged recovery in the ICU. Most of us will not experience this but we need to make changes to minimize the number of people who do.
- The reason Colorado is closing down schools, businesses, and events is to try to “flatten the curve.” What this means is that instead of having lots of people all get coronavirus at once and overwhelm the hospitals, we want to slow it down to a trickle. This will mean that the spread could last longer but every person with serious covid-19 can have access to life-saving treatments. Be a good human and help slow the spread by following the current recommendations. We want the hospitals to be able to provide the best care possible to the people who need it.
- My biggest concern for most people is mental health. Please try to keep up with normal routines, do things that are good for your morale. I’m keeping my kids and I on a regular daily schedule with time in the backyard, work/school time, family time. We’re using this as an opportunity to enjoy some more hygge (google it)! Call the Colorado Crisis Line (click on link) to talk if you’re feeling overwhelmed or you can text “TALK” to 32855.
- You do not need a three year supply of toilet paper, but please make sure you have an extra few weeks of basic supplies and medications. If you don’t, you can just order for delivery if needed, but it’s more expensive that way. A number of pharmacies will deliver prescriptions if needed. And my local yarn store will mail knitting necessities. So you should be fine.
- I have 10 and 20 minute phone and video appointments available seven days a week. If possible, please try to schedule a time on the portal. This way you’re not waiting for me to call back who-knows-when. Instead, I can call when you are expecting and we can eliminate phone tag. I’m hoping this will help with the high volume of calls currently and make communicating with me more convenient for you. You are always welcome to also call in the usual way using the urgent and non-urgent lines.
- Yes! I said video appointments! It’s really easy to set up–my first video visit was done with someone who has never used Skype/Hangouts/etc. I’ve now done several and everyone has been really pleased with how accessible medical care is to them now–we can have a face to face visit from anywhere. Right now please take a moment to click on the link in your email, which provides HIPPA secure video appointments.
- For the time being, there will be NO in-person appointments (no appointments at my office). I am doing this for several reasons. First is that the vast majority of care can be provided remotely so I’m not concerned that people will suffer unduly in the next week or so. Second is to be able to care for everyone. I can only manage a limited number of in-person appointments in a day but I can do many times more virtual appointments every day. With the high volume of patients needing care right now, this makes sure all of you can access me on the same day and not have to wait. The third reason is to avoid spreading coronavirus. I do not want to be the reason that one of you gives coronavirus to a fragile friend or relative. I also do not want to fall ill myself–even the mild illnesses can make it hard to work at the pace necessary to keep up with the need right now and I do not want over 400 people to be without a physician.
This is not the first time we have experienced major crises as a country but this is the first time that most of us have experienced something that changed the way we live our daily lives and threatened the ones we love the most. We can work together to change the course of this pandemic and use it as an opportunity to live according to our values and spend time at home with the people, animals, and activities that we love.
If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to reach out at any time. If you aren’t able to access the patient portal, click on this link and then click on “forgot password.”