COVID-19: Reflecting on the early days of this pandemic

This week, I’m going to get a little personal and talk to you about my own pandemic experience.  

After all, each of us has our own story to tell. And, as a frontline health worker, I have a lot to share about what I’ve been doing (and feeling) over the past 18 months and counting. 

So, without further ado, let’s start at the very beginning… the winter of 2019/2020.  

A ghost town 

I recall the winter of 2019/2020 being an odd one. Many people were coming to me with really bad coughs and cold symptoms that just wouldn’t go away. Nothing helped—antibiotics, cough medicines, mega-doses of vitamins, or even intravenous (IV) vitamins. 

Then, in February 2020, I had my last pre-COVID trip—to a medical retreat in Nicaragua. I returned, and the world changed. 

Of course, my office never closed, as people were actively coming in for treatments. But I let my staff choose to come in or work from home (except for my nurse, who I also deemed essential).  

But it wasn’t long before even my commute to work changed. Suddenly, no one was taking the subway—and an uptick in crime and violence emerged. In fact, two days into the pandemic, I was attacked on the way to work. A week later, I was chased down the subway platform. I started to carry mace and a small weapon to help protect myself… and eventually started traveling to the office together with my nurse (in his car).  

Meanwhile, the streets of midtown Manhattan around Grand Central Station were all but deserted. You could cross the street without looking. (That’s extremely unusual for the city, let alone NYC!) And there wasn’t a single open store, when normally on that block, there were 19.  

Long story short: It was a ghost town. 

Changed to the core 

Obviously the pandemic made us all pivot in a way we perhaps hadn’t before. It changed life as we knew it… and is still changing our routines to this day. 

I remained in complete doctor mode. As healthcare professionals, we’re trained to handle emergencies like these. We don’t think, we just react. My staff and I knew we could handle this, and we did.   

Patients were getting sick—I was bombarded with questions and cries for help. So I remained as available to them as I could. Thankfully, I had always done telemedicine, but it has become a much bigger part of my practice. And on a personal level, I also decided to volunteer at overwhelmed local hospitals, doing whatever needed to be done.  

At home, I changed the way I shopped for food. I changed who I saw. I changed how I walked my dog. I changed what I wrote to you about.  

I even changed how I dressed—no more suits or outward displays of money. My clothing choices became a reflection of the New York City I grew up in: Dirty, dark, dangerous.  

I changed my belief system to the core. And, as I mentioned above, I changed the way I commuted to work. 

Of course, as the weather warmed, Citi Bike offered first responders free use of their services. So, I started to bike back and forth to work—a good four miles. (It was much quicker than walking those lethal, empty streets. And it was great daily exercise!) 

Towards the summer of 2020, things quieted down. People started to re-emerge. (I even met some friends at an outdoor dining establishment.) And people were hopeful that the end was near.  

I was hopeful, myself. I hoped for some sense of normality again. But, as you and I both know, the pandemic was far from over. Tune back in for more of my experiences tomorrow… 

P.S. If you’re still taking advantage of telehealth appointments, I encourage you to check out the December 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“Navigating the challenges of healthcare in the age of coronavirus”). In it, I include personalized tips for successful appointments… and overall good health. So if you haven’t already, consider becoming a subscriber today. Click here now!