As month six of the COVID-19 pandemic is upon us, I can’t help but mourn the loss of regular human connection. Even getting into my car for a short or long drive and listening to a podcast is a welcomed break from the work from home grind knowing that a human is waiting on the other side.
Our colleagues on the frontlines delivering care day in and day out have adjusted as best as they can to PPE. But I’m reminded that smiles and full facial expressions are largely lost behind a mask.
Some eye care professionals are concluding their examination with a remote consultation; doctor in the office, patient in their car. Both parties can then remove their masks and connect on that deeper face to face level as the assessment and plan are discussed.
Virtual myopia consultations are being used so that the ECP can have both parents in front of them and the kids playing in the next room rather than rush through the layered discussion in the office. Many of us are continuing to adapt to new ways of delivering meaningful care.
I am not alone in my concern that many people across North America and the world have gone deeper into social isolation. Albeit a bit morbid, the reality is that social isolation, loneliness, and living alone increases likelihood of mortality by 29%, 26%, and 32% respectively.1
We could all use the reminder to reach out to somebody we’ve lost touch with for a video chat. The word compassion means to suffer with. Hasn’t that been the common theme during this time?
Thinking back to John Krasinski’s “Some Good News,” we all need that pick me up amidst all the strife out there. Finding the best part of your day or writing down three things we’re grateful for can be a powerful exercise whether you’re an optimist or not.
I encourage all of us to persevere, but to not do it alone. Please take even a day or two off if at all possible, hold your loved ones close, and please take care.
Justin T. Kwan, OD, FAAO
- Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Baker M, Harris T, Stephenson D. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2015;10(2):227-237. doi:10.1177/1745691614568352