Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD — and all the chaos that comes with it
As I walk down that path in a gray raincoat and a headscarf, I could be any number of people: the mom who lost her son; the nurse who is worried about a patient they are caring for; the reporter I met who wrote about the flu this year. I am hoping to be one thing this Tuesday, and one thing only: a doctor with a lot of energy.
I need it right now, because I am about to take on a harrowing new challenge: being a frontline surgeon in Hong Kong. It’s a challenge I never expected in my life. But if I don’t make it, I will feel bad about myself for allowing myself to get that close to a crisis and not being here to support my friends.
I have my concerns about this virus. I am still worried about everything from the virus to the Hong Kong police to the rioters in Hong Kong. But my biggest concern is that I cannot see my patients, cannot see the people the virus infects, cannot see the health of my nurses and doctors, cannot see the patients I go to the emergency room and the ones who have come with me to the hospital. I can’t see a patient who has died, and I can’t know what went on in their family. I can only focus on them as a patient and a human.
I have a lot of friends who are doctors, nurses and even surgeons. Some of them did not go in the hospital in Hong Kong, but they are coming back to see if they can come back. They are worried about what I will do with them and their families.
I don’t know. I feel like if the virus gets to me, I can handle it.
The reason I’m still around to talk about this experience is partly because I am writing an op-ed for a publication I have never done anything with but that I am excited to do. At the end of my career, I need to talk about it, so I am writing about it. Also, I am telling my story to people who have read my blog, to the people who are reading my blog about the pand