Pandemic Reflections, It’s Been a Year
It’s been a year just about sums it up. Literally, figuratively, and in every other sense.
For nearly all of us, the pandemic officially began one year ago, and it has been a year unlike any other in modern history.
Nearly every story, article or topic we came across had undertones of the pandemic; how could it not? The health crisis and our response would transcend every aspect of life.
In navigating my environment, adapting to change, or simply as a coping mechanism, I was compelled to write. Many others, be it for similar or completely different reasons, also used writing as their form of expression.
Telling stories is how humans make sense of the world; regardless of how nonsensical it may be.
One year ago, everyone in my building was advised to stay home. My clinic location, inside a gym within the wellness center of a large downtown office building, would remain closed until further notice.
Days turned to weeks, weeks into months, and as seasons began to change, patience shifted to frustration and worry; how long will this last, will I have an office to return to, and will we ever see a return to normalcy?
I strongly believe, in all of us, there lives a desire to feel needed, useful, a contributing member of society. Since I was locked out of my office, I decided to help others stay healthy, active, and engaged through writing.
This would be my contribution.
I joined Medium and began publishing my work. This platform became a creative outlet, and an unfiltered pipeline of information from doctors, researchers, and writers covering a vast range of topics. An ideal place to share my articles and increase health awareness. Some of the health information reaching the public bordered on junk science, or outright conspiracy; people needed facts.
Nearly every piece I wrote referenced the pandemic in some way, shape, or form. I covered health maintenance and improving immunity, the elimination of hospital and clinic waiting rooms, time distortion during the pandemic, and most importantly, the origins of vaccine opposition. My goal was to educate and inform others in a time where everyone, not just in America, but the world, had common concerns and anxieties.
For once, we were all united.
Unfortunately, this sentiment would be short-lived, and we became even more polarized and divided. The pandemic became political. Far too many failed to realize, a virus doesn’t care who you vote for. While the disease impacted communities disproportionately, everyone, no matter how privileged or powerful, was affected. Our divisions didn’t help then and they’re not helping now. We need to realize the essence of humanity, life and preserving it; including compassion and empathy for those with whom we may otherwise disagree.
So many, have given so much, to shield us from harm. They’ve made sacrifices that can never be repaid.
At this point, we’ve all experienced loss. We’ve lost time with those we care for most, as well as those no longer physically with us. For many, comfort and closure remain elusive, as everything from visiting the sick, to mourning the dead, has changed.
Life and death have changed.
Thankfully, like so many pandemics relegated to the pages of history, we now have the tools to eradicate this disease. I recently joined nearly seventy million Americans in receiving a vaccination.
From the moment I entered the vaccination facility, to the moment I left, I could not see, but feel, smiles under masks; doctors, nurses, administrators, and dozens of patients in absolute elation. People clapped, laughed, took photographs. Grandparents and their children, some with grandchildren, in excited anticipation, then, relief.
I had a brief, wonderful conversation with a nurse. She mentioned an elderly woman who brought a scrapbook of memories, the most important events of her life. She would now add the photo of her vaccination on the next empty page. I’m sure it’s a welcome addition to a life full of memories, and celebrations. Thanks to a medical breakthrough, more photos, memories, and pages will be added soon enough.
I was overcome with emotion, most notably, hope. Hopeful this is a step forward in expelling a disease from our lives. This moment was a long time coming, and it opens up many more possibilities both now and moving forward.
To the doctors, nurses, and first responders who slept in cars, halls, or hotels away from their families; to the scientists, researchers, and trial participants who took the first steps towards unchartered territory: to the essential workers, advocates, and all those in the field sacrificing to keep supplies in cabinets and food on tables; to everyone making this moment possible; thank you will never be enough. You have gone above and beyond your contributions to humanity.
It’s been a year.
A year of anxiety, stress, and loss.
A year of uncertainty, change, and confusion.
A year of fear, anger, and rage.
A year of appreciation, optimism, and hope.
It’s been a year.