For current third-year students across the country, the pandemic hit at a notably unstable moment in our lives. Mere months after many of us began medical school in new localities amongst new communities, all was suddenly fragmented.
There are fewer flowers in the hospital rooms now. / The ones sent to room 22 / have been taken out.
On Monday morning, a medical assistant finds me with a nasal swab in hand. I scribble my signature and temperature on the form he hands me. “Ready, Maria?” he asks, and then laughs when I groan in response. I tilt my head, close my eyes and wait for the worst part to be over. After 15 minutes of waiting in the student workroom, he tells me I am COVID-19 negative and set for the week.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown precipitated wide-ranging effects on nearly all aspects of our society. Perhaps some of the most severely affected patients were those fighting cancer. These patients have little physiologic resistance to COVID-19 and accordingly experience higher morbidity and mortality when infected.
It is Wednesday afternoon and I have one last annual visit for the day. As I enter the room, a slender 27-year-old woman wearing a white t-shirt and baggy blue jeans sits in the chair across from me.
Students across the country in all grade levels, from preschool to graduate school, had their educational routines upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown. In medicine, there were special challenges associated with adapting safety protocols to a field that inherently requires human interaction.
Mr. T did not smile at me. No, I didn’t think it was because he was mean or anything; in fact, he was polite and had quite a calming voice. But honestly, it was hard to read someone’s facial expression behind a mask — at least during the first few months of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many in our nation see COVID-driven requirements as anathema to their independence, but what if mandates are actually the best way to secure our personal liberties?
As COVID-19 continues to rage around the world, extended quarantine measures have been responsible for saving innumerable lives. Now, as we slowly catch glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel, or face the possibility of rising cases returning us to the heights of the pandemic, it is important to examine the long-term side effects of our self-prescribed quarantine treatment.
20 / still / except / her chest rising, falling
With the development and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and the arrival of the summer season, people are feeling happier and beginning to come out of their homes. It’s clear that there is a growing sense of hope that the pandemic may be approaching its conclusion. However, standing in the way of our pursuit of normalcy is the refusal among some to partake in the vaccine, despite its proven efficacy and safety by experts.
For better or worse, I have always partaken in escapism in one form or another. “Escapism,” defined as the practice of avoiding a difficult reality by immersing oneself in distraction or entertainment, is a concept that rose in popularity in the 1930s as a natural reaction to the Great Depression of the previous decade. Although I did not know it at the time, I have been practicing escapism since 2000 BC (before COVID). As the eldest daughter of immigrants who were new to the continent and busy building a life from scratch, I would get lost in stories from a very young age. I had little in the way of friends and even less of an interest in being popular, so naturally I was drawn to books to fill that emotional void; novels were the way to my heart — fantasy and fiction, oh my!