This morning I had another routine office visit with my pulmonologist, who treats my chronic bronchitis. I’ve worried about her because the pandemic seemed like it must be such a brutal thing for pulmonologists.
She commented that, while the urgent nature of the pandemic has calmed down somewhat, the big problem now is that so many people who had it are left with compromised breathing, and the medical world is trying to figure out what to do with that, how to come to terms with it.
She has also talked about how doctors try to take care of themselves, given the enormous extra work load and the emotional toll of all the death.
It must have been a pretty awful time for pulmonologists.
It has been a pretty awful time for medical professionals in general; of doctors pulmonologists and cardiologists (along with anesthesiologists) have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has also been very hard on ICU nurses and those pressed into “covid ward” service regardless of speciality, as well as first responders (paramedics, EMTs, school nurses, elder care workers, et cetera) and ‘critical workers’ in general who had to risk exposure on a daily basis to assure a continuity of services. Those no asserting that “covid is endemic and no worse than a cold” are espousing their belief from a position of privilege of not being obligated to accept risk of contagion or watch people drowning in their own fluids.
We should really be doing more to prepare for the next pandemic because even if it isn’t some hypervirulent form of SARS-CoV-2, it will be coming, and pretending like communicable disease is not a threat to public health didn’t even work out so well in this love-tap of a pathogen, much less something that kills in whole round numbers of infected. And that preparation should start with making sure that medical professionals and first responders are well protected, both physically and emotionally, to the scourge of infection.