Three Things I Wish I Could Tell Every Member of the Medical Community
During the Coronavirus pandemic and all the uncertainty it brings with it, we want you to know that while eating disorders thrive in isolation, recovery happens in community. The world is witnessing something unimaginable. To the medical professionals who continue to pierce the darkness with their collective light, thank you.
While everyone’s lives have been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, not everyone must experience it up close and in person the way so many of my colleagues are daily. So many doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are missing their families and putting themselves at risk to do what they always do: Provide comfort and healing to those who need it.
I would also like to thank those who are working to adapt quickly and efficiently to maintain and increase access to care for patients via telehealth and other means. You continue to show up for your patients while managing household responsibilities, caring for family at home, worrying about loved ones far away, and perhaps you even have some virtual fourth-grade English homework to finish. Your work is just as vital and is saving countless lives. We see you, and we genuinely thank you.
Whatever form your service is currently taking, we are in awe of you and grateful for you.
2. This Too Shall Pass
Abraham Lincoln said it in 1859 in a speech before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society. Mike Ditka used it in his farewell speech in 1993. Whether initially from Jewish folklore or Persian Sufi poetry, the phrase “This, too, shall pass” is not only a very old proverb but one that shows up in different cultures throughout history. It is a universal truth.
I like the stories about where the phrase originates. In one version I’ve heard, King Solomon is essentially trying to teach one of his wisest servants some humility by asking them to perform a seemingly impossible task. King Solomon commands the wise servant to bring him a “magic” ring with the power make a sad wearer happy, but a happy wearer sad.
The wise servant is stumped! But only at first. Just as he’s running out of time to complete the task, he has an idea. The wise servant goes to the jeweler and has three words inscribed on a gold ring: Gam ze ya’avor. This, too, shall pass.
When things are going smoothly, I never hear anyone say, “this, too, shall pass.” Now it seems like I hear it all the time. But the phrase is always the same amount of true, pandemic being no exception.
I wish I could say something with more shine on it, but for now we are taking life one day, one challenge, one breath at a time. I know that “This, too, shall pass” might not make anyone smile, but perhaps it is enough to inspire forward motion. As a community, we will get through this. This, too, shall surely pass.
3. I Have Never Been Prouder to Call You My Colleagues.
We live among angels. Retired doctors and nurses are leaving the safety of their homes to treat patients. Medical students across the country are finding different ways to help. In many cases, since COVID-19 patients can’t have visitors, doctors and nurses become their families, providing support, compassion, and sometimes even comic relief.
None of us can wait for this thing to be over. But for what it’s worth, I consider it an honor to witness your dedication and courage through these trying times, and I have never been prouder to call you my colleagues.
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