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Coronavirus makes its own rules

August 30, 2020 GMT

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has changed so many things about our world, and about my individual world as well. I have patients ask me every day if it’s real and if it’s as scary and as bad as they say that it is. And the answer is that yes, it is very real, and it yes, it can certainly be every bit as bad as the experts describe.

While it is true that most people who are infected with the virus do not have symptoms severe enough to need oxygen or hospitalization, it is the arbitrary nature of the virus that worries me the most.

Several of my dear friends and coworkers, as well as several of my patients, have fallen ill from it, and some were very sick indeed. Some did need admission to the hospital, IV medications and oxygen supplementation, and some suffered greatly but did not need inpatient care. I have had friends over 60 years old with chronic medical conditions who were just sick for a week or so with flu-like symptoms (fatigue, muscle pain, fever and cough) and friends in their 20s and 30s who were very sick for many many weeks. I have admitted elderly patients who did well and went home in a few days and much younger patients who ended up getting much, much sicker. The problem is, we know the rules by which the flu and other viruses play, and coronavirus does not follow them — it makes its own rules.

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This virus has changed so much about my job especially, what with the masks and the gowns and all of this new illness that we’ve never seen before. But it hasn’t changed how lucky I am to practice medicine in the Magic Valley and how grateful I am to my patients for letting me be a part of their lives.

Many of us have very different opinions about many things right now, but I consider myself lucky that I get to interact with the good folks of our community every day. I see people from all over the Magic Valley and beyond, from different backgrounds and from all areas of the political spectrum, and I honestly believe that every one of my patients is a good person with a good heart, and that we are all trying our best in this difficult time. I feel like it is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the chaos in the world right now, and I am very very lucky to be reminded every day what generally good, honest, well-intentioned people live in our community.