OK ya’ll, we need to talk… Dr. H has something very important to say, and I want your full, undivided attention. Listening ears on…and…here.we.go – THERE ARE STILL HEALTH PROBLEMS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OTHER THAN CORONA VIRUS!!!!
There, I said it. Was it clear enough? Did you catch the full emotion of the statement? Guys, I can’t even tell you how many times a day I have to tell my friends, patients, staff members, even myself, “It is not all about the Rona’ all the time”. Sooo many other health problems and chronic conditions are going unrecognized and untreated because, #1 People are afraid to come to the hospital or doctors office. #2 Healthcare centers have shut down non-essential service lines. #3 People are being forced to self isolate and change their routine, which causes all sorts of new health problems.
People are avoiding the hospital and ER for their very real medical emergencies.
I can’t even believe I have to say this…. If you are having chest pain and think you might be having a heart attack, please GO TO THE ER!!! Same goes for you fools ignoring your stroke symptoms! Emergency Rooms and hospitals around the country are taking every possible precaution to keep you safe and COVID free, and they are still open for all of your other health care emergencies. Please don’t staple your own leg back together after a firewood cutting incident. Stop treating your gallstone attacks with healing crystals, and for the love of all that is holy, do not, I repeat, DO NOT deliver your own baby at home. It is not safe, it just isn’t, Facebook is lying to you again. Your husband did not go to medical school and he will be of NO help to you when you start bleeding out, even if he was a Boy Scout. Post-partum hemorrhages don’t care how many merit badges you earned Jeremy!
We are delaying elective procedures and important cancer screening.
As healthcare systems around the country try to navigate the ever changing rules of social distancing, and do their best to keep patients safe, they are being forced to cancel elective surgeries and procedures, including cancer screening like mammograms and colonoscopies. Now, I know some of you were just devastated when your colonoscopy got cancelled, I mean you had been looking forward to that clear liquid, poopin’ shootin’ good time for Months! But in all seriousness, we are delaying the diagnosis of cancers every day that we stay in this quarantine. And the longer we push off that boob squeeze from H.E.DoubleHockeySticks, the less treatable that breast cancer becomes. So just because your screening test is being delayed for now, that does not mean it can be delayed forever. Be your own advocate here, call your PCP’s office, find out when/if they are seeing people for routine physicals again, and ask about rescheduling your screening labs and tests. Colon cancer doesn’t care about Corona virus, colon cancer is just gonna keep on growing, growing, growing.
Quarantine is bringing on a whole new set of health problems.
Being stuck at home with your spouse and children for days on end is not good for anyone’s health. (My children have never been more annoyed with me, and I’m sure they are plotting my death by 1000 Lego wounds) But in all seriousness, for those who are in abusive marriages, or living in homes with child abuse, this is an incredibly dangerous time. For some, being isolated at home alone is unmasking mental health challenges, bringing depression and anxiety rates to an all time high. Humans weren’t meant to go for weeks and weeks without any social contact. If you are struggling with panic attacks, overwhelming sadness or suicidal thoughts, or an abusive partner, you need to call your doctor! Most offices are offering virtual health visits over the phone or computer and they are here to help.
I know quarantine rules are different than every day rules, Happy Hour is any hour, Netflix is Life and cookies are a form of currency. But don’t forget to put on your real jeans every now and then, just to make sure they still fit… I’m not judging, stress is a terrible thing for the waste line. I’m calling it my COVID-5… but at some point we all have to stop eating like its Fat Tuesday every day and put away the sweat pants. People are actually developing blood clots from sitting around so much during their self isolation! You know what’ll kill ya a lot faster than the Corona Virus?? A blood clot straight to the heart! So get moving, do some laps around the block a few times a day, instead of just from the TV to the fridge and back. Do some arm curls that don’t involve a beer can, and for the love of Pete, drink some Water. Then you won’t have to pass a kidney stone all alone in quarantine!
Remember kids, its not All COVID, All the time. There are many, many more things that could kill you. (said with a smile in an inappropriately cheery tone) Don’t forget to call your friendly Primary care doctor if you need us, eat a vegetable every now and then, and try to get some movement into your day that doesn’t involve disguising your wine as hot tea during your office zoom meeting. (never mind, keep doing that, just go for a walk at some point).
This blog is solely the opinion of its author, and not meant to be used as medical advice. You should always talk to your own family doctor.