Dr. Sarah Levy is an Eye Surgeon, who volunteers at the VA Medical Center and owns a private practice in cosmetic medicine. She does not treat COVID-19 patients, but the pandemic has changed the way that her office functions.
After closing down her practice for 10 weeks, she resumed seeing patients and implemented extensive safety protocols intended to keep her team and patients safe. Adjusting her practice to include the most current CDC guidelines, patients must fill out an in-depth screening questionnaire, check-in and check-out from their cars, have temperature checks, wipe their phones, wash their hands and gargle with hydrogen peroxide prior to their treatment. In addition to requiring more time with each patient both at intake and at the end of each visit, the current COVID protocol includes a thorough cleaning of each treatment room between patients and more time in between appointments, so the practice is seeing fewer patients.
Sarah purchased air purifiers for every room, installed plexi-glass dividers and expanded the reception area to ensure enough distance between her reception team members. In addition, to keep her team safe, her guest relations staff wears level-3 masks, and the rest of her team wears PPE, protective shields, gloves, and N95 masks. Availability of these supplies is good now, but early on it was often difficult to find the necessary protective and cleaning gear, which caused some stress.
With school being partly in-person and partly virtual, like many working parents, Sarah found it challenging to balance the academic and emotional needs of her four children and the responsibility of her work during the day’s working hours. However, one of the benefits brought upon by the pandemic has been a decrease in extracurricular activities, resulting in more family time after work. Prior to the pandemic the children were involved in many activities, and Sarah found herself running all over the place. Now, the family is eating dinner together each night and spending more time with one another. Family has become a priority once again.
No one knows what the future will hold, but one thing is certain: life is unpredictable and will always have its challenges. But each struggle brings about new opportunities and silver linings. Sarah’s one piece of advice to remaining grounded and optimistic is to take a few minutes each morning to pause and feel grateful for all the good in this world.