Receptra Naturals - Beyond the Hemp Fields: Interview with New York ICU Doctor about the effects of COVID19
Frontline workers fighting the battle of keeping us safe during the COVID-19 outbreak are taking it all in their stride, despite changing working conditions and added stress. This is part of Receptra’s series of interviews focused on three main areas of frontline worker life during the pandemic:
How has the COVID19 pandemic impacted your daily life/work life?
What are you doing to manage your stress level?
Do you have any suggestions for the rest of us?
Dr. Hadi J. Halazun
Cardiologist, New York City
New York City has emerged as an epicenter for COVID19 cases, recently breaking the record for the most deaths on a single day, which occurred Wednesday, April 8th with 799 total. Though New York has been especially susceptible due to the high concentration of people in a small area, the rest of the nation and world is also experiencing unheard of casualties. This pandemic has medical professionals across the globe risking their own health to save as many people as possible. Dr. Halazun was kind enough to take a moment to talk to Receptra about what it is like for he and his colleagues during these trying times.
“COVID19 has not only changed my schedule and what I do, but it’s changed the type of medicine that I practice. Whereas a month ago, let’s say, I was practicing purely cardiology, seeing patients with cardiac issues; now all I see are patients with COVID and the associated complications. I just happen to be in the ICU, so it is the sickest of the sick that I’m seeing. Professionally it has really changed my day to day and forced me into a sort of a new specialty. It’s one that I had basic training in, but not really advanced training. It made me go back to trying to learn on the job, which is what we do as residents and interns, and now I have to do again as an attending physician. It has changed what I do and how I do it. Because the hospital is a referral center, it is a 24-hour situation, where doctors have to be available to take care of these sick patients. Prior to this, I wasn’t working in shifts. I would do my job, see my patients and then leave whenever I was done. Now it has turned into shift work. 7 am to 7 pm, with four days on, a few days off and I do it again. So the type of work I am doing is more like a resident.
None of us are specialists in this, so we rely heavily on everyone else’s input.
It is a great opportunity for collaboration because we are all focused on this one thing and everyone is motivated by the fact that not only are we focused on it, but the doctors in Denver, the doctors in Los Angeles, everyone around the world is focused on this one thing. It creates a sense of purpose. An intern or resident can have equal say to a specialist because everyone is learning things on the fly. Data and literature are coming out by the hour. Any member of the team can access that and inform the rest of the team. They don’t have to be a senior member.
What hasn’t changed is that as doctors we set our day dealing with people who are sick. Just because the disease has changed, the fundamentals haven’t. We are going back to basics and in doing so, it doesn’t feel like I am doing anything differently. It is not like I was a hotel manager and now I am going to be a newspaper editor. It still the same kind of work.
My personal life has changed but now my wife and I have a six-month-old son. My worry about my own health, my son’s health, and my wife’s health is the most it has ever been. I have a responsibility to them that I never had before; in taking risks, in going to work at the hospital and doing my job. In that way, it has created a little more anxiety. We have also made the decision that when I work in the ICU, I don’t stay at home with them. I stay at a friend’s empty apartment to reduce the risk of exposure. One of the harder things for me is also the fear of missing milestones in my son’s life while I am away for long periods.
It is also hard on my wife who is working from home doing telepsychiatry. So she’s at home all day. She’s not leaving and there’s no interruption in her day. We take for granted how important it is to get up, shower, change and go to work. That routine can keep you sane. You see people other than yourself and your child. It makes you feel like you are part of the community. The redeeming factor for me is that I can still physically go to work every day, but for her, it has been tough.
We thought early on that it might be a long hall so we bought a Peloton bike. Having that and having that 30 or 45 minutes to feel normal has been a God-send. My sort of therapy is that I walk home before and after my shifts. I go on very long walks on the day that I’m not working. I’m obviously abiding by social distancing recommendations. There are not many people on the street. You’d be shocked to see what New York looks like. You can hear the birds, you don’t hear any cars honking. It is really a ghost town. From a wellness standpoint walking and getting fresh air is probably the number one thing I do for myself.
If you have a partner, have very open communication about when you need your space. Not taking that personally is a huge thing. Create a code word so you don’t even have to talk about it. For people who do not have partners and are sitting at home getting some time outside is probably the most important thing.
Just because you are isolated does not mean you cannot go out, wear a mask if that’s what your local government suggests and just walk. You don’t have to interact with anyone, and it will be helpful.
As far as anxieties around getting the disease, if you take the precautions that are recommended, your chances of getting the disease are low and for the most part, while some people do get sick, the overall chances for the average person to get ill to the point of hospitalization are low. That shouldn’t be the green light to go party. Take the recommended precautions.”
In the midst of this current crisis, Receptra Naturals dedicating a portion of our Serious Relief 0% THC Tincture and Targeted Topical™ inventory to healthcare workers on the front lines. If you are a healthcare worker, please click the link below for more information.
Thank you to Dr. Halazun and all the selfless Hospital Workers and
Medical Professionals caring for others in these critical times.