Seems like every conversation these days begins with “How are you doing?” or “Are you managing to keep busy during lockdown?” and ends with “Stay safe!”
Those questions have taken on new meaning for me, as I was recently hospitalized for 14 days with coronavirus. I am recovering well, thanks to wonderful medicines and incredibly attentive care by a team of doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who I am guessing were not entirely sorry to see me go home.
I was exposed to the virus and was promptly tested. Negative. Repeated the test a couple days later. Again, negative. Then the next day I started to feel ill. This time, the test was positive, and because of a couple of issues, my doctor decided to admit me to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I am not a patient patient. Understand, in a COVID unit, there are no visitors. There is no walking the halls for a change of scenery. There is no business as usual, which for me, is torture. It’s surreal, and, at times, frightening.
But this is not a story about being sick; this is about how the hospital and health care providers and staff adjusted to accommodate patients. They truly are health care heroes.
From my business perspective, they are also champions of customer service, being resourceful for clients/customers (patients) in the face of extreme circumstances. Teamwork is evident everywhere.
More than 30 nurses cared for this challenging patient, and every one was kind, caring and gracious. They all had to change clothes every time they entered a different room -- hospital garb, gloves, masks and face shields. If they go outside your room and come back a minute later, they have to change again. Therefore, they don’t come to your room unless you really need something.
The door to the room is never opened for more than a couple of seconds. They don’t want air to get out in the hallway. You can’t poke your head out the door to ask a question. There was a computer screen in front of my bed where I was monitored every second. Most communication is through that monitor, at the touch of a button.
And no matter how pesky I got, the rules were there for my protection. Let me give you an example. My doctor was in to see me, and when he left he said he had to see a patient next door. As soon as he left, I thought of something else and wrote a note and asked the nurse to give it to him. The nurse kindly explained that you couldn't even take a piece of paper out of the room.
I was fortunate also to have the ear of my daughter-in-law’s brother, Aaron Stern, a doctor at Elmhurst Hospital in the New York City borough of Queens. Dr. Stern was working at least 12-hour days, seven days a week at peak. He’s been helping coronavirus patients for nine months and shared information on treatment options and provided explanations on the course of the disease. I wanted to know everything about this illness.
It’s fair to say I am not used to being away from my office and limited in my activity. I was so eager to get back to work, and business was waiting. I didn’t have time to be sick. But this amazing group of people took my attitude in stride. I guess that’s what you call healing body and mind.
I’ve always had tremendous respect for those in the medical profession, who aren’t afraid to treat people with horrible conditions without concern for their own well-being. This pandemic has tested all of us, but the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers have had a challenge that few of us will ever have to face.
To say I was impressed with the experience would be an understatement. I am so grateful that we have this level of care available. I am thankful for the researchers who have made remarkable discoveries in the treatment, and soon, prevention of this disease.
And I will always be indebted to my family and friends, who continue to watch out for me and make me stop and smell the roses.
My life is settling down now, and I am convalescing at home. I hope to get back to near normal in the next 30 days. The outcome could have been very different, and I realize how lucky I am.
Mackay’s Moral: An attitude of gratitude does wonders for your health.