Yah so per usual, this blog post is just me sharing my opinions/thoughts. Ideas don’t reflect on anyone or anything other than myself, and only at this point in time — which are subject to change at any time without warning. Don’t take anything as medical or other advice. See your doctor for any questions 😀
I just got off a call from the Florida Dept of Health, stating I have been exposed to someone who tested (+) for COVID19; I am at medium risk; and to call them back if I experience any fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Otherwise, I am to quarantine myself until March 23 (4 more days).
It’s a scary virus: here’s a one-pager info sheet on the virus (for providers), and several articles out now including this review article which came out 5 days ago. Other helpful info: this NYer article on How to Practice Social Distancing, this article on how to properly hand-wash.
Am I an asymptomatic carrier? Or perhaps I didn’t get it at all? We’ll most likely never know (hopefully – unless I develop symptoms and get tested).
I am fairly certain I know where and how I got it. Am I surprised? Not really. I mean, I’ve certainly had exposure to tons of people who could’ve had it. I’ve been on internal medicine rotation at a hospital, where I see patients every day, plus we go to morning report and noon conference where we’re in a small room with dozens of healthcare professionals who have each seen dozens of patients themselves… It was bound to happen sooner or later. (America, as a whole, decided to respond later, which means more spread of the virus that could’ve been contained earlier, but I digress.) So actually, I’m fairly certain my exposure was NOT from the wards (aka hospital), but from an appointment I had at USF main campus last week. I do feel a lil guilty about my possible asymptomatic carrier status last week and possibly exposing other people to it. I mean, USF did not shut down clinicals until 1 day ago, and I wonder how many other possible asymptomatic carriers were seeing patients… Not that we as students saw any possible COVID19 cases, including anyone with respiratory illness, so perhaps the risk was low enough…
I talked a little about this in my previous ig post, but I feel an electric energy during this time. Obviously COVID19 SUCKS majorly, as do all major diseases, but this anxious time has reinforced my decision of choosing medicine over other fields (and specifically, getting an MD, including going $$$ in debt). I am excited by every medical update: I love being able to search for and understand papers that are coming out about this virus, understand the possible routes of infection, how it impacts the body, its epidemiology. I’m not huge into doing research, but I sure look to it for guidance on medical practice, and this is one topic where new updates are emerging daily, which excites me.
Another thing I’ve been thinking of is strength of Nature. I am not religious in the sense of believing in a God, but I do believe in the all-powerful force of Nature. We humans think we are so smart — we’ve created flying planes, the ability to video chat from across the world, even AIR FRYERS! — and yet, when Nature gives us a big PUSH, we can crumble. Whether it’s a tsunami or virus that kills, we try our best to resist… but how long will we succeed? Perhaps for a long while, but surely not long-term — not if we keep going like this. I don’t think of myself as a pessimist, but I do not believe we will be around longer than the ants and termites. Sure, they are small and we like to think we are stronger than them, and yet… they have been around longer than dinosaurs. They have complex systems of communication and teamwork that are way beyond us. They sacrifice themselves for the good of the team, whereas we think of ourselves first* (perhaps not all societies, but def Western ones). And that is partially how they are so resilient.
I was wondering when our generation would feel something MAJOR. Would we be ready for it? Have we been too soft to our luxuries? I recently asked my parents about my extended family’s health history – beyond just “oh, high blood pressure and cancers”. I pressed further: “WHICH cancers? What did they die of exactly?” And I learned some very interesting things. I learned that my mom had Diphtheria AND the plague (YES, YERSENIA PESTIS!) as a kid, and almost died!! (Now her anxiety about everything makes more sense… Survival method, amirite?) My uncle died of hepatocellular carcinoma last year, after working with grains all his life (he was a farmer who was still carrying loads of heavy grains at age 65) — Aspergillus aflotoxin much? Another uncle had Cholangiocarcinoma and had the Chinese Liver Fluke!!!! COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT. My mom also said people got a worm that caused blood issues — YOU MEAN Diphyllobothrium latum which causes B12 deficiency leading to anemia?!! How cool is it that:
1) the things I learned about in medical school about these random diseases ACTUALLY OCCUR IRL, & HAVE OCCURRED IN MY FAMILY (were farmers in rural China 50 yrs ago, so it makes sense they’d have these more obscure diseases we learn about existing in 3rd world countries)
2) Because I learned about them, I was able to piece together the illnesses they had.
3) Now i know about my own history AND I’m better able to remember the diseases!!!
Education is SO SO important. If my grandma hadn’t taken my mom to the bigger hospital for intubation for the Diptheria (e.g. if she had gone to the local clinic first), my mom would’ve likely died (since the rural local clinic didn’t have intubation, and she was getting hypoxic). And my grandma only knew that it was a deadly illness because there were others in the village who had died previously, so she knew it was a very serious disease.
I had some more thoughts, but you know what, I think that’s for another time. Stay safe, and away from me for the next couple of days! Catch ya on the next post. XOXO, @TAMPAISH