Since starting medical school back in 2006, I have worked through multiple natural disasters and outbreaks. I can’t even recall them all, but I remember surviving Hurricane Dean while I was a medical student on the island of Dominica. During my psychiatry residency, I worked in a psychiatric emergency room in Brooklyn during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. In addition, I worked on the frontlines in New York City hospitals during multiple epidemics and a pandemic, including Zika Virus, H1N1, and Ebola.
In addition to working during natural disasters and outbreaks, I have always had a penchant for running during them and can proudly say that I have run in/through pretty much every single natural disaster and outbreak for the past two decades.
However, things are slightly different this time around. The Coronavirus pandemic is upon us, however, for the first time, I am lucky enough to be working in telemedicine (telepsychiatry). Instead of being on the frontlines in the emergency room, covered in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), I will be seeing patients through a computer screen and without the fear of contracting a highly contagious virus. I feel exceedingly lucky to have this opportunity in my life, however I am acutely aware that most of my friends in medicine do not have this luxury. To all of my brothers and sisters out there – physicians, nurses, social workers and everyone else on the frontlines – you have my utmost gratitude and respect. I know what it means to put your lives on the line, and I cannot thank you enough for all that you do. Really, I cannot!
Even though I won’t be working in the trenches during the Coronavirus pandemic, I will stick to my routine of running during this time. In fact, I know that running right now is probably one of the best things that I can do to combat becoming sick. I am taking all precautions and am washing my hands religiously, only running outside in large open areas, and avoiding crowded areas. However my runs will continue to be my way of staying sane during these insane times.