By Katherine Lincoln, DO, MHA, FACOFP

Wow, what a weird time it’s been! As physicians, as humans, as citizens of our local communities and work families, as parents, as children, as partners, as business owners, we have had to decide how we will show up in the face of uncertainty.

Three weeks ago, our family was thinking about spring break and lining up adventures for the summer. And suddenly, it was all different. There was a hush. And whispers. And louder and louder, we have been told how serious this pandemic is. What was a meme about overreaction has now become a variance of daily life. Three weeks ago, I didn’t know anything about home school (or home learning). I didn’t know what “shelter in place” meant. I didn’t expect a letter from the New York state governor pleading with me to come practice medicine there.

Our nuclear family, like our osteopathic family, is trying to figure out how to move through this: slowly, bravely, safely. My kids have heard “don’t touch your face” more in the last month than in the rest of their lives. We worry about our parents. We worry about our patients, our jobs, our vulnerable communities.

We are trying to embrace this pause. We are doing puzzles. We are learning telemedicine. (Join ACOFP for this week’s Virtual Doctor’s Lounge on Telemedicine.) We are snuggling and popping old fashioned popcorn. We are catching up on years’ worth of OFP journals (hint, hint). We are taking slow walks outside to calm our nerves and to recall a space without fear and anxiety.

I am thankful for my profession. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for being seen as the “knower of all things” as a board-certified osteopathic family medicine physician, even when that is super scary. I’m thankful for the community of physicians around the world united by this virus. I’m thankful for people that charge into danger and I’m thankful for people who lean back and let others lead.

We will be strong for our patients. We may cry with our kids. We will plan for pivot at work. But we will get through this time of pandemic together.

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