But it’s the new normal–for the foreseeable future.
I drove to Boston yesterday for IV fluids. Before leaving the parking garage I put on both an N95 mask and latex gloves. When I got to the lobby a security guard directed me to the front desk where I was asked to check in; essentially confirming that I had an appointment. No visitors are allowed so those who accompanied patients were asked to wait downstairs.
When the elevator got to the seventh floor, I was met by a trio of nurses in full protective gear. They asked me questions (have you travelled to Italy, Iran or China…) and then took my temperature. Then I was allowed to proceed to the Termeer Center.
Once there I took off my mask and gloves. Shortly after being led to my room, the patient across the hall started coughing. Eventually a nurse came and I heard him ask her if this was a new thing (coughing) and then told her she’d have to wear a mask.
Sigh. I brought it up with my nurse who acted as if I had inappropriately mentioned a stain on the floor. I said it was getting harder to be a cancer patient and she responded that it was becoming more difficult to provide medical care.
Well yes, but being a care provider is a career choice, whereas being a cancer patient is just shitty luck. And, should she come down with coronavirus, they would still treat her.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my predictions per triage are likely going to come true. I was interviewed for this article by Liz Szabo of Kaiser Health News pertaining to the shortages of ICU beds and ventilators and how it might impact my community. More disturbing yet is the story in today’s NYT about the discussion as to prioritizing care held by hospital representatives in Washington State.
“They look at the criteria — in this case it would likely be age and underlying disease conditions — and then determine that this person, though this person has a chance of survival with a ventilator, does not get one,” Ms. Sauer said.
“This is a shift to caring for the population, where you look at the whole population of people who need care and make a determination about who is most likely to survive, and you provide care to them,” she said. “Those that have a less good chance of survival — but still have a chance — you do not provide care to them, which guarantees their death.”
As I stated in the earlier article, “Those of us with lung cancer are among the most vulnerable,” Olsen (sic) said, “but instead of being viewed as someone to be protected, we will be viewed as expendable.”
It is an incredibly frightening and uncomfortable position to be in. Knowing that when the time comes, those of us with underlying illnesses will be sacrificed for the greater good. Not by choice, but rather by consensus/mandate.
In the meantime, my best chance for survival is to avoid exposure. Because if I do get coronavirus, I am likely screwed.