Dear MotionWorks Family,
Whew! I don’t know about your family, but our family has been taking full advantage of the freedom of getting out and doing things now that the COVID lockdown is officially over! Summertime, sports, get togethers and and backyard barbeques have make this Wisconsin summer better than any other to date, and we’re just getting started!
Now that it’s been a minute since everything has “returned to normal,” it’s time to survey the damage and acknowledge the silver lining. While we all have a horror story or two as to the negative consequences of COVID in our personal lives, over the next year or two it will be interesting to see the positive changes from COVD that impact our daily lives and stick around for years to come. Some simple changes each of us has likely experienced no matter our ages (including seniors!) is improved proficiency with using technology for everything from ordering a pizza, to interacting with family on FaceTime, and the exchange of more information than ever electronically, even from the doctor’s office.
Speaking of healthcare, the impact of COVID long term is very real. The negative impact of COVID has been the number of patients who should have sought care but didn’t for serious things like heart attacks and strokes, some of whom lost their lives as a result. Some put off cancer screenings and orthopedic surgeries, leading to delayed diagnoses and treatment and prolonged pain and disability. Thankfully, now all systems are a go in every area of healthcare, and the backlogs and waiting lists for services and surgeries, and especially mental health, are starting to disappear. But the positive influence of COIVD in healthcare could be here to stay. Telehealth visits sparing families’ time and improving convenience and access to healthcare services even in rural areas are now a possibility and even the norm when appropriate. Screening panels for all viruses are now covered by insurance and result in improved care for even mundane things like sinus infections and pneumonia, resulting in more specific treatment options, reducing antibiotic overuse for viruses, and assisting in decision-making about care.
Experts feel some of the greatest changes from COVID that will affect nearly all of us to some extent now and in the future is the seismic shift of expectations in the working world. Companies are now offering more flexibility in work hours and location, with the option to spend more work days at home.
The take away for you and me right now? Kids and seniors and everyone in between suffered from the impact of social isolation, some of whom lost their lives as they quickly lost the will to live. Thankfully, in the past month, I am observing kids playing with other kids, the return of birthday and graduation parties, big weddings, and even attendance at funerals. It’s wonderful to see family reunions, family get togethers, and families and friends meeting up at parks and venues both inside and out, making up for lost time and rekindling the most basic of human need for connection.
Of all of the lessons the COVID pandemic has taught us, it’s the value of seeing another human being, interacting in person, recognizing the smile on someone’s face and returning that smile- the unspoken, non-verbal interaction. Why? Because we all now know, just as the story of Tom Hanks’ character who contrives his dear friend Wilson the volleyball to keep him company on a deserted island in the movie Castaway, it takes a village to live a life that is whole. Yes, even introverts like me need people, interaction in real life, and the love, support, and attention of others to thrive. So get out there and enjoy life to the fullest!
Dr. Jill Murphy
MotionWorks Physical Therapy