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Short or long game?

Written by Emily Hartmann MD

May 7, 2020

These days I’d like to put my head in the sand and wait for this all to be over…
(Inserts head in sand)
…Waits a few minutes…
…Gets bored and hungry…
(Lifts head from sand)
I guess I have to face the music!
Closing my business was a hard enough decision to make but deciding when, and how, to reopen is challenging my Pollyanna (always looking on the bright side) way of life. When the coronavirus forced us to halt surgery, and close our doors, I found the decision relatively straightforward given the magnitude of what was possibly coming our way. Once the footage from Italy was visible, I knew it was the right thing for my patients, our community, and the world at large. My heart sank for my staff, some of whom went on unemployment, but somehow, I knew they would be okay once we reopened our business.
Then I baked and cleaned, baked and cleaned, baked and cleaned….for an eternity- much like many, I presume. Honestly, my family and I have never felt closer in a weird COVID-19 bonding sort of way. In a somewhat dismal way, I feel grateful, and privileged, to have spent this time with them.
At work, my busy surgery schedule, full of cosmetic patients, was rescheduled accordingly. Mentally, I prepared to return to work the first week of May… And, well, what’s that they say about the best-laid plans? Now we find ourselves in that week of May and I’m still pushing back surgeries. Will people be upset with me? Will they cancel surgery? Will they go somewhere else? How will my practice survive? How will I put food on my, and my staff’s, table? Future plans, hopes, dreams, vacations… All these thoughts begin to swirl around in my head.
BREATHE – in for 2, out for 4, in for 3, out for 6…repeat
LISTEN TO THE VOICE – She says, “Stay the course, all will be okay in the end, do what is right.”
I’ve refocused my energy to play the LONG GAME. What is right for my community is my ultimate responsibility and this must be weighed on a daily basis. In the meantime, we will make sure we are the SAFEST facility possible for when we are ready to be back in action. I’ve come too far to let this destroy what I have built. I hope for the best and plan for the worst!
I will continue to turn inward to listen to my inner voice. My moral compass, which has been my ever-steady guide, I trust to not fail me now.
I know I’m not the only one experiencing the weight of these responsibilities… at least, that is, when my head is not in the sand. LOL. As much as I jest, burying my head in the sand is not an option that truly brings any REAL peace. Action is the only way forward, even if that action is STILLNESS.
I’d love to hear how YOU are managing! How do you confront the uncertainty of these new transitions we face?

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