For a pandemic and quarantine that has lasted about 18 weeks, it is safe to say that most of us are really feeling just a bit ready to be done with it, right? One would think that also means that by now, we will have heard it all, seen it all and know it all, right? Sorry to say that the answer is “yes” to the first one and “no” to the second one. Let me share some facts that are part of what I would call the emerging story of COVID-19.
Test – We are still faced with limited testing for COVID-19 in most parts of the country. But if you are looking to be tested because you feel symptomatic or are worried that you have been exposed, be prepared for potentially very long waits and know that you likely will have to have authorization signed by your provider. And check with local Public Health officials for free testing sites near you.
Model – Some of the evolving opinion on how we need to handle this unprecedented pandemic suggests that an example that can guide us is how we eventually came to manage HIV/AIDS: testing, contact tracing, treatment and changes in behavior. We are hopeful to add to this a vaccine for COVID-19, but without one, the first three are key to bring the numbers down.
ZOOM – is a great way to keep in touch while maintaining safe distance, but treat this also like phone calls or home visits when it comes to family. Set loving limits on the time you spend, especially if you already are aware boundary issues with a parent. It’s complicated.
Read – We are not plugging a specific retail source here, but consider supporting the local bookstores still remaining who are suffering from no foot traffic or browsers. Go to their web sites. There are also great sources for e-books such as your local public library or a site called Book Bub.
Move – More important than ever get your daily step quota in…and more. Set yourself new goals for upper body strengthening or perhaps consider a diet. I heard some good advice from a professional I know recently. Don’t think of it as losing weight, because you will be tempted to quit the diet and go find the weight again later. Think of it as “releasing the weight.”
Health – Don’t skip your medical appointments, even if they call it an “elective procedure.” Also contact your provider to see if they offer telemedicine alternatives. You ZOOM family and friend; why not get face time with your provider?
Treatment – We are not there yet. Hydroxychloroquine still does not have much support for efficacy, and it can increase QT Prolongation, a heart abnormality that is dangerous. Kaletra, an anti-retroviral used to treat AIDS, shows no efficacy yet and can cause pancreatic inflammation, liver problems and bradycardia in the heart other side effects. Remdesiver offers a better picture with very recent clinical data showing a 62% greater chance of survival than current standard of care treatments. The BCG tuberculosis vaccine also shows some promise in helping COVID patients survive.
You. I write often about how important it is for the caregivers to care for themselves. That’s another way of saying “it’s okay to care for you.” Put yourself at the top of each of your “to do lists.” Because – as I have said also – if you do not take care of you, who will? So, please move this one to the top of this list also!
Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago. She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.