A Message of Hope & New Beginnings: 2 Years after Covid
A Pediatrician’s Perspective
Hope after Covid: From the Perspective of a Pediatrician
By Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.
I know it’s been a while. The truth is that even though I haven’t written in a while I haven’t stopped thinking about you. Every time I sat down to write something I just couldn’t find the right words to say because the world is just a little crazy right now. Like you, I’ve been trying to process it and make sense of what it all means and I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it can be overwhelming to say the least.
But I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting. This year will be 25 years since I graduated from Medical School. It’s crazy to think so much time has passed, but it has. Also, at the end of 2021, I left my job of 14 years, so there have been a lot of personal changes in my life as well.
I think when you reach certain milestones in your life, it makes you take a step back and just kind of pause to regroup and focus on the direction you want your life to go.
The Beginning of DRVCARES
In 2018, I started writing my blog at www.drvcares.com. I started to write it to share my thoughts as they came up in patient visits. In the last 25 years of taking care of kids and their families I have learned a great deal not just about pediatrics but about people.
Being a pediatrician brings you into the lives of not only children, but their families as well. I have seen so many different families walk through my doors, all different, yet the same in so many ways. I have seen people go through personal traumas and physical traumas. I have seen families and kids lose loved ones. I’ve seen new families start and grow. I have seen parents finally have the baby they tried years to have. I’ve seen kids die of cancer and others recover. I’ve seen parents helping their newly diagnosed diabetic child understand their diagnosis. I’ve seen families and couples struggle through heartbreaks, disappointments and divorce. I’ve seen so much more than just sick and well kids. Pediatrics is so much more than that. It’s about relationships and about trust.
The funny thing is that patients come to see me when they aren’t feeling well or when they need their child checked for a physical, behavioral or mental health issue. They want reassurance and guidance. What they don’t realize is that each and everyone of them has taught me so many lessons. Lessons about resilience, adaptation, vulnerability, hope and love.
Given the state of the world today, I’ve decided to focus these blog posts on ways to keep you and your family emotionally and mentally strong. By sharing ways that I have witnessed families and patients beat the odds and change the trajectory of their life, I hope it will inspire you to share this with your children. Yes, the world has a lot of hate and sadness, but it is also filled with wonderful people, love, experiences and happiness. This is what I chose to focus on and this is what I hope to share with you here.
So, I have decided that the focus of this weekly newsletter will be about how to help you and your children grow emotionally stronger together.
We are getting close to the 2 year mark in the pandemic…..yeah…hard to believe that 2 years ago our entire worlds flipped upside down. When I look back sometimes it feels so long, but other times it feels like yesterday that I walked into an exam room and actually was scared not only that I would get sick, but that I could possibly bring home a virus that could make my family sick.
I have been practicing medicine for almost 25 years and I have never felt that. But here is the worst part, the patients were so scared too. I heard little kids crying, worried that their moms were going to die. I heard teens tell me that they didn’t think life was worth living any more (too many times to count), I heard parents tell me that they were exhausted and were crying in my office more than ever before. And this time, this time, I found it hard to find the right words to reassure them. Everyone seems to need something different…..
Some just want knowledge and they want to understand the science behind the virus, vaccines etc. Some just want to know that their kids will be okay and that their spouse who is in the hospital will come home. Some just need a hug. But all of them want someone to listen to them and care about them. All of them. So I’m focusing my efforts in this year of transition in my life to educate, empower and bring hope to as many families as I can through the use of social media and my virtual presence.
Never in my years of training has a new virus changed so many things. This tiny microscopic thing changed the world.
4 Things I learned from my Patients and from this Virus
Let me share with you what I learned from my patients and this virus.
- Vulnerability- Definition: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
Yes, we are very vulnerable. Even though we seem tough on the outside, this virus reminded us of our vulnerability. But here’s the thing….vulnerability also encourages the most authentic version of yourself to come out. It shows others who you really are and allows for more meaningful connections with others. So the virus reminded me of this.
- Resilience- Definition: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
This is pretty self-explanatory as we have heard and witnessed countless stories about people who recovered from Covid and families that lost loved ones, yet gathered the strength to keep going and showing up for those left behind. This has been especially true of our health care workers, and all of our essential workers that did not have the luxury of staying home. The virus reminded me of how resilient the human spirit is.
- Adaptation- Definition: a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment. We had no choice on this one! We were forced to adapt to this new world that we are faced with. We have felt a roller coaster of emotions in the last 2 years. We have found new ways to cope and new ways of looking at our lives and our relationships. The virus reminded me of how adaptable we are – The kids have been amazing at adapting. I am still in awe.
- Hope – Definition: : to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true. Hope. If you read any book about the human spirit when faced with adversity, you will always find a common theme amongst the survivors. The message is one of HOPE. When they had nothing left to hold on to, they hung onto hope. The virus reminded me of this too.
So I will leave you with this and I hope that my email encourages you to reflect on what the virus has reminded you of too.
Remember that you are not alone and that we will get through this together.
Have a wonderful week,
Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.
P.S. Please follow me on instagram https://www.instagram.com/dr.elizabethvainder for tips on pediatric care (if you’re on instagram) and share with a friend that might enjoy being a part of my community and this journey we are on together.
‘Till next week!