Part 3: March: "This is for real!"
Initially, March 2020 felt like more of the same: A disaster was looming but the reality had not yet arrived.
I had more frustrating issues in the office: Diabetics could not afford basic medicines, including insulin, even when they had health insurance. The Walmart versions of NPH and Regular were affordable, but awful substitutes. Diabetes has become a disease that costs a couple of thousand dollars per month to treat. It's insane!
Meanwhile, March Basketball Madness was getting ready to start and my favorite UVA team was starting to look strong. Basketball is a game that never seems settled until the final second passes. It makes for a lot of palpitations. I decided to make the following cartoon. Getting in the Sunday Section of the paper means you have to send in your cartoon several days in advance. This cartoon never saw the light of day:
Within 24 hours of submitting the cartoon, NCAA Basketball was cancelled. The country was freaking out. ...And toilet paper became a hot commodity....
About ten days into March, elderly people with chronic illnesses locked themselves up in their homes. No one dared enter a doctor's office. The hospitals started adding disaster beds. Every 12 to 24 hours, the hospitals issued updates. Our office encountered our first Coronavirus patients.
It was a time of panic. How do we protect ourselves? How do we protect our patients? Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was non-existent. A practice is a business, with employees and expenses. We furloughed staff. Our older staff decided this was the time to retire. For the first time, we wondered if our practice could survive.
Televisits arrived. They weren't perfect, but it allowed us to take care of patients. What we were seeing and hearing was alarming. The struggle to care for Covid-19 patients was real.
The joke is old, but I still like it...
Meanwhile, families were isolating at home. For many, it was not going well....