Balancing Work Life During the Holidays
My fondest memories are of traveling to Grandma's house through snow packed roads, passing motels along the way with their "No Vacancy" signs illuminated. Anticipating a wonderful fun packed weekend visiting and sharing family time with cousins and other relatives. The Holidays were always exciting, full of wonderful experiences that I shared with my children while they were growing up.
The holiday season is a busy time of year. Patients want their surgeries before the end of the year because their deductible have been met, which requires that we squeeze them into our already busy schedules. Before we realize it, the holidays are upon us, and we are dealing with exhaustion from our professional life. However, we keep going because we are not quite done with our shopping, baking, and wrapping.
All of this hustle and bustle are worth it, knowing that there will be a time when we finally get the chance to relax, enjoy our family gatherings, consume our delicious home baked treats, and sip our freshly brewed coffee in front of a roaring fire. Treasured memories made and traditions carried out. However, we now have an uninvited guest "COVID-19" that has altered everything we have experienced in the past. Family gatherings now prohibited for protection of others and ourselves. No more days of shopping, exploring the many decorations and enjoying a cozy lunch. Online ordering, curbside pick up and cancellation of gatherings are increasing physician burn out. This loss of safe family gatherings during the holiday period will intensify this problem.
Alcohol and drug consumption are increasing. Legalized on-line gambling is ruining homes because of its addictive nature. The social, economics, physiological stresses are increasing, not to mention the present-day political environment. Loss of income, loss of loved ones, with no immediate end in sight will add anxiety to our already physiologically challenged selves, employees, and community. Many family members are divided politically; refusing to wear masks, arguing that COVID-19 is over publicized and not real. Inaccurate tallies of actual numbers of infected people, hospitalizations and deaths are creating overburdened stresses everywhere. None of these factors promote happiness and cheer.
However, there is an upside to COVID-19. Telemedicine is now actively used, and is a good tool for certain physicians. Promising new vaccines are being produced in record time, and families have been forced to slow down, allowing them to spend quality time with each other.
Finally, the Holidays have always been a busy time of year for physicians, which will never change. What will change, is that COVID will be controlled, which will allow our family and friendly gatherings to resume. We look forward to the days when our masks will be just another item in our already filled dresser drawers, and we will be able to remove that "No Vacancy" sign from our community hospital.
During this Holiday Season, let us take time to enjoy the few festivities we can in a safe and heathy manner. Everyone needs this wonderful time of the year to enjoy.
Judy L. Davis, DO
AOCOO-HNS Immediate Past President