I’m pretty sure I contracted COVID last February 2020 before we fully understood what was going on. I had high fevers, nasal congestion, and headaches that made me feel like my head was exploding. I went to my family care doc feeling crappy with a high heart rate and he tested me for flu. Negative. “But you look just like you have the flu” he said. There were no COVID tests available so I went home, treated myself symptomatically, got better and moved on with my life thinking it was a bad cold.
Later that year, multiple people in my family got the virus. Some only lost their sense of smell. One got “myocarditis” (the virus loves to attack heart muscle), another ended up in the ICU on a ventilator (he was less than 6 y/o) and another got the monoclonal antibodies because he was older. All of them survived. It’s been a long year. I received my vaccine in Dec/Jan of 2021 and my whole family has done the same.
Y’all, as owner of Mindful, I fully believe in the power of being candid, upfront, and honest. The Delta variant is just the beginning if we don’t find a way to minimize viral transmission. We encouraged all Mindful employees to get the vaccine and for them and our patients to mask up while in the office. Texas State law allows for some wiggle room and so your individual physicians will work with you about wearing masks in the actual office. In our Fort Worth office, we’re able to do appointments outside and we’re taking full advantage of it (even at triple digit temperatures.)
In the end, science is science. Viruses are kinda like people and vending machines. When a vending machine doesn’t work, you beat it. If the candy drops, you’ve learned how to overcome the obstacle; that’s a “variant” of behavior. With viruses, the first version tries to infect you. If it doesn’t work, it will change is’s strategy and try again. That’s a “variant.” The “Delta variant” is causing all sorts of issues but there are other versions (I think we’re up to Lambda – version 11) that will come back to get us if we’re not careful. When you hear the word “endemic”, that’s superbad. It means that a virus continues to live in the general population and will create waves of infection for years going forward. There’s a very good chance that COVID is now endemic and we’ll need to have either annual shots or continued boosters. 🙁
So what can you do?
- I’m a general physician first, a psychiatrist second. As such, I fully believe in immunizations and encourage you and your family to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Regardless of your physician in Mindful, I’m at your disposal if you have questions about the vaccine. Email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. To be clear, every physician takes an oath to “do no harm.” If you decide to remain unvaccinated, we will still give you the best mental healthcare we can, regardless of your status.
- Mask up. I hate wearing a mask because it keeps me from fully seeing and connecting with my patients. I’m also in a men’s choir and it sucks to sing into a mask. But your safety comes first. Let’s work together to mask when possible and distance when masking is not possible/feasible.
- Wash your hands and don’t touch your face. We have hand sanitizer everywhere and accessible bathrooms. Please use them as often as you can.
Lastly, my main piece of advice is “don’t take it personally.” As a Black physician and business owner that survived the last 18 months, I’ve learned one critical thing: COVID doesn’t care about you or your politics. It doesn’t care your gender, sexual orientation, finances, mental health condition, location, or intelligence. Using its “spike protein”, COVID’s function is to infect and replicate and does not care about your opinion. As we go into the fall, kids will return to classrooms with a more contagious variant in their midst. I’m pretty confident that the vaccines will be approved for younger folks later this year but until then, they rely on us to keep them safe.
Please protect yourself, your family, your friends, all our kids, and the community by being mindful about your 3 options above. As always, let us know how we can help.
Brian J. Dixon, MD, Owner