Our forefathers have told us that out of crises, the greatest changes happen. 2020 has been an unprecedented time for all of humanity. We all have been jolted out of our individual realities and told to pause, stay home, and avoid outdoor places that have been our sources of pleasure. Undoubtedly, whether you are a hardworking clinician who is energized in these times of need, a researcher instantly told to stop your unrelated work, or a family member worried about your loved ones, this is a time of stress.
I suggest that the disease itself has the answer to what we, as a civilization, need to do to handle these times. First, we must unpack the word COVID and use the CO. Come together, as health care professionals, as humanity, as families, as communities, with our consumers, and as a world. This is the time to work together internationally to get past these times, and just as importantly, to learn to conquer future crises, such as the next zoonosis and pandemic and climate change. Moreover, it is also a time to support each other in our local communities and make sure our physical neighbors are cared for.
The CO also represents another issue that we need to consider—that of comfort and coming inward. This is a great time to experience the benefits of mindfulness. Make time to balance and move inward, learn to watch your breath and to purposely focus inward on the present, nonjudgmentally for stress relief. The book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn is an excellent way to learn about mindfulness and there are some wonderful full body scans that you can also practice with Dr Kabat Zinn online.
We also need to use the VID from COVID. We need to react virtually. We must virtually identify our patient’s needs, use virtual education and virtually care for our patients. The light bulb has been turned on, and virtual health through telemedicine is now ready for primetime.
But the VI to me also means virtue. This is the time that we, as humans, must be virtuous in what we do. Now is the time we must care for others, not for the rich to get richer and for people to worry about their own country while ignoring another’s needs.
These are difficult days; however, they are also days that will determine our future. As rehabilitation beds become repurposed for acute care needs, and our doctors get send to the emergency rooms, we must work, not just with our colleagues but also with our consumers. This will bring out the best in us, however, as we come up with new ways to do things. Attached are early copies of hand hygiene for SCI documents submitted in English and French by John Shepherd through University of Toronto and which demonstrate how rapidly wonderful work can be done. As Sir Ludwig Guttmann said this is especially the time we need to “love our paraplegics”. As rehabilitation professionals, but more importantly as people, let’s use these days to ensure that we, as a civilization, are able to sustain our abilities. Let us conquer not just COVID but let us also use this time wisely to prepare to conquer future challenges and allow all of us to sustain our abilities.
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Alexander, M. Let’s conquer COVID-19 and sustain our abilities. Spinal Cord Ser Cases 6, 19 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41394-020-0271-z
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