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Mending the Nets

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sat, 01/20/2024 - 12:06

For three years my husband and I felt the safety nets surrounding our existence had been tearing. Nothing seemed safe anymore. We couldn't gather together for fear of spreading a deadly disease. Big hole. Our medical providers were overstretched and systems were failing. Big hole. Supplies of medical equipment necessary to treat the sick had been neglected and replacements were not available. Big hole. Supply lines for basic daily needs were interrupted and we scrambled to make do. Big hole. 

We learned to use what we had in our pantrys when we could not figure out ways to shop or organize deliveries. We figured out how to connect safely by using the internet and doing some online gathering. Artists provided free entertainment online so we could have some relief from the daily news of death and more death. We spent time organizing our living space, well some of us! We discovered old hobbies and looked for new ones. We were learning how to patch some of the holes. 

But we still lacked the safety we were used to. The world outside felt dangerous. A drive to the pharmacy to pick up medication became an event. Trips for medical appointments were reduced to online or phone calls. Groceries were delivered and left on the porch until we could retrieve and decontaminate them in fear of a stray virus or germ. We were living in a world at war with something we could not even see. Our ground was shaky. The news was bad. Everyday, the news was bad. 

We had lost our regular medical provider to retirement just before the pandemic. We found another doctor, more local, but in a brand new practice. We visited the office a couple of times for routine appointments, but never felt like systems were safely in place. The building itself was under reconstruction, and even finding a way in to the office became a puzzle. Then, when both of us came down with the disease we had been avoiding for three years, it was Thanksgiving and the doctors office shut down completely, even for phone calls, through the weekend. We were in freefall. Thankfully we were able to manage our symptoms, and after three weeks we finally both tested negative. But the experience had shaken us. We looked for a new provider. And through a round-about recommendation from an old friend, we found one. 

How pleasant to be met with friendly, efficient front office staff. How amazing to find that the doctor had time to spend with each of us without rushing! There were onsite services that seemingly had vanished from other practices. Blood was drawn right there in the office, x-ray taken, and referrals for other tests made with clarity and concern for ease of access and close proximity. We left the office feeling heard, cared for, and impressed with the obvious professionalism and kindness that we had been used to many years ago. The whole experience had given us reassurance that there had been a major repair to one of our nets. And that, for seniors, is important. We are grateful. And we will continue to look for more ways to mend our nets. ball of string on netted pattern

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