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COVID Amnesia

When I was in college and traveling to and from various places with friends, my mom would tell me not to get temporary amnesia when I got to my destination. This was her way of telling me not to forget to call her when I got to where I was going so that she’d know I made it safely. As you can imagine, sometimes I would forget to call her, hence her term “temporary amnesia”. “Forgetting” to call her would only get me a pass for so long and I had better remember the next time if I knew what was good for me. Even into young adulthood, I was still cautioned not to get temporary amnesia.

As a nurse practitioner, I am still caring for patients as we endure this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which is unlike anything we have ever seen before. Many other essential workers are carrying out duties needed for all of us to thrive during this time. Economic challenges are present. The news, social media, and other outlets are inundating us with sometimes anxiety-provoking information. People are having difficulties adapting to the changes that seem to happen daily. As a result, many are suffering from what I’ve named COVID-19 amnesia or COVID amnesia for short.

I define COVID amnesia as the inability to remember things and events due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

I want you to defeat COVID amnesia. Defeat it by remembering.

Below are five things to be sure you REMEMBER.

1. REMEMBER other health conditions. Don’t let COVID-19 cause you to forget about your known health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and kidney disease to name a few. Many offices provide telehealth visits during times like this, allowing you to still have your needs met while being safe from COVID-19 exposure. Please remember to continue to take your medications as prescribed. Health emergencies existed before the Coronavirus struck us and will continue after the Coronavirus pandemic is over. If you are showing signs of having a stroke, heart attack or are bleeding excessively you should still seek emergency attention and call your healthcare providers. It is not wise or beneficial to refrain from lifesaving treatments because of the Coronavirus. You should take precautions but you should still seek the help you need. Call emergency services and/or your healthcare providers for guidance and instruction as needed.

2. REMEMBER, you were once a child. Sure your child is asking a million questions about the state of the world right now including why they are out of school. You have been asking too and you are an adult. Cut the children some slack. Many of them have no idea how to process what is happening to them and around them. If you were fortunate enough to grow up with a loving parent or guardian, remember how you felt when you got to spend extra time with them or to have them play games with you? So be understanding when your child wants to play, learn or just plain get on your nerves excessively during this time. It’s up to the adult to make the most of it. If the worse that can happen is that you are “stuck” with your kids, then you are already blessed.

3. REMEMBER, you have manners (I hope). Most of you should be staying home during this time. Do your part to flatten the curve, protect yourself and your family. However, in the rare event that you must go to the grocery store or to a doctor’s appointment remember to treat people with respect. Yes, practice social distancing but don’t give people ugly looks if they walk in your direction. Don’t lose your temper on someone because they sneezed or coughed. Not only is it still cold season but allergy season has now kicked in and hasn’t even peaked yet. If you are that concerned, stay home where you should be any way or offer them a tissue and some sanitizer (with at least 70% alcohol), from a distance of course. Don’t let the Coronavirus cause you to act out of character. Kindness still goes a long way and tends to go further in situations like these.

4. REMEMBER, you have support. This is a tough time for many. There are plenty of reputable resources for up to date information such as and the World Health Organization. Though you are practicing social distancing, you likely have a way of communicating with loved ones via phone or computer. Old fashion letters still work too. Use this time to reconnect and have meaningful and supportive conversations about something other than COVID-19. Positive support is around you if you look. Celebrities including musical artists and authors are hosting free events online to uplift during this time. Hotlines are available for those who are lonely, depressed or suicidal. Google it for your area or call your healthcare provider or first responder for assistance. For every negative thing you see or read, try to offset it with something positive. This will mean changing the channel from the news for a bit. You are not going to miss a pivotal Coronavirus update by turning off the news for an hour. Trust me, even if you do, it’ll be there when you get back to your channel.

5. REMEMBER, you have faith. When all hope seems lost and when there seems to be no way out remember your faith has moved mountains. Faith has fought and won many battles. Many churches and religious organizations are streaming services online and having prayer services via the telephone. Faith is what we have when we don’t have much else. Hold on to it. Think about the worse thing or circumstance you have survived. Faith was likely a contributor to how you conquered. Try not to live like this is the end of the world. This is not Armageddon. This is not the Apocalypse. This is a very serious situation in which we all can do our part which means stay at home if you don’t have to be out. Cover your cough and sneezes. Wash, wash, wash your hands for 20 seconds. Keep your hands out of your face. Practice social distancing by staying home. Have faith. Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. We don’t know what all may happen regarding COVID-19 but we have nothing to lose by having faith that this too shall pass.

Do your part to stay healthy and safe. Pray for all those affected by COVID-19. Pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones due to this terrible virus. Pray for all of those who work in healthcare. Pray for those who may have COVID amnesia. Thankfully, for this there is a cure.

Have you kept in touch with your loved ones during this time? What strategies are you using to keep yourself uplifted and your attitude in check?

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