Here are some words of wisdom from our amazing Medical Director, Dr. Lawrence Goldyn. He sent this to our staff yesterday and we wanted to share it with you.
My dear co-workers:
This is not my first epidemic. I applied to medical school because of the effect of AIDS on my community, where it cut a swath through overlapping friends, patients, loved ones, and colleagues. My role as an HIV provider has been one of the great privileges of my life. Here are some of the things I have learned.
People are scared. It brings out the best and the worst in them. We will see both the good and the bad in expected, and sometimes unexpected places. We will see selfish hoarding, stigmatizing and abandonment of the ill. We will see old hurts and grudges played out. We will also witness breathtaking selflessness and kindness.
Embrace your fear. Do not let it overwhelm you. Talk to your family, colleagues, and friends about your fears, but pay attention to your audience. If you seem afraid to those who look to you for guidance you might scare them even more. If you feel overwhelmed, look for professional help without embarrassment.
Seek out distraction and entertainment. Avoid the news for a while. You’ll catch up with it.
Find solace at whatever altar comforts you. This might include a traditional house of worship, the woods, or the seashore. It might be a quiet place in your home or your garden.
Be thankful. You have a job. It is not just a source of income, which so many people are losing. It is also a place where you can concentrate on vital tasks and escape from some of the stressors at home.
Stand up for science. Science is the antidote to the ignorance that promotes fear. Science will bring us back to some kind of normalcy. I saw great scientists mocked and harassed during the early days of the HIV epidemic. They stuck to their principles. Ultimately they saved millions of lives. They rank among my heroes.
Be proud of what you are doing. Embrace your heroism, but do it with humility. This capacity to do monumental work fell into our laps. Some people spend a lifetime looking for something to participate in that is bigger than themselves.
What we do here is beyond important. We are not caring for patients in Intensive Care Units, but we are saving lives. If you doubt how heroic your work is, go online and search for “applause for health care workers.”
I applaud all of you.
Lawrence Goldyn, MD