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Searching for Meaning

By Jonathan Shearin, MD

Today is Saturday, April 11, 2020, and as I look outside things have eerily changed here in Northern New Jersey.  The arrival of the Coronavirus has changed life as it was.  Every day when I peruse the WSJ, the majority of what I see is that the death toll continues to rise despite all efforts, and now the US has passed Italy for the most deaths internationally.  This truly has changed the world permanently.

Our practice is running on limited capacity, trying to keep everyone healthy, and we have had to furlough a significant amount of staff.  We are seeing emergencies, such as fractures, dislocations, infections, lacerations, as well as patients who are in severe pain, in an attempt to alleviate the emergency rooms, as the CoVid toll in New Jersey is now 44,416.  However, as I write this, I hear whispers of the infection curve possibly “flattening.” 

I always attempt to be a realist yet try to view the “cup as half full.”  Is there anything positive to be gleaned from this pandemic?  The media coverage, panic, mass anxiety, and social distancing have allowed us to be more cognizant of what truly matters in life; our loved ones, our health, and each other.  We have begun to value things that we previously took for granted.  This will be different for each of us.  

This natural disaster has brought people together, expanding the altruism that is innate to all of us as social beings. We are all focusing on what matters most–coordinating, cooperating, social distancing, and helping one another stay safe.  We are trying to find meaning, even in isolation, taking this pandemic one day at a time.

I can continue to reflect; however, I look forward to hearing what others have to say.  Good deeds are happening everywhere–thank you to our first responders, front line healthcare professionals, grocery store workers, delivery employees, and all other heroes getting us through this crisis.

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