The Rollercoaster of Life

Grandma: “I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the rollercoaster. You get more out of it”

I always loved the movie “Parenthood” from 1989 with Steve Martin. It cracked me up when the Grandma gives this fabulous quote about the rollercoaster as a a metaphor for life and then proceeds to get in the wrong car.

I think I have certainly experienced every emotion possible in the last 6 weeks or so. I don’t know about you all, but I have travelled through each emotion multiple times each day since Covid 19 started. Initially, I have to admit that I was rather cavalier about the virus, compared to flu statistics and sort of wanted to blow it off. The first wave of reality hit when I went to pick up my daughter from school after one of her first softball tryouts. She came running out frantically to the car. I was ecstatic assuming she must have made the team. Instead she revealed that school was shut down for the next few weeks due to coronavirus. That was the first wave of realization that this shit was getting real. We suffered thru some e-learning growing pains and managed to get into a groove. I even made a daily schedule with a Pinterest flare that quickly made me feel like a failure when we deviated.

The next realization was that I was going to be exposed and then bring it home to them. We started doing 2 week rotations of seeing patients in clinic and then doing virtual visits for the following 2 weeks from home. This was exciting because I can’t imagine a time that I would ever be able to actually work from home. But I had to get thru the 2 weeks without getting sick in order to have that priveledge. Then there was guilt. I thought I should be doing more and offer to work on the inpatient Covid unit. But, if I did that then my kids would have both parents working with Covid patients and then we certainly both die and leave them orphans (yes, a little catastrophic thinking is always where my mind goes) So we agreed that one of us was ok to stay back until it became a necessity.

I said goodbye to my partners and coworkers and we begin the rotations into clinics that were unknown and tried continue to see our own patients via video and phone visits and those for acute visits that were screened “safe” to come in. I had a few patients that had tested positive but were doing well enough to stay at home. I video visited with them and we did supportive measures to help them through. This was the new normal that I settled into until the REALITY hit. On of my patients turned for the worse. He was in his forties and on about day #8 he tanked and wound up on a ventilator. His wife was at home with kids and grandkids and couldn’t even talk to him. She got reports from the physicians and I called her to give her emotional support. I was powerless and he was declining. It was then when I realized how this virus devastated. It creeps in and then changes the symptoms without warning, separating family and leaving patients scared and alone. I sobbed alone, got incredibly anxious, and got irrationally mad. I snapped at my kids and was just downright bitchy. My emotions were all over the place for a few days. I started stress eating and threw in the towel on my daily exercise. I was binging movies since the insomnia had crept in. Then, I immersed myself in Covid world. I read studies on treatment, listened to every daily update from my institution, talked about it constantly and went a little insane. More horror stories emerged, another patient of mine wound up ventilated after contracting it from her husband. Her husband actually passed away while she was in the ICU and her son couldn’t be there to deliver the news after she was extubated. Horrifying!

I don’t share these things to scare anyone. It’s just my journey over the past few weeks and I’m not even including all the gory details of what a rollercoaster this has been. I have so much gratitude that I have a job and realize that so many are out of work right now which makes this all so much tougher. I know you are all going through similar emotions and hope you feel free to reach out to friends, family and physicians if you need help. Feel free to share your experiences here as I really think there is so much to learn in our stories.

As an update, all my patients so far have made a full recovery and continue to improve daily. I can only pray that we are trending down and this won’t surge again. My family continues on a high speed carnival ride of emotion but we are dealing a little better. The nicer weather has helped as we are back to exercising outside. We found some projects around the house and have tried to do some healthy meals again (less comfort food and door dash)

Hang in there everyone!!!

Posted on by Angela in Uncategorized 14 Comments

14 Responses to The Rollercoaster of Life

  1. Sandy Doell

    I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve actually wondered and worried about you and your staff. Along with everyone else I know. Please be careful.
    And thanks for sharing all the emotions you’ve gone through and the behavior that you’ve tried to make yourself feel better. One day I’m determined to go walking, and then the next three I’m afraid to stick my head out. Insomnia, unhealthy eating, video games, binge watching TV. I’ve done them all, and it’s comforting to hear that you have too, that I’m not just weak.
    I need to remind myself that “this too shall pass.” Because it will, but while we are in it, it’s pretty overwhelming.

    • Angela

      It’s a different world for sure –Thank you for your honest response! I am so glad you and your family are all ok. xoxo

  2. Debra G

    Well said, Doc.

    • Angela

      I’m glad you are well!! Hope to see you soon! (in good health)

  3. Louise Watkins

    Dr. Angela, thank you for sharing. I have not really heard of anyone close to me getting the virus. I pray continually for my family and friends. I’m not sure what the Lord has in mind, but when this is all over something GOOD will come out of this. Thank you for being my doctor. You are the BEST! Take care of yourself and family. You are NOT alone. God Bless You!

  4. JoAnn Hermon

    Thank you for showing us that your behavior has been just like the rest of us and that your emotions have been all over the chart just like us. We have been in AZ all winter but are returning to IN this next week with a little apprehension too because IN has had so many more cases and deaths than AZ has. We just hope we are making the right decision

    • Angela

      I am sure all will be well when you return. Safe travels and thank you for sharing!

  5. Angela

    I agree! Good will certainly come of all of this– Stay well!

  6. Tim McWhirter

    Thank you for all of your honesty Jan and I are sure glad that your physician . I really enjoyed the read and to get your insight on the things that’s happened to you . Jan and I are a little more fortunate being retired. Our kids pick up some of our groceries . I got a jump on the groceries bought a lot of stuff couple weeks before the Quarantine happened expecting us to have all the grandkids for who knows how long . The parents were lucky enough to rotate at their jobs so one would be home with her children all the time . We are watching two of our grandkids five days a week which keeps us really busy then A lot of binge watching Netflix too. You are an awesome Doctor and person.

    • Angela

      I am so glad you are all doing ok! I am sure the grandkids keep you hopping! I’m glad the weather is nicer so we can all get outside a little as well! Hang in there

  7. Daniel Lynn

    Your story proves how in touch you are with us non-medical people. I have always been in awe how you listen to me intently when I am complaining.

    • Angela

      I hope you are doing well and not going stir crazy!! Hope to see you in person soon for your next visit!

  8. Linda Foster

    Thank You Angela for being my physician and you are always finding ways to make myself and all your patients feel better. You and your staff are incredible. Stay Happy,Healthy,and God Bless you, your family and all the staff in your office.

    • Angela

      Awe thank you Linda!! I hope you are staying well also! I’m looking forward to seeing patients in person again too!


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