KUCHARUK: damned if you do, the same if you don't

 When the post appeared on my Facebook stream, I was shocked. An acquaintance had not only been diagnosed with breast cancer, but she had been advised that it was aggressive and had already metastasized. In her messaging, she shared that in hindsight she should have known something was wrong, but had hesitated to get checked out because of COVID, etc. The, “I am not bleeding to death, so I am not going to go to the hospital” mentality that so many of us share as it pertains to doctors visits and hospital ER visits had backfired horribly.

It is not her fault at all. We (and I am using the ‘Royal’ WE) have adopted that same mentality. During this past year of the pandemic, we don’t want to bother anyone with a ‘what if’, nor do we want to enter a hospital E.R. and a) potentially expose ourselves to COVID or b) take up valuable resources for something that could be minor.

It is a catch-22 where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I wonder if any research will be done on how many lives have been lost or compromised because of OUR PERCEPTION of the changed healthcare delivery model created during the pandemic?

I know for a fact that there are folks who refuse to visit the E.R. because they know that they may have to stay by themselves and that is something that becomes a deal breaker. Consequences: A small cut becomes an infected wound requiring antibiotics or wound care, a lingering headache that you have been over treating with pain medication was masking something more serious.

I do not blame our medical system, nor do I blame healthcare providers. I blame the pandemic; this ‘thing’ called COVID and how it has affected our personal response to our own healthcare needs. In many cases WE are making the choice to not seek medical attention because of restrictions and changes to the medical delivery model.

I am certain that our Family Physicians are equally as frustrated by our reticence to reach out when things are ‘not quite right’. I am certain that they would prefer to run a blood test or two in order to detect and subsequently ward off a potential catastrophic health situation. They won’t know and be able to treat if we don’t tell them. 

The bottom line? COVID restrictions are not going anywhere anytime soon. Stop being a martyr and make those Doctors appointments or, if necessary, take that trip to the Emergency Room.

Please. We don’t want to lose you.

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