Open letter from a high-risk patient during the COVID-19 crisis (Opinion)
Dear Dr. Michael Disciglio,
As you know, my husband is what you would call a “high-risk” patient. He’s over 65, he’s a lung cancer survivor, and he has Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure with a smidge of early heart disease thrown in to boot. I make him sound sickly, but you know him. God has blessed him with the constitution and energy of a healthy 40-year-old. And the positive attitude to match.
So after a relative was diagnosed with COVID-19 after we attended a family function a few weeks ago with him (before this s*** hit the fan), we became concerned when my husband developed a pretty nasty cough and sore throat. Not wanting to be alarmist, (and because my husband thought I was crazy,) we put off the call to you. After a few days, we gave in and called.
You’re undoubtedly overwhelmed with questions at this difficult time: people panicking, crying, confused and scared. You’re probably hearing ridiculous questions from people who aren’t sick and unanswerable ones from people who are. You’re probably learning more right now on a daily basis about ONE disease than you have in the past few years about several. And I bet you’re exhausted.
You put my husband and me at ease at once, asking all the pertinent questions, sounding calm and even-toned. You were confident and knowledgeable, professional and on the ball as always, yet somehow also sounded caring and sympathetic — even though you’re probably answering the same questions over and over again. You allayed our fears immediately and even though you probably have dozens of patients just like my husband, you acted like his health was your only concern -- not like you had scores of men and women lined up right after him.
Recently, I heard a doctor say, “This virus is smarter than we are,” and I thought it was the most frightening thing a doctor could say out loud. Even if it’s true, you never made us feel that way. In fact, you sounded more like “we got this. ”It’s medicine the way I remembered it being practiced in the “good old days” and it couldn’t be more appropriate and necessary right now.
Thank you for being there for my husband and my family.
More from New Jersey 101.5: