I am so over being productive.

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This whole pandemic has definitely been a test of strength, fear, ingenuity, and self-direction. Ever since that fateful day in March when the governor issued the stay-at- home order, life has changed. I have to admit that initially I mentally greeted the stay-at- home order with a positive spirit and a can-do attitude. I got creative at home. I spent more time with my kids. I told myself that having less patients meant more ME time that I could do with as I pleased. I cleaned rooms and reorganized, creating soothing spaces for each of my family members. I tried to read more. I tried to get to each and every project that had been hanging over my head..sometimes for years I spent more time with all of our pets… probably too much so for my dogs’ liking. I think they have not been on their recommended nap schedule for months. My overzealous attempts to lavish them with affection 24 hours a day amd dress them.in ridiculous outfits seem welcome on the surface, but I think they are just humoring me. They would really rather be getting their 15 plus hours of sleep a day. Or, they are just too tired to fight me over dress up time…lol.

I have a vegetable garden for the first time in years. I was always too afraid that I would mess up the over the top landscaping the previous owners put in. Now, I have thrown caution to the wind and dared to add my own accents and a raised garden on our deck. This is all fine a good until I eventually get to return to a regular office schedule and have to rely on my 16 year old to water it.

Once the back and forth conflicting executive orders stabilized, we were able to enjoy our quaint little cottage as well. By little I literally mean small..800 square feet. It is not a clever euphemism. It is our little patch of Heaven. I literally find my mood magically transformed just by getting in the car to go there. That is the special magic that it has. Despite the close quarters, I think we all get along just a little better when we are there.

All these things sound great….and they are, but they don’t paint the whole picture of pandemic life. The work side is crazy, but maybe not in the way that you would think. I am either at the hospital 4 hours or 25 hours and everything in between. Between asymptomatic carriers and everyone else, we are potentially exposed every day without knowing it. We dutifully take all precautions daily. I take note of all the accolades for front line workers and sing their praises also. I think that people only think of frontline workers as those in the ER or in the ICU, but truly they are everywhere. We need to recognize that. The frontline is potentially everywhere.. That’s why we all need to do our part. Please do not misunderstand. Clearly those working with the sickest of patients deserve the lion’s share of the praise. Those situations are by far the scariest. I just mean that all of us in Healthcare or in any situation that deals with the public are facing risks as well.

The office is stressful not just because of potential exposures. It is also stressful because of lack of activity. Arbitrary decisions by outside forces have attempted to render me non-essential, therefore driving patients away from my practice. I can barely fill two days of office per week but spend my days not in the office answering patient questions and offering reassurance. I spent a lot of time on social media, trying to offer support and reaffirm my presence for patients and friends. I also try desperately to come up with that perfect ad that straddles the line between reassuring and tacky to remind people to please start utilizing my business when it’s allowed. My goal is to not only survive this virus but also the potential economic ruin it leaves ( or at least the government leaves) in it’s wake.

I feel for every small business out there. I am an independent business person as well. There is no hospital backing or unemployment for me to fall back on. I have one business at 0 percent since March and one business at 20 percent. It won’t be enough if we have to hold back much longer. And yet, some equipment lenders still want their blood from this turnip. It’s as if threatening me will magically add some numbers to the zero in my bank account so that I can immediately give it to them. Go ahead. Knock yourself out I guess. I feel like a worldwide pandemic with a side of economic ruin is a legitimate excuse as any for not being able to pay all your bills right now, but who am I to say? I mean, that one has to rank pretty high up there, doesn’t it? I didn’t make it up. I am not that creative. I get it, they want their money too. However, I feel like their millions and billions of dollars in potential resources just might allow them to hold out a bit longer than I can.

I am not ready to give up. On the contrary. I am ready to snap my fingers and have this be all over. I want my staff back in the office every day, but I can’t blame them for enjoying their unemployment and I can’t blame them for not being cognizant of all of the potential overdue projects spinning around in my head if I don’t tell them. It’s just that sometimes I run out of energy to keep fighting to keep myself and everybody else motivated to keep going. I get tired of fending off everyone’s misdirected frustrations. Sometimes the perceived uneven pressure seems unfair. Sometimes I get resentful and childish and decide that no one understands like I do the potential full ramifications of this pandemic. This is ridiculous and egocentric thinking of course, but I fall prey to it from time to time. Those are the days that I find myself completely “over it” and absolutely done with coming up with new business survival ideas. Those are the days when I am definitively uninterested in being productive or putting on a brave face. Those are the days when the weight of the entire world seems to be on my proverbial back.. I feel the urge to pout or cry or yell and let the cork that is barely holding my emotions in to go flying. Sometimes the tears just start coming and I cannot stop them. Then, when it is just about too late, I stop and check myself. It really is no one’s job but mine to worry about my business or my future and it is unfair of me to even expect other people or employees to help carry the weight of all my worries. It just doesn’t work that way. I just have to figure it out myself…..and I will. This thing is NOT going to get me. Have a fantastic day!

Dr. Katz

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