Have you heard the phrase, “The new normal?” You will. There is truly going to be a new worldwide normal, and I’m not going to like it. Sure, some things will be good. Last night my children arranged a “Messenger” party. My children, grandchildren, Renee and I signed onto video messenger and goofed around. The little kids loved it. Messenger has an emoji function that turns your face into something else. I loved being a slice of pizza with an enormous tongue. The phrase, “Try it, you’ll like it” comes to mind.
Being with my family on the internet will never be as good as being with them in person, but it’s better than nothing. In the end, the new normal will further divide us and isolate us.
Telemed and video conferencing are taking over as the way medical care will be delivered in the future. They represent the new normal and appear to be here for good. Millennials appear to be very comfortable with telemed. Of course, many of them were already more comfortable with texting than talking.
Personally, I can’t figure out how to practice telemed. When I greeted you in the hall or in an exam room, I immediately started assessing how you were doing. When shaking hands, your skin turgor, hand grip, skin moisture and affect relayed mountains of information about your health. As you answered my questions about past and present history, I automatically recorded your physical response. Doing a telemed physical is never going to be as good as doing an actual, live exam.
The new normal will have to work without all of those clues. I’m sure artificial intelligence (AI) will join telemed in the not to distant future but for now, “Open your mouth and lean closer to the camera will just have to do.”
I’m old and will never get used to the idea that the doctor patient relationship can be eliminated without compromising care. Of course, as a doctor, I was supposed to be aloof and clinical. But as your doctor of 20 years and part of your family, you allowed me access to your most intimate fears and problems giving me a chance to help you. It was a symbiotic relationship. Helping you and your family fulfilled my needs as a doctor.
Nonetheless, the new normal is here and we’ll have to make the most of it. Tonight, have a messenger party with your loved ones. Drop me a note letting me know how you are doing. Before I leave for NC, perhaps we can have a Lake Zurich Family Practice Zoom party. Of course, I’ll have to figure out how to use Zoom.
I’ll also have to shave and dress. One of the best things about the new normal is not having to shave or dress. I’m not a pretty sight! Luckily, I married a true beauty who does not need makeup or other adornments.
One of the other good things about the new norm is being able to play anytime during the day or night. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, ready or not, here I come. Oh Renee, where are you?