601 A Leah Avenue San Marcos, TX 78666 Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
1009 W. San Antonio Street Lockhart, TX 78644 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month
‘EAR, NEWS, AND THROAT’
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Adapting to Unexpected Changes
Of all the unexpected things that happened over the last fewmonths, the most surprising for me was the fact that, in the middle of a global pandemic, my wife and I got sick less often than we usually do. This probably had something to do with the fact that Audrey wasn’t going to preschool during the stay-at-home order and therefore not bringing all those extra germs into the house. The school she goes to is very nice, but anyone who’s ever been around toddlers knows that they could give Typhoid Mary a run for her money. Spending weeks stuck at the house made us all a bit stir-crazy, but we knew how important it was for us to stay healthy, especially Renee. There’s no research to suggest that pregnant women are more at risk for COVID-19, but she wasn’t about to take any chances. We all stayed home as much as possible. Renee did her exercise classes online, and we got pretty familiar with what Netflix has to offer. I’m incredibly grateful that we were able to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. At work, we have made some changes to help keep everyone as safe as possible. When the virus was ramping up, I had to adapt the office to provide telemedicine. This wasn’t something I’d ever done before. Only patients with emergency cases were allowed to physically come in the office, so I was glad I could still provide an option for patients who needed a checkup or a consultation. When telemedicine works, it’s pretty great. We can just send the patient a link over text message that will bring them directly to the video chat. Unfortunately, it only worked sometimes. All too often, the program would crash, and we had to continue the appointment over the telephone. While having telemedicine as an option was good, it’s not well-suited for the ENT specialty. I was still able to help patients and make a good guess about what they were experiencing, but it’s hard to look in someone’s ears over video chat. That said, as we recover, I think we’ll continue using telemedicine as an option for nonemergency situations.
It’s going to take a while for things to go back to normal. We can’t just jump back into business as usual. It could take months for the world as a whole to recover. During that time, our team at the office will be doing our part to keep people safe. I am seeing more patients in the office, with the following heightened safety measures in place: 1. All patients must bring and wear a mask the entire time they are in the office. Cloth or other homemade masks are acceptable. We have a very limited supply and cannot provide masks. Any patient who arrives without a mask will be turned away and rescheduled to a later appointment.
2. No patients will stay in our waiting room. Knock on the clinic door and someone will bring you straight back to the exam room.
3. There will be a maximum of one new patient and two follow-up patients per hour in the office. This should minimize delays.
4. New patients must do their intake paperwork ahead of time through the online portal or by printing it at home. If this is not possible, you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointment time and fill out paperwork in your car.
5. Only the patient will be allowed in the office. For children and adult patients who require a caretaker, one adult may accompany the patient.
6. My staff and I will wear masks during all patient encounters.
7. We are performing diligent hand-washing and extra cleaning precautions.
8. We have placed HEPA air scrubbers in each exam room. These will remove over 99.9% of respiratory droplets and other contaminants from the air.
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