I mean, really, the little, tiny, tiny pearl at the centre of all this is that it forces us to say what is essential. And part of that essentialness is connecting with other people - meaningfully – deeply. I mean that is a big part of it.
The greatest tragedy in my mind of this entire illness is the fact that people die alone. So you know in the case of Papa Doc (Dr Prowell’s brother-in-law’s father) a thing that has been really hard for our family was that they sent him directly to the ER. And his wife called me and said ‘we went there and they heard what his oxygen level was and he was coughing and that he was a physician and they took him right back him right back into the isolation area as a PUI (person under investigation) for COVID-19. And they wont let me come into the ER because I’m not symptomatic and they don’t want me to be exposed and I can’t be with him because he’s now in this isolation unit’. And that’s the last time she saw him.
Like she literally pulled up to the ER and he went in and she has never seen him again. And if he died, she would never see him alive again. And that is … the greatest tragedy.
There’s going to be so much tragedy from this, right, we’re going to lose so much life. We’re going to lose the life of people on the frontlines, our first responders, physicians and nurses, and we’re going to lose people who are young.
But among all that other tragedy is going to be that hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, before this over, will die alone. And in many cases these patients are not even attended by a physician when they are dying.