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    What is your New Normal?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 24th, 2020

    What is your New Normal?

    My husband shared the following message with me that had been sent to him by email:

    Nothing should go back to normal.

    Normal wasn’t working.

    If we go back to the way things were,

    We will have lost the lesson.

    May we rise up and do better.

    Ever since he shared this with me, I have been thinking about the lessons learned and what it means to rise up and do better. What does it mean in the context of health?

    1. Self-care is definitely not selfish – it truly is life-saving. The most important thing we have is ourselves. I have said it on previous blogs – the best thing to do is not to get the coronavirus, but if we are to have a fighting chance against any disease, we need to be as healthy as we can be. We need to build our immunity by reducing stress and making sure our chronic diseases are well controlled.  Getting enough sleep, exercising and being mindful of your diet are keys to self – care.   What has been helpful for me is establishing a routine. Find your routine and stick with it. Yes, you might deviate once in a while, but having a routine means you have a blueprint to restart again.
    2. Add to your first aid kit – a thermometer and a pulse oximeter –  Although you cannot go anywhere without people taking your temperature, I like taking my temperature at home. I take a picture and present it when I enter work. My feeling is that if I am running a temperature I rather know before I leave the house. If your temperature is above 100.3 degrees, inform your health care provider. The pulse oximeter is an electronic device that clips onto your finger to measure your heart rate and oxygen saturation in your blood cells. It is useful for assessing people with lung disease.  We know that the coronavirus can affect your breathing. If you are worried that you may have shortness of breath and you are not sure, one way to check is to use the pulse oximeter and inform your health care provider of the results. You want your levels above 95%. If it is less, you want to call your health care provider. If it is under 90%, you most likely will be told to go the emergency room.  If you have high blood pressure, you should own a home blood pressure monitor. If you have diabetes you should own a home glucometer.
    3. Embrace telehealth (video) – As a physician and a patient, I am happy I have this as an option. There are times that you definitely need to be seen in the office because a physical exam is necessary, but when there is no need to for a physical exam, telehealth is available.  I am not talking about the telephone, I am talking about using video so that you can see the provider and the provider can see you.  Regardless of what type of visit you choose – telehealth or in-person, the key is to be prepared for your visit – Know exactly what you want from your visit, have all your medications at hand, know your pharmacy number and know the first day for your last menstrual period.

    Read the message again and think about what lessons you have learned for your ‘new normal’.

    FYI – National Moment of Remembrance will take place on Memorial Day, May 25th at 3:00 PM local time. Please pause and honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedom and peace. To learn more, you can click on TAPS across America.

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