Dear NHPA Members,
During these trying times with the coronavirus pandemic, I applaud all of you for your hard work and dedication to all our patients and familia. Over the past few months in talking to my patients with diabetes, I have heard a variety of stories that have touched my heart and wished that I could do more.
One of my patients had their whole family laid off and they were struggling to make ends meet. I connected them to financial resources available to them. They felt reassured and agreed to apply
for those financial resources.
Another patient with severe hyperglycemia and in dire need of insulin, had a lot of anxiety from the pandemic and family problems that she could not focus on starting insulin. After a couple of conversations focusing on the good, the positive, and what she had control over, we had a successful video visit for an insulin teach and her glucose levels are now controlled. Last time I spoke with her she was laughing, I could hear her smile over the telephone appointment, and she stated, “¡Me ciento mucho mejor! Los malestares que tenía yá se me quitaron. Yo me salgo afuera y atiendo mi jardín, y tambien me siento a bordar. Y de los problemas…¿cuales problemas?, ¡mejor me olvido de ellos!”
Another one of my patients, who got the coronavirus and was hospitalized, is getting back to her new normal. Before she returned to work, we were working on lifestyle modifications and adjusting her diabetes regimen. She is now back to work and requested to put her lifestyle modifications on hold so that she can get used to her new routine. Once she feels she has more time, she has agreed to continue to work with me on her healthy habits.
In contrast, I have another group of patients for whom this time off has been a blessing in disguise. With the time off from work, and the support of their family, they have been able to focus on their diabetes care. Their glucose control has significantly improved and despite everything that is going on with the pandemic, they have shown what true resilience is. They are focusing on themselves, their loved ones, and taking it one day at a time. They have been able to be more mindful when eating, picked up exercising at home, have learned how to take advantage of modern technology like video visit and on-line healthcare communication, and are now using more medication mail order services.
On a more personal note, I consistently remind myself that I need to practice what I teach. At the start of the pandemic shelter-in place, I chose to work from the medical office because I wanted to make sure I had access to all necessary resources in case my patients needed them. At the same time, there was a level of anxiety within me that I could not shake off. My loving husband is a great support and I could not have made it through this shelter-in place without him. Now I am rediscovering my “new normal” and focusing on what I can control. I make a full effort to follow the strictest guidelines from the CDC to stay healthy for me, my family, my patients, and our NHPA familia.
In the coming months, I invite you all to share your stories. Please continue to submit them. There is real therapeutic value in putting down in words your experiences and sharing them with others.
Stay healthy and happy,
Dra. Maria M. Hearns-Rivas
National Hispanic Pharmacists Association