Expanding Social Circles 05.07.2020

Expanding Social Circles

Thank you all for your continued support for Heritage Pediatrics as we try to figure out how to best care for your families. These past few months have been trying and your kindness and well wishes have helped keep us all going. Your willingness to allow us virtually into your homes is humbling, encouraging and even funny at times.

These are indeed unique times. We give shots in the parking lot, we have been blowing up Tik-Tok, and we even have got Dr. Fitch and Dr. Hall doing electronic scripts now. Things must be crazy!

As social distancing begins to loosen at the guidance of our authorities, we want to give you continued guidance. Trust us, we want to get you back in our office as much as you want to get out of your houses. We feel a slow and thoughtful move towards opening social contact is best. For now, we have begun to see up to 15 month-olds for checkups in our office and we reconsider these ages every week. We continue to do all other well checks and all sick visits via telemedicine and/or car visits. There may be some 4 year olds who disagree, but shots in the car have gone very smoothly and efficiently. Over the next few days we will try to address your many questions about how to open your circle, what to do about camps, and when and how to plan your summer.

Summer Plans

I know many of you are wondering and asking: What about summer camps? What about public pools? What about play dates for my kids? What about my child going to swim at a friend’s house? My child care is opening up, is it safe to send my kids back since I need to go back to work?

Many of you who have asked us these questions are not surprised that we don’t have a simple “yes” or “no” answer. I think we all agree we want our current situation to be over. Like us, many are worrying about the, neglect, abuse, depression, delayed care, poverty and homelessness that this pandemic has produced.

As our government authorities relax social isolation, when is it safe for my children and family to be back into their normal routines? In general COVID-19 has not been as severe in children as it is in the elderly and vulnerable. Yet children can still be silent carriers of this deadly disease, and we have to consider this as we balance moving forward.

So, our first advice over the next couple weeks as things open up is to be cautious. Moving forward is going to be about managing risk. And your risk will look different than others. But we all live in the same community and share risk.

Consider your risks of opening your social circle: The risk of our kids going back to daycare, camps and public pools is low but real. Your child may be fine, but can you miss work or be hospitalized? Would that put people around you who are vulnerable at risk? Think of all of your contacts and balance that with your own comfort of contracting illness.

Consider the risks of keeping your circle closed: How are you and your family handling the mental strain of isolation? If your source of income manageable from home? Do you have family members that really need you?

We recommend you balance these risks and consider your obligation to self, family, and community. It is so important to remember that we live in community. Our actions are clear to our neighbors and may leave them feeling uncomfortable or even excluded. Even if we think we are being responsible, are we hurting our relationship with our neighbor because they don’t agree with us?

So, our last encouragement is that we need to be charitable with one another. Obviously none of us should be foolish or reckless. We need to follow city and state ordinances. We should wear our masks in public and maintain social distance as best we can. But, some families will have more comfort with risk than others. So please, don’t judge a family because they are making a decision that is different than you are making. And, don’t get your feeling hurt if a family turns down an offer to come over to your house. We are all learning what our comfort level is. So, we must be patient with each other.

Writer Damien Barr noted that “we are all in the same storm, but we are all not in the same boat.” Some of your boats look pretty good right now. Your jobs are secure, your children healthier than ever and you are enjoying your extra time with your family. Others of you have a boat that seems to have too many holes to fix and you feel like you are drowning. If you are a patient at Heritage, you are our community. Please reach out to us if you are in one of those boats that is going down. We may not be in the same boat, but we want to help your boat get safely to the shore. The storm will end!! Let’s all work together to help each other to weather this storm.

Heritage Pediatrics continues to maintain the same hours and there is always a doctor on call when the office is closed. Please don’t hesitate to call if we can help you in any way.

The Doctors and Staff of Heritage Pediatrics