We had a great conversation throughout the telehealth visit. Maybe one of the best of my week. John seemed to really appreciate our time together. We got ready to close the visit, something I still find a bit awkward over the phone. No body language to rely on or to which I can react.
You would think Zoom would be better, but I still find the closing of a Zoom meeting or visit even more strange. You say bye, but you don’t want to click “end meeting” too quick, as this could be taken as your desire to get out of there fast. Like in the pre-COVID world if you sprinted for the door.
But even worse is when neither party makes that “end meeting” click. You find yourselves staring at one another in a kind of middle school dance weirdness. Staring at each other, no longer in a meeting but also still there together. Staring. Awkward. Weird.
Back to John.
I wished him a wonderful day. About to hang up the phone.
“Doc, do I just leave the room myself?”
“Do I just let myself out?”
“I am in room 11 in your clinic.”
In a COVID-ain’t-quite-done-yet moment, I had had a 20-minute telephone conversation with someone who was sitting on the other side of the wall in my clinic. With all of my patients before John being telehealth visits that morning, I had missed the nursing triage paperwork that clearly said “Room 11” when it came to seeing John.
We laughed. John at me. Me at me.
I got up and went to room 11. We laughed some more. A hug, and then I walked him out of the clinic.
We all find ourselves in similarly strange, awkward, and hilarious moments as we emerge from the depths of the pandemic. Meetings where we don’t know if masks are required. Events where we have to clarify if it is in-person or virtual. I imagine your weekly planner is as messy as mine: “9:30 a.m. meeting, in-person. Wear a mask for this one.”
Smile, don’t frown, when this week’s COVID-ain’t-quite-done-yet moments smack you in the face. This is our reality for the next 6 to 12 months. A good sign that things are returning to normal, even if awkward or embarrassing.
Shoot, it can’t be any worse than me hearing John say, “I am in room 11 in your clinic.”
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