Imagining a pandemic as a physician novelist [PODCAST]

“There are some things that we are living through as a result of COVID-19 that I did not imagine in my fictional account. For example: the timeline. As we are now four full months into this pandemic in the U.S., some experts estimate that we are still early in the game. As one doctor put it, we are only at about the twenty-yard line of the football field. My imagined timeline was much shorter. Another thing I didn’t foresee was the perception of danger dividing along political lines. In fact, I imagined the opposite: that people would, in the name of self-preservation, view with suspicion any political down-playing of the danger of a global pandemic and insist on any means possible of protecting themselves. And among the most devastating consequences of this pandemic that I hadn’t imagined for my novel was the situation of people dying alone in hospitals without their loved ones. Not being able to hold the hand, give a final hug, say goodbye.

Undoubtedly, penning an imaginary pandemic is much less stressful than living through one. Living through a pandemic day by day has carried with it a chronic anxiety that I did not anticipate: not just the fear of contracting the illness, but the constant worry of pre-symptomatically transmitting it, thus second-guessing every errand, every visit to loved ones. As we all work through this unprecedented medical crisis, I hope we continue to make steady progress in treatment and prevention of this devastating illness. Stay safe.”

Teresa Fuller is a pediatrician.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Imagining a pandemic as a physician novelist.”

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