Covid – What is Our New Normal

We have now had some time to adjust to a new normal. We have had time to reflect on our lives, prioritize our essential needs and reconnect with our families. I’m sure all of us have swung on the pendulum of emotions, experiencing fear, anger, frustration, gratitude, and love for all we hold dear. There has been a shift in human behavior over the last couple months, and in some cases, curious and unexpected positive changes.  Doctors and researchers are noticing a dramatic drop in other infectious diseases, the skies are bluer, there’s less air pollution, and crime is falling.  The British Medical Journal (BMJ, May 4, 2020) science journalists have noted “as the coronavirus pandemic continues its deadly path, dramatic changes in how people live are reducing some instances of other medical problems…the irony may hold valuable lessons for public health.” 

As with all balance in life, the troublesome changes that have occurred are ever present as well. 

Doctors are concerned with the lack of patients that typically present with heart attacks and strokes. Perhaps there is a fear avoidance in seeking necessary medical care in hospitals due to the risk of contracting covid-19. The calls to the poison control centres are up 20% which has been attributed to the higher use of cleaners and disinfectants. This has been the case “even before President Trump questioned whether injected disinfectants might stop the virus” (BMJ, 2020)! There has been a rise in drug and alcohol use, poorer diets, unemployment and financial stress.  As we slowly come out of this, there is hope of some positive health effects from major changes in human behaviour. People may be more aware that our health is of paramount importance and this raised awareness will lead to healthier habits.

There is a British artist and poet who calls himself Tom Foolery. He wrote an interesting piece called The Great Realisation. It is set in the future, looking back on this time and it is a story he is reading to his son. I think it’s an interesting perspective and wanted to share it with you. 

Probably Tomfoolery: The Great Realisation

“It was a world of waste and wonder, of poverty and plenty. Back before we understood why hindsight’s 2020. You see the people came up with companies to trade across all lands. But they swelled and got much bigger than we ever could have planned. We always had our wants, but now it got so quick. You could have anything you dreamed of in a day and with a click. We noticed families had stopped talking. That’s not to say they never spoke, but the meaning must have melted and the work-life balance broke. And the children’s eyes grew squarer and every toddler had a phone. They filtered out the imperfections, but amidst the noise, they felt alone. Every day the skies grew thicker, ‘til you couldn’t see the stars. So we flew in planes to find them, while down below we filled our cars. We’d drive around all day in circles, we’d forgotten how to run. We swapped the grass for tarmac, shrunk the parks ‘til there were none. We filled the sea with plastic because our waste was never capped. Until each day when you went fishing, you’d pull them out already wrapped. And while we smoked and drank and gambled, our leaders taught us why, it’s best to not upset the lobbies, more convenient to die. But then in 2020, a new virus came our way. The governments reacted and told us all to hide away. But while we all were hidden, amidst the fear and all the while, the people dusted off their instincts. They remembered how to smile. They started clapping to say thank you, and calling up their mums. While the car keys gathered dust, they would look forward to their runs. With the skies less full of voyageurs, the earth began to breathe. The beaches bore new wildlife that scuttled off into the seas. Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking. We’d grown so used to bad news, but some good news was in the making. And so when we found the cure and were allowed to go outside, we all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind. Old habits became extinct and they made way for the new. And every simple act of kindness was now given it’s due. 

“Why did it take a virus to bring the people back together?” (the son asks)

Well sometimes you’ve got to get sick, my boy, before you start feeling better. Now lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that we can do. And who knows, if you dream hard enough maybe some of them will come true. We now call it The Great Realisation, and yes, since then, there have been many. But that’s the story of how it started, and why hindsight’s 2020.”

While we look back on how our life has changed so drastically in such a short time, we must look ahead with hope and positivity to how our communities can work together and make a difference in the wellbeing of our friends, family and neighbours. Bragg Creek Physiotherapy is proud to be a part of this community and we will work diligently to promote safe practice, education and healthy living. We will continue to follow and stay apprised of the clinical guidelines and recommendations from the Physiotherapy Alberta College and the government of Alberta as all businesses learn to manoeuvre our new normal.  Please be aware there will be some new changes to the clinic protocols to allow for more time between patients, personal protective equipment and physical distancing allowances to ensure the safety of our patients and our practitioners. We will be updating our Facebook and website with these details. We look forward to continuing our high quality of care for our community. 

Jennifer Gordon (BScPT, AFCI, GIMS, BKin)