From Dr. Jackson:
“I will never forget the first patient that we suspected of having COVID19. Our understanding of the virus at that time was limited, but this patient seemed to check all of the boxes. As I listened to the patient’s concerns, my heart sank and a swarm of thoughts and emotions flooded my mind. I was not wearing full protective equipment, the patient had been sitting in our lobby with others just moments prior, and we had not yet established a solid protocol for handling sick patients. This patient encounter was one of the most difficult moments of my career, mainly because I didn’t have much information to give. With COVID19 in early March, I knew barely more than the patient in front of me.
But I am more than a physician. I am also a husband (and now, father!). When I arrived at home that night, I parked in the garage, collected my thoughts, and called my then-pregnant wife. To say that I did not feel a sense of fear while sitting in my garage would be lying — fear for myself, for my wife, for my unborn child. COVID19 has affected my life in a myriad of ways over this past year but has helped shape me into a better physician, husband, and friend.”
These experiences are not unique to us. Everyone in our clinic and many of our patients shared similar experiences in March 2020. In medicine, every day is a new day, and we could not allow fear to derail our purpose in this community. it was and continues to be our duty to show up for patients, stay abreast of constantly changing information, and provide guidance through this pandemic.
We all have learned a lot about this virus, about our healthcare system, and about ourselves over this past year. We have witnessed the messiness of science when rushed for time and pressed for results, have learned how to better interpret conflicting studies and expert opinions, and have highlighted the importance of maintaining good health to reduce risks of serious infection. We have also felt both the devastation that social isolation can have on our hearts as well as the power of communities coming together to help one another.
We at Wild Health Asheville have become a stronger team and more nimble and adaptive as a clinic. We have expanded to include telemedicine options for patients, developed strategies at keeping patients and staff safe while conducting in-person visits, and expanded options to help patients optimize their health for the future. But most importantly, we have grown closer to you. Even with the challenges, we have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of caring for our patients during this difficult year. We continue to be humbled by your support of our small clinic, the kind words you have shared to our staff, and the trust you have bestowed upon us to manage your health.
Finally, we want to remember both the patients we have lost and our patients that mourn the loss of loved ones as a result of COVID19. We share in this pain and hope for healing in the days, weeks, months to come. No matter what happens, COVID19 will leave a permanent mark on our hearts as a medical clinic. We cherish our role as your primary care home and the calling we have to bring healing, comfort, and support into your life.
From all of us at Wild Health Asheville,
Troy Jackson, MD
Wild Health Asheville