Threats of the virus shuttered dozens of small businesses across town. At least half of my friends and fellow business-owners are out of work (for who knows how long).
As I saw the COVID-19 storm approaching, I said to myself, “I’m not closing until I’m forced to. My community needs me.”
Well, as it turned out, the Government did not force us to close down the clinic on Monday. As the Doctor, I had to make that heartbreaking decision. I spent the previous weekend up all day/night, weighing the evidence, wondering if I could beat the odds of contagion with constant sanitizing and preventative measures. I would wash my hands 1,000 times a day if I needed to. I even hatched a plan to perform drive-through acupuncture in the fresh air of our parking lot.
However, by lunchtime on Monday, I reached a breaking point in my thought process. I realized the most beneficial action I could take for my community was to shut down the clinic. Be socially-responsible. Stay at home and practice social distancing. Isolate myself and my family. Flatten the curve as the popular hashtag says. An altruistic maneuver for sure. I didn’t come to this decision without tears. I spent hours imagining how I would feel if I was unknowingly an asymptomatic vector for COVID-19. How would I feel if I unknowingly transferred it to one of my immune-compromised patients? How would I feel if my favorite 80-something-year-old patient ended up in the emergency room without an available ventilator? How I would I feel if I brought it home to my family? The thought of all those scenarios was too much to bear. I made the call to cancel everything. To pull the plug. To temporarily close the business I’ve put my whole heart into and worked tirelessly to build. To discontinue providing the magic healing power of acupuncture to patients I adore and love as much as my own family.
My heart goes out to my fellow business owners also in the position of having to decide for themselves. I pray you’ll find the path that is right for you.
To our patients, we will be back when this all ends. I promise.