Who and HOW I Listen to Covid-19 News From a Covid-19 Nurse

I want you to be able to watch the news, know what’s real and what is not. Do you sometimes think, “well if they say something is working, then why aren’t we using that?”. I can understand why it is all so confusing and even misleading.  

Our lives have forever changed after this pandemic. Lately, I have friends who’ve reached out to me concerned about the news they hear. Never stop asking questions especially about such serious issues.  Questioning someone does not mean you’re questioning their authority, education or even ethics. Much to the contrary, questioning is your attempt at understanding the full spectrum of the issue. 

Finding a doctor you can trust is stressful. Over the past 10 years, I have worked with a multitude of specialites and and met some truly brilliant physicians. What strikes me the most about a great doctor is one who immerses themselves in the situation at hand. You can tell who gives broad answers such as “we are working on it” or “this is how we do things”. These statements are ok as long as it’s followed by “this is what we plan on doing because…”. You want someone who gives explanations instead of closed ended statements. 

When it comes to physicians on TV or the internet; it can be a different story. How are you to judge someone you can’t interact with?

Simple. You only have a few factors to judge on. 

  1. If you hear a physician saying he has a “cure” for what’s wrong, RUN! Don’t walk, RUN. There isn’t an actual cure for anything. There are medications or treatments that can help combat issues but there’s hardly a cure. The word cure can be confused with ‘fix’, like an immediate dissipation or eradication of the issue. Let’s take the bubonic plague as an example.  If treated early, strong antibiotics are likely to work. There is no vaccine, yet there are still thousands getting it around the world. It is rare, but it’s not extinct because of a cure.  Saying something is a cure can be a tool of persuasion. We are actually taught in school (even as nurses) not to say the unholy word “cure” nor statements like,“it’s going to be ok”. Neither of these statements are true because they are absolutes. We aren’t God, we don’t know that ‘said treatment’ will always work. The healthcare world will be working hard to find an efficient and effective treatment with low side effects, THAT is the correct verbage. For example, remember ‘I Love Lucy’? Remember Lucy’s, “Veta Vita Vegamin”? Unfortunately, I don’t think it saved the world from the plague but have we tried that for Covid? Haha. Well, Covid isn’t going away but we can find an efficient and effective treatment. I hear Vetametavegamin has low side effects….
  1. What drug or treatments are they suggesting? Look up the drug. If a steroid causes widening of your airway (bronchodilation) then, you more than likely will get bronchodilation and will have wider tubes (bronchioles) to breathe better. Because you felt better an hour later doesn’t mean the virus has gone away, yet your symptoms have and you can now be active. Getting (mildly) active will actually help your infection and keep your body healthy to fight the infection. Therefore in the case of Covid, the area of treatment that would be effective would be a vaccine, antibodies, or antivirals(to stop the replication of the virus). It is a virus so antibiotics would not be effective (unless you get another infection like pneumonia –typically from not being active). Other medications may help with symptoms to support your body in a self recovery. 
  1. What background does this doctor have? Never take advice from a cardiologist about your kidneys. He may know some stuff but that’s not what he studies (we call it a practice). So if you want to know the latest updates on covid patients and the current treatments then take it from an ICU Medical Doctor or an Infectious Disease Doctor working first hand with it. These doctors are treating patients with and without other issues such as diabetes or kidney disease, etc. They will see from the time of bad symptoms to their worst and hopefully to their recovery. So, they see the whole characteristics, tendencies, and complications of the virus first hand and from start to finish.  Even an epidemiologist will have good information. Remember, find the people immersed in it. People aren’t dying in clinics, they are dying in hospitals. Therefore, your clinic physician has no idea (outside the 15 minutes they spent with you) if treatment actually worked. Now, if he/she calls you to follow up with a series of questions to quantify in a research paper, by all means, yes, they might be onto something good. This would entail a follow up phone call or mail/email questionnaire. Otherwise, you don’t know if the subject of people (say, in the clinic) is thoroughly analyzed. A doctor saying they saw 350 people with Covid and was treated with hydroxychloroquine does not justify a medication working. That’s not how research works nor is that evidence it worked. That tells me she just prescribed medication 350 times.

Lastly, it’s ABSOLUTELY ok for them to change their minds about regulation, status, medications, treatments. Progress is ever changing and medicine isn’t perfect because… the human body isn’t perfect. New practice or medication just means we are ruling out the stuff that’s not working and moving onto the next best solution. What are the odds of getting such a complicated, ever-changing, imperfect human body 100% healed the first time? Doctors are humans too…let’s love them for that, and love them for their hearts, mind, and dedication. 

Thank you Doctors!! 

Hopefully this is enlightening and will help you navigate through all the fluff. Remember your mask always and be safe! 

Love you guys! 

Lisa Bryan, RN

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