Pediatrician Shares Lessons Learned from COVID-19
By Alice Phillips, M.D.
What lessons has COVID taught me?
I have studied a lot in my life. Memorized countless pathways and scientific principles. But some lessons and points of medicine are learned the hard way.
Today is day 14/14 of my quarantine at home due to an exposure to COVID-19. I bet you're thinking that some sweet toddler coughed on me, but that was not it. I was exposed while transporting my mom to the hospital for what seemed like a gastrointestinal bug. Even the ER doc said, “Well, this does not sound like COVID but we will test just in case.” Guess what - it was COVID and soon my dad was also in the ER with symptoms and both were admitted to the hospital for treatment.
COVID wreaks havoc on the body of the vulnerable. From respiratory symptoms to GI, to impairment in simple thought processes, it hits patients hard. My studies had taught me all these things. What I had read about, but not experienced though, was the pain it creates for families.
When those you love need you the most, all you can do is call or FaceTime. When you want to hold their hand and tell them you love them, you can’t. The second they get a positive test result you are separated from them.
We have been lucky. Thanks to the great care my parents received they are out of the hospital and regaining strength at a regional rehabilitation hospital. The caregivers there estimate it will take daily therapy for three weeks to get them strong enough to return home. I know, however, many others in our community were not so lucky and this holiday season they will have empty seats at their tables.
So, what has COVID taught me?
I have learned to appreciate every moment with family, even over an electronic device.
I have learned how much I depend on others in times of crisis, including family, friends, hospital workers, case managers and complete strangers brought into our lives out of crisis.
I have learned how important it is for us all to take great care to protect our most vulnerable.
This Thanksgiving, my family has a great deal for which to be thankful. At my home, we are celebrating small. Over turkey and dressing this year, we will dream and plan for future celebrations when this time is behind us and we will be thankful for all who will be there with us to celebrate.
Get to know Alice Phillips, M.D.
Dr. Phillips earned her undergraduate degree from Texas A & M University. After completing medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, she completed her Pediatric Residency at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. She and her family relocated to Fort Worth in 1996 when she joined Cook Children's Physician Network at the Cityview Office. With two teenagers, one at home and one in college, life can be hectic but Dr Phillips has a passion for serving at-need Fort Worth Children. Serving the children of Fort Worth does not end at the end of the work day. She currently serves as the Founding Director for a Big Brother's Big Sisters, Big Hope Student Mentoring program through her church. This program matches at risk kids at FWISD's Rosemont Elementary School with mentors. She has served as a mentor for one such student at the school for the past 2 years. In addition to this she supports back to school uniform drives and Christmas projects to provide Christmas presents for over 500 FWISD Students.
To continue in her pursuits of helping at risk children, Dr Phillips is currently working towards her Masters in Public Health at University of North Texas Health Science Center.