It is a good question, and one we have asked ourselves here at OAP, a lot. Over and over we shared our feelings about reopening, and it was always the same amongst us: a cocktail of fear, hesitation, and desire to get back to work. We knew we weren’t going to feel OK about hiding our heads in the sand and waiting for the corona virus to go away before we opened up again, for a lot of reasons that just wasn’t an option. So we asked, and asked again. Each time we approached reopening. Each time we dialed it back as cases spiked or recommendations changed. Each time we restructured our protocols, refining them until we felt like we had the best possible answer available to us in these uncertain times: Well, it is as safe as it possibly can be, and if we don’t try to do this now, we never will.
That was when we decided it was time to open our doors and welcome back our lovely patients along with our sense of purpose. One of the people most excited to hear we were opening up last month was my mom. She started coming to OAP when I started working here and in the last year it got so she only needed 1-2 treatments a month to feel good. Usually she would wander in sometime during my week, drop a snack for me on the desk, and get settled into a chair. Now she calls me to ask me to schedule her an appointment. Like the rest of us, she misses the blankets and pillows, but finally getting acupuncture again makes up for it. She is back to weekly treatments, as the months without regular visits took its toll on the equilibrium we had established.
I was anxious at first. Of course I believed we had done everything we could to make the clinic as safe as possible. I certainly felt safe being here, but my mom…well, it’s my mom. I didn’t let her go to the grocery store for 3 months and now I was going to approve of her hanging out in a room with 5 other people for 45 minutes??? Well, yea, of course I was. If I didn’t think it was safe enough for my mom to be here, I didn’t really think it was safe enough for anyone to be here. I generally try to avoid being a hypocrite (or a danger to public safety), so if I was going to invite everyone back here for acupuncture I had to feel good about one of those everyone’s being my mom. And I do. While I am here, all the cleaning and protocol enforcement I do I do with the thought of protecting not only our community as a whole, but also my family, in a very real and direct way. And I know that all my coworkers are doing the same. Does that make it safe enough? I certainly hope so.