November 5th, 2020 –
Recently I had an alumni ask how I had decided to continue to distance and not treat in person. The short answer was “Is the spread of the virus under control? Is it still taking lives at a dangerous rate and overwhelming our healthcare systems? Is it a risk to my family and my clients? If the answers are ‘yes’ then I don’t feel it is safe and I feel my role as practitioner is best suited to help from a distance, offering online and not touching.”
That’s the short answer. In reality, the answer is much more nuanced and based on personal and ethical choices. But I did approach it the way I do any “crisis” situation. First – are you safe? If you need to run from the monster, f’ing run, assess later. Second – Create stability in the home. In this case, I made sure we were safe, had supplies, my parents were stocked up and not going out and we went about deciding if it was best to bring Clara home or not. Then you reassess on how to move forward, what non-essentials need cut…all that.
Back in March, I set about making plans and strategies to help me decide the best path for me and my practice. I set up a time for daily research for both western and eastern understanding of the virus, its spread and its current effects on the body and community. I created a folder on phone called “Covid” with links to all the sites I frequent. I laid out a detailed check list for what reopening my hands-on portion of my work would look like. I also set up a regular schedule to reevaluate – let’s be flexible. Things may change soon.
What has gone into my current decision? First and foremost is safety for family, friends and clients, especially those who are at greatest risk. I have very vulnerable family and clients alike. We are learning but still don’t know everything about this disease from its acute phase to the numerous post acute phase syndromes that are unfolding – blood clots, cardiovascular issues, nerves. The reality is we are still in the infancy of understanding a highly communicable disease. And then there is legal responsibility. Yeah, I don’t know of a single insurance company that covers Covid for bodywork practitioners – and some of them are being dodgy in giving clear answers in working with ‘significant hazard and risk of communicable disease’ situations.
That twists my stomach. I know a number of practitioners who are asking clients to sign waivers. However, there is great debate on several of the FB pages for bodyworkers and Covid as to whether these hold any water. Frankly, I don’t even want to work from that type of mentality. So, I looked deeply at this issue and gave myself a challenge – could I write a phone script or email phone script to tell my clients, friends or family that we were exposed and need to quarantine? That someone has become ill or may have died due to that exposure or my negligence? Or that of a client’s? This may not be true in all lines of work, but I take my role as a healthcare educator and provider very seriously –
“First do no harm.” Unfortunately, I have heard a number of scenarios where even the most cautious practitioner was put at risk due to their client’s negligence. In one instance, the client had tested positive and just chose not to share that bit of information with the bodywork until after the whole family had been seen. Fortunately, that practitioner is fine, but she had some choice words for that client, and had to quarantine.
I found I couldn’t write the script with out being repulsed.
If it happens and I need to I will, but I’ll be damned if I will jeopardize others due to my negligence. Especially if something as simple as wearing a mask, social distancing and not touching can mitigate spread, protect our health and save lives. I’ll keep my hands to myself for now, and help as I can from a distance.
Hang on, I’ll be back to hands-on when it’s safe.