The new normal? Wear a mask and carry on

 - 
11/16/2020

TV shows have begun having their fall premieres and as I settled in recently to watch a few (Chicago PD, Grey’s Anatomy, Rise Up), I found myself transported more than once back to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when so much was unknown and scary, and yet, seemed so temporary. When I bailed on my office March 18 with the speed of one abandoning a city falling to invading troops, I honestly thought I’d be back in a week or 10 days. I’m sure most of us did.

I think we all know how that turned out.

The aforementioned shows have both portrayed those early pandemic days in flashbacks and brought us forward to the unpleasant reality that we find ourselves in - a sort of masked limbo from which we cannot escape.

Lo these many months, I’ve adapted, donning my mask almost as automatically as grabbing my car keys. I don’t linger in stores, though I have finally eaten out on a few occasions. I make few plans, but I do make them. After all, life must return to some semblance of normal, however new that normal is.

Flipping through the pages of the December issue of HME News, I can see that much of our coverage reflects that new normal, as well. While we are no longer churning out stories about those early days of PPE shortages and ramped up ventilator production, the pandemic’s impact is felt in the reporting: in the quarterly earnings calls, in the announcement of virtual events, in the way people live and work.

I spoke with HME Woman of the Year Patty Mastandrea (page 1), who summed much of the dumpster fire that has been 2020, as we talked about leading in challenging times.

“Our world changed March 16,” as she so succinctly put it.

We also talked about balancing acts, something that most of us had to face like never before. We did it, we are still doing it and we will keep on doing it.

We have no choice.

But I’m optimistic, despite signs the coronavirus is coming back around for another hit. CMS seems to have hit bottom with the competitive bidding program, providers are finding new ways to do business and there’s a new president transitioning to power.

Here’s to a new year ahead and a new normal. Whatever that may be.