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Guidelines for Vibrant Health as Chicago Life Begins to Normalize

Dear Beloved Patients,
 
I started writing this nearly two weeks ago but due to circumstances that delayed our reopening it is going out now.
 
It is hard to believe that 2020 is almost half over. And two and a half months of the first five were spent under most unusual conditions; conditions we never imagined we’d experience. COVID-19 has changed the core of our society and each and everyone of us in ways we are still trying to wrap our heads around: 
 
  • working from home 
  • home schooling the children
  • transforming living rooms and garages into gyms
  • learning to cook
  • hosting too many virtual “happy hours”
  • missing life’s precious moments: births, birthdays, graduations
  • encountering many different types of stressors
  • facing financial challenges
  • downsizing or job losses
  • dealing with illness itself or losing loved ones
  • yearning to emerge from solitude
  • anxiety about staying safe in public
  • fear of uncertain post COVID-19 economy
 
We at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine had to conform to the new normal as well - grateful for telemedicine opportunity and all of our patients’ infinite understanding which allows us to serve most of their needs through ways we never thought were possible. As internists, we have a hard time accepting that the encounters with our patients can be performed without laying of hands or whipping out our stethoscope! However, the fact of the matter is that most of what we do is serve as our patients' teachers and cheerleaders and facilitate their medical decision making. During the stay at home weeks we taught many significant others or patients themselves how to do the pertinent parts of their own physical examination through virtual guidance and triaged others to our colleagues in the frontlines of emergency care where they were accepted for inpatient care. I am happy to report that our patient family has overall fared very well through this trying time and wish to celebrate good health outcomes of those who acquired COVID-19 and managed to recover from it with our guidance.  
 
And now that we have sort of gotten accustomed to this new strange way of life, it is time to return back to the way things used to be. Will we? Can we? Reiterating statistics about COVID-19 is not needed; reliable sources like CDC, IDPH, John Hopkins websites provide us with grim figures which are continuing to change but are seemingly reaching the safety parameters to allow for reopening of our businesses, and public spaces in a phased approach. Things will not be the same for a very long time though and our adherence with well established public health recommendations needs to remain in place...
 
...Then came the events following the tragedy of George Floyd’s death on May 25th 2020, a date that hopefully marks a new chapter in our country’s history.  
 
Like so many, we at the Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine are deeply saddened and angered by the state of the world right now. The current crisis on top of the global pandemic further points to the glaring inequities that permeate our society. We have a responsibility as human beings to set wrongs right. We cannot allow systemic racism to go unchallenged. But we ache when we see destruction and violence that temporarily changed the face of our beautiful city.
 
One of the basic tenets of CCWM’s philosophy is educating our patients to enrich their lives by knowledge and support women of all races and backgrounds. As a daughter of a lifelong educator, my personal mission in my medical career has been built on a foundation of empowerment through education, community support, and transferring knowledge, medical and life’s wisdom alike, from woman to woman so we can all grow and advance together. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility now to use the CCWM platform to lead with empathy, illuminate greater awareness of social and cultural inequalities, amplify diverse voices, and eradicate bias that leads to racial injustices.
 
Our promise to our patient family and community at large: We are listening and learning, and we understand our responsibility to make a difference together. We are here to move the conversation along, to integrate the lessons we are learning and help advance social justice to lead to meaningful sustainable societal change. We want to hear what you are feeling, what you need, and how we can help you heal.
 
We are happy to announce return to working in a traditional model of care, the old fashion in person doctor’s visit, two days a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and remain committed to easy access via telemedicine appointments on other days. The office is prepared and ready with changes to flow and appointment scheduling that will maximize our patients’ safety.  
 
Our sincere hope is that you will continue to exercise caution and practice all of the recommended behaviors to diminish community spread of the disease that is far from being gone and will likely show an increase in cases after the recent mass gatherings. To that end, here is our well known mantra: you largely create your health destiny by making appropriate lifestyle choices. Those include periodic cleansing by eating a plant based diet, reducing exposure to toxins and managing stress. We are here to help you put those plans into action.
 
We wish you vibrant health and look forward to seeing you soon.
 
With Love,
Dr. Vesna Skul 
Author
Dr. Vesna Skul Dr. Skul is a graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago, is a board-certified specialist in Internal Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Rush University. She is also fellowship-trained and board-certified in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Her career has been devoted to caring for women in all phases of their lives.

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