Since the spring of 2020, forced by the circumstance of Covid – obtorto collo – I have found myself accepting appointments of patients who felt they could not leave their home or take a long journey to continue our path together. Strange how sometimes life obliges us to accept solutions that perhaps a priori we categorically refused. Another ‘never-say-never’ lesson that in the end turns out to offer beneficial resolution even in such dark, difficult and tedious times.
With the increasingly blue skies of Spring 2020, with wild animals around my house like never before, with an anomalous, unreal, silence, with forced cohabitation and relationships that may have grown deeper … the on-line consultations have arrived as well.
Let me be absolutely clear: this has nothing to do, even remotely, with the very personal handshakes, the eyes that meet closely, the energetic exchange between two people. This ancient and irreplaceable ritual, transversal in time and space, has united the medical arts since their birth.
Nevertheless. My wife’s choices come to mind. She is a talented veterinarian who chose to visit her patients in their home, in a condition that is more appropriate and truthful for them, compared to the stress of driving and taking them unwillingly to a cold clinic.
Obviously, the comparison is not entirely fitting but I noticed that many were connecting from the kitchen at home, in clothes they would never have worn in my office, introducing me to a relative who was perhaps passing through that room, showing me more or less explicitly the paintings and furniture of the house.
In my opinion online visits are certainly not something that replaces but that can be added to a face-to-face consultation. No doubt they are, at the very least a different mode—otherwise private, differently intimate. I am finding peace with a technological approach I vowed “never” to.