I am writing this from the Masthead offices in New York, where we are working with a trimmed-down staff each day to ensure that our bras and other recovery products get to the hospitals and patients that need them in as timely a manner as possible.
We continue to be inspired by the emails and calls we get from you, our wonderful customers, about your treatment journey and how you are keeping yourselves and your families upbeat, safe, and healthy. We thought we’d share some of the tips we’ve come across on how to make the best of these housebound days whether you’re a patient, caregiver, or loyal friend of Masthead.
There are lots of new rules, and as more people follow them, fewer will get sick. If you must go out, practice social distancing, which means stay 6 feet away from others (since that is how far the CDC believes the droplets in a common sneeze containing the virus can travel). In public, out of respect for others, wear a mask and gloves, if you have them readily available. Avoid touching your face. Limit the number of trips to the grocery store and pharmacy, and try to go when the stores are less crowded.
WASH YOUR HANDS! I cannot say this enough. Handwashing is the gold standard for preventing the spread of germs, so do it out of consideration of others. Use soap and warm water, and lather for 20 seconds. Here’s a great video on how best to do it. Dry your hands on your own clean towel (no sharing). Wipe down surfaces in your home with disinfecting wipes. If you don’t have any, make your own of paper towels dampened with a solution of detergent and bleach. Don’t share electronics and keep your own clean. Follow brand instructions on wiping down your phone and keyboard. This is not the time for asking a stranger to take a photo of you!
If You Don’t Feel Well
If you don’t feel well, or if anyone in your household is either under the weather or has been in close contact with someone who is sick, please self-quarantine away from others. You’ve probably heard it too many times, but the dry cough, tight chest and fever above 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit are the hallmarks of COVID-19. (a temperature of 98.6 or just below is normal.) Make sure you have a thermometer at home. If you share it with your family, wipe it down with alcohol after each use. If you have these symptoms call your primary care physician. Many doctors will conduct a virtual exam to see if you need to be treated. Telemedicine or virtual medicine will save you and your doctor unnecessary exposure. Don’t go to the ER unless your physician instructs you to do so. You’ll risk getting something you don’t have or infecting others unnecessarily.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Most routine health screening exams are being postponed. If you are a cancer patient, things may be different. If you are concerned about a new mass or your current state after treatment or remission, call your primary care physician or medical oncologist. Although not all in their offices, many physicians are in their homes conducting telemedicine.
Eat well, get as much exercise as is advisable (there are so many yoga videos!), stay hydrated, and cut back on alcohol. If you smoke, use this time to quit. DO try to get outside in the fresh air as long as you are following the social distancing guidelines.
Try to Smile
The amount of creativity and humor coming from all over the globe is awe-inspiring and, sorry for the pun, infectious! A retired couple in Australia whose long-awaited cruise was cancelled set up deck chairs in their living room and sipped white wine while gazing at a video of ocean waves playing on their big screen TV. Two violinists in California wearing life jackets played a duet from the film Titanic in the empty toilet paper aisle of a supermarket. All of these, including the YouTube videos from the late-night comics, are helping us stay smiling and sane while we try to get through this difficult period. It’s important to remember that this too will pass, so you owe it to yourself and your family to stay upbeat.
Use Your Time Well
If you’ve ever wished you had free time to do some solitary, home-bound things, that time has arrived! So use it wisely. I have a friend who is catching up on her reading bucket list. Another is cleaning out all her closets. My children are at home, alternating high school and college schoolwork with chores and family meal preparation (and lots of laughs). I predict they will one day look back on this a pivotal moment in their lives.
If you are working from home with time to fill, you can purge computer files, brush up on your social media, Excel or PowerPoint skills, or even start learning a language that will help you in your work. There are videos for EVERYTHING!
Try to Help
Do you have elderly neighbors or family members who need help getting groceries, medications or basic supplies? Order deliveries or go to the store for them. But make sure to wear gloves and a mask, and disinfect surfaces carefully. Order take-out from restaurants you like whose hygiene practices you trust. Buy gift certificates from local businesses you plan to go back to when they reopen.
If you have a friend or loved one you cannot visit who is undergoing treatment for a health condition or suffering from loneliness, there are plenty of ways you can be there for them. Call, Facetime or Skype. Order them flowers or plants. We have plenty of great gift ideas at www.mastheadpink.com.
But the best thing you can do to help is to follow all the aforementioned tips!
Albert Einstein once wrote that a crisis can be a real blessing to a nation because it inevitably brings progress. We sincerely hope that the current situation brings about the creation of vaccines and health practices that help us prevent anything like this from happening again.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay home, and don’t forget that we are here for you!!! — E.C.T.