Boris and Andrea are physical therapists who are designated as essential workers. They have continued helping their patients throughout the pandemic, despite the health risks.
From doctors to grocery workers to child care professionals, essential workers have helped us all throughout the past 11 months.
Boris and Andrea are both physical therapists that work in Bethesda. They have been working in-person since the beginning of the pandemic. When lockdown began, their jobs were turned upside down and they had to adapt almost immediately. Keeping everyone safe while continuing physical therapy was a challenge that quickly required new procedures.
“Initially, when the pandemic started, we were seeing less patients per day… and we were only seeing people who really needed physical therapy, such as people who have significant amounts of pain or people who had just received a surgical procedure,” said Boris.
While the pandemic did decrease the amount of appointments being made, Boris and Andrea have continued working since the beginning of the lockdown. Working in-person during a pandemic with no long breaks has taken a toll.
“Stressful. Initially, it was a lot of uncertainty. We weren’t really getting a lot of guidance from the CDC. Since rules hadn’t come down from there we were having to figure out what we needed to do a little bit real time, on our own,” said Andrea.
Not only does working have an impact on these essential workers, but also their families. The pandemic has put them all at risk of getting sick.
There was “some high level of uncertainty at the end of the day wondering if I was breathing COVID on my kid,” said Andrea. “One of my buddies was like ‘Hey there can we pod up?’ and I can’t pod with anyone because I’m going to work and my baby goes to daycare, so the fact I’ve been [working] the whole time has really cramped down on our social life. I felt like if we were out and about, I would be exposing people.
To prevent getting their family members sick, Boris and Andrea have created new routines for when they get home.
“I have to right away strip down my clothes, put them in the wash, go and take a shower, before I do anything else around the house,” said Boris.
“My evening routine changed a lot from like don’t pick the baby up at daycare but come home, decontaminate, keep my things in a box, shower before I touch anyone or anything,” said Andrea.
While these times have been difficult and stressful, these physical therapists have found ways to cope. Boris recommends staying active and getting outside. He explained how the natural release of endorphins can benefit your
“I don’t know that I have any specific coping mechanisms, but getting out and carving out some time for myself that's non negotiable has been important. Letting go of things that aren’t actually important, lowering my standards for how clean my house should be and how much stuff I should get done, that’s all giving myself a little grace there,” said Andrea.
As we all struggle through these unprecedented times, make sure to honor the essential workers in your life and realize everything they’ve sacrificed to keep us safe.
Sydney Hastings-Wilkins. I am a junior at Montgomery Blair High School. This is my second year on SCO Photo Staff. I enjoy taking photos of sports and portraits. More »