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046: Healthcare During Covid with Erin Howes

Hello! Welcome to episode 46 of I’d Rather Stay In. This week, we’ve invited back our friend and public health professional Erin Howes to get some healthcare updates.

Quick links

COVID-19 Prevention Network website

Episode transcript

Welcome to I’d rather stay in the podcast for cozy introverts. We’re your hosts Stephie Predmore and Megan Myers. This week’s episode. What’s the deal with health care now?

Hey, Megan.

Hello there.

What’s new with you this week?

Oh, you know

getting ready to be in Illinois. You’re getting your like it is. It is. The final hour. It’s the final countdown.

Yeah, it’s hard to realize that like, by the time this airs, I will actually like, be in Illinois.

You will live here.

Yeah, this is the last night we’re recording on a Sunday instead of Tuesday, which is very confusing for my brain. Yeah, but it’s true. What is this? This is a last night we’re spending in our house. Oh, I’m actually not that sad about

to say how are you feeling about that? But

I’m not feeling sad at all. I don’t know. It’s good. Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s good. It’s it’s weird that I guess I thought it’d be sad. Or maybe we’re like, we’re not like leaving and then imminently like, we have to be here for a couple more days to like, clean up and close.

Yeah, so maybe we’ll be back at some point. Pretty soon. Got to go boss around. I mean, right now, I’m so tired. Right? Cuz you’re just trying to get all the things in all the boxes. And that’s, that’s a lot. It’s a lot.

So kind of a little bit yesterday. It’s fine.

Like a tiny bit stressed, it’s okay. I feel like I don’t know. I feel like this year is just so like anxiety ridden anyway, that what’s what’s a little more anxiety? What’s a little bit more moving stress? At this point?

Yeah. And, you know, my kid, my older son’s a little stressed about it, too. And we both cried yesterday, actually, when some stuff happening. And I was just like, I know it’s happened. Like it’s happening so quickly. Like normally when you move somewhere you have so much longer time to like, think about what’s going on and yeah, up to it and say goodbye and all this stuff. And like, totally, you can’t do that with COVID. But right also it’s gotten pretty fast. Yeah. So the whirlwind.

It’s okay, you will be here soon. And

then I’m never moving again.

You’re dying in this house. This isn’t about

these old buying these houses that makes us say we’re dying hair.

Children will have to deal with this house. It’s fine.

Hashtag blessed. It’s great.

So last time we had today’s guest on was the first week of March and which was just before the world as we effectively knew it fell apart. So since so much of the house healthcare world has changed in the last six plus months, we decided it was time to have her back for a little bit of an update.

I’m especially excited to talk to her today because I missed the last episode. I was. I think it was galavanting at Europe.

You were you’re in Ireland last stuff. Yeah. It’s really rough back when I travel.

I did miss recording the podcast so please welcome back friend of the pod and public health professional Erin Howes.

Hi, ladies.

I hope I was laughing I was like I hope you enjoyed that final trip you took my

actually had one more trip after that which is like think about it but good

crammed them in what a different world.

Very strange. So let’s let’s go ahead and give the listeners a refresh on who you are and what you do.

Absolutely. So I’m Erin Howes. I’ve been friends with Stephie for years, which is fantastic, which is why I always love coming and listening and then hanging out with you all and getting to meet Megan now. And I have my Master’s in Public Health in the University of Illinois at Chicago and I work in health care in a setting where it’s Community Health focus, so we are providing that primary care. So you’re looking at your family medicine, pediatrics, ob guinee, that kind of stuff, your family medicine. And so I work in the public health, population health and quality improvement initiatives that are related to that primary care. So the behind the scenes that you never even know is going on when you go for your average doctor’s visit. So ensuring that the providers that I’m with are ready to give that high quality and high standard care and that they’re meeting different metrics. And so it’s a lot of data analysis. I love a good excel sheet. And I love working with people.

We love spreadsheets. Yeah. Anyone who’s listened to the pod like more than five minutes knows that we’re nerds that love spreadsheets. It’s fine.

Yeah, freak in the sheets as we say it works.

As we say.

So, Erin, we chatted all about healthcare advocacy and how you can and should be your own advocate at the doctor. And we’re gonna circle back to that here in a little bit towards the end. But let’s just straight the gate, let’s address the elephant in the room. How much of the healthcare world in particular has changed since last time we talked? So can you tell us a little bit about how your job has changed in the last six months?

Yeah, I have a job that’s very much tied to you know, we we use the word quality a lot in healthcare. And you’ll see that in any profession, right meaning of the highest standard, which has direct relations to patient safety. So often in health care, we put quality and safety in the same job titles and in the same role, and it was this weird moment where I realized that what I wanted patients to have was no longer safe. And things that I had always like worked on, like diabetes care, and getting your mammograms and getting cervical cancer screenings and getting your vaccines that, to me was a direct correlation to your safety was suddenly out the window. And having to like rework my entire the entire way I viewed my role, specifically, and then also the bigger part of healthcare as like, Oh my gosh, she’s places where we once were safe, are no longer safe. And that was I’m very much, you know, reflecting on like, March, April, May, when you know, I’m in Illinois and Chicago, specifically, where it was just a, you know, ghost town, and everything was completely shut down. And so that was a lot of what happened in my own role and kind of trying to rewrite that playbook of like, Okay, well, like none of that went away. So how do we still work on all those things? Without seeing each other? Right, like your own colleagues and without seeing your patients?

So my role very much still need to get past?

Yes. Diabetes, what do we do? Yeah,

it didn’t go anywhere. And not to mention, you know, as you know, like, all these things were exacerbated, you take any mental health condition, you take anything that required meds, you know, frequent visits, labs, monitoring, I mean, done, you’re basically like taking care of your condition in the dark blind, and that it’s just been wild. So a lot of you know, obviously switched to telehealth, that was a huge part of my role, and kind of trying to rework what the safety and quality look like when we can’t be with each other.

And just quickly, before we go to the next question, you actually are sort of living this in a double way, because your husband Kevin is a therapist, so he had to switch to doing telehealth, and so you’re to basically healthcare professionals yet to figure out how to do these jobs remotely, which is so interesting.

Yeah, that’s been fun.

At least you no longer live in the one bedroom.

Oh my gosh, never was there a better year to go from 400 square feet to like a normal sized condo.

That was a blessing. Also, sound machines are great.

That was that was the first thing I purchased. I was like, you know, my HR department has this. I’m buying you this the first day he was at home I was like, No, I’m not doing this. Now. There’s a wonderful sound machine outside the room. Which I also use when there’s like video games happening. So multiple uses. Because I need one of those. Yeah,

My husband also works from home with me. Not with me. But we both work from home. Mm hmm.

Not awesome. Marriage saver.

Sometimes I get sometimes I get texts that are like, hey, still at this house. He’s never lived in this house. No, maybe the job or he has to leave. And then we had comments. I was like, but it’s

like, great.

Yeah, maybe sound machines are just way better. They’re for way more than like Johnny at the noise of the baby sleeps says lots of useless for white noise machines

have already learned so much.

So Erin, you did an informal poll of your friends in preparation to see what anxieties and other big feelings they’re having about going to the doctors these days. So what kind of things were your friends talking about?

Yeah, it’s so interesting, because I’m very close to this field. So it’s it’s obviously hard to kind of re envision it as a consumer. And that’s I know, it’s probably weird for people to think but like when you’re a patient, you’re a consumer of a business. And when you’re in it, you’re like, I don’t know what what are people wondering like I’m here every day, so I’m too close. And so it was neat to see You know, it was it was like a mix, right? So we’ve got like 75% of and again, this is my circle. So you’re already biased. But, you know, they’re like, Yes, I am keeping up with like my doc or my guinee, or therapist through telehealth. Right. So this really shows the importance that that has made in the past few months. I mean, I don’t even know what we would have done without that option. So you’ve got a good majority of people who have tapped into that. And then, but then on the other side, it was like 60% of them were like, Yeah, but I’m putting off other things because I don’t want to go back. And that is exactly what I’ve experienced in my jobs. Like we can only do so much on telehealth. It’s been a fantastic placeholder. I think it will be supplemental in the future. But you still have the majority of people who are putting off needs because they’re not sure about going back yet.

Yeah, you can’t get a pap smear over telehealth as

No, I’ve made that joke at work. So I don’t think it was I don’t think the doctors thought I was as funny as you too. Well, so make that joke here. I was like, pretty hard to do.

Yeah, cuz like I had really intended to get my annual which I was like, two years behind on if we’re being really honest. But I had intended to get a pap in like, May. And then only just last week got it done. Because I was like,

ah, oops.

Yeah, same. Yeah.

My dentist. I was supposed to go to the dentist and I and I just went,

that’s a rough one. At least the PAP, you can keep your mask on, like the dental care might be the Yeah, that is the darkest one My poor dentists.

Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, for both people. And Aaron, like you were with me, like, what was it like six weeks ago or something? I came up for my colonoscopy, because this was like the year that I was supposed to have one. And I was like, Well, apparently my colon doesn’t care that it’s 2020. You just have to keep keep an eye on and

yeah, your colon does not give a crap.

Literally, it gives plenty of craps. It gives so many craps but not about COVID.

Not about Covid. So yeah, there’s just like certain things that you can’t, you can’t do over till there are there are things that you can do over telehealth, but certain things you just can’t I mean, even my friend was experiencing this. Like her daughter, they thought she had an ear infection. Her two year old they thought she had had an ear infection. And the doctor was like, well, we’ll do a telehealth visit. And they were like, they got on a shoot was like well, here, I’m listing off her symptoms the exact same way I did over the phone when I called to make the appointment. And they’re like, Well, yeah, maybe you need to bring her in so we can look at her ear.


Like, there’s certain things you just can’t do over a video chat. So correct. At least you in this really weird place of having to figure out what am I feeling comfortable with? So obviously, we have reached a point where, you know, I think back in March, we’re like, oh, well wait a couple months. But we’ve reached a point where this has gone on and will continue to go on long enough that we can’t just postpone all of these things until things are quote safe or quote normal again, because who knows when or if that’ll ever be. So let’s first cover what should not be put off anymore. Mm hmm.

So it’s so interesting you say that, because when I was prepping for today, I want to like get up on some research. And you know, in my head, I was thinking about safety, of course, and like the people are delaying care about fear, of course, like you’re gonna catch the virus, you’re gonna be back in like a hotspot area. But the other thing I want to be cognizant that a lot of people are delaying health care, because they’ve lost their job. Or they’ve also and or their insurance. And so they’re not only putting off care, where I was immediately assuming like, right, like a fear of the virus. But it’s also been this add on of like, well, I don’t really want to go find out I have something wrong, or you know, like when you start something and it’s just that spiral of like visits and bills. And so I found that super interesting, too. I mean, of course, food and rent and things are going to come way before your like therapy, or your met, you know, especially older folks if they have more going on, you know, so that was kind of like, I was like, Oh, yeah, dup. But you know, so sad and eye opening and I want to give some of that knowledge to of like, what people’s options are, but um okay, so like you really, first of all i My other question on my Instagram was to like my health care, folks, because that’s definitely more of my network of like, what do they really want you to know. So like the doctors and the ers and stuff are like people delayed urgent care, right, like, waiting until like staying at home with heart attacks. This has been like one of the most commonly thing seen thing that you can look back now and see like, Oh, you had a heart attack while you were at home. Right? So really, there’s this worry that from the medical provider side that people are staying home because they thought that was the right thing, right? We’re trying to do the like public health side, hashtag stay home, save lives. And then you’re ignoring your own, like urgent health, right? So it’s kind of that balance, like multiple things can coexist. So no longer ignoring your urgent care. And that can be something as May you know, it’s flu season things that might seem small, like go get that stuff checked out. And of course, all the way to like heart attacks and things like that, like so conditions were worsening. Because they weren’t seeking that out. So that’s my big one, right is like you need to go if you’re having something urgent. And then, you know, I get emotional about things, you know, especially with Stephie. And, you know, cancer screenings and we know that months make a difference. I mean, this whole like, Oh, just, you know, delay your mammogram a few months. I don’t even know we don’t know yet the lives we will lose because we did that. Yeah. And cancer will kill more people this year than COVID by a lot. And as a public health professional, I am in no way downplaying a pandemic. But we still have numbers of other things that take our family members lives and people that we love.

And yeah, and I put that into perspective for listeners that don’t know my mom passed away from breast cancer three years ago, and she had she had a mammogram in October. And by the time she was a she was it was a clean mammogram. By the time she was diagnosed in late June of that following year, so like, nine months, maybe eight months, nine months, she was already at stage, she had stage four metastatic breast cancer. So like when we talk about when Aaron and I talk about like months make a difference. We went from clean mammogram to like eight months later, stage four had already spread, so don’t put that shit off. Mm hmm.

Yeah, that’s my schpeel. So while cancer is like my really big example, and I pray that that doesn’t hit home for everyone. But even things like your mental health, I mean, the darkness that ensued for even the healthiest person, right? Let alone if you had pre existing conditions, and all your routine care. So there’s like all these age based guidelines, right? So it’s probably going to be listeners pushing their parents and grandparents right, like putting not putting off the mammograms, colonoscopies, and then of course, pap now if you’re someone where you’re young woman healthy, you have no family history, okay? A few months is not going to affect the large masses. But if you’ve had an abnormal Pap, and you’re on a schedule where you’re supposed to get a repeat every year, that is critical, because those cells change. Right? So those are the types of things and then you have your more standard care, you know, my husband has diabetes, we can’t go without those labs, you might take a thyroid medication, you need those labs, because that’s how they determine your dose. So many people with asthma, right, like you have to have that quick visit to check on your lungs as the seasons change and flu seasons coming up. And so the list goes on. It’s I really don’t even have an example of what you don’t have to delay right now. Because the chances are you are putting it off anyways. So I’m doing this big push of like, go now. And the reason is, it’s flu season. And we’re all about if I’ve learned anything about safety during this time, it’s about bundling. So if you’re going to go anyway, you want to get as much done as you can. It’s like a massive shopping spree. You know, you’re not going for one lab, you’re like, you’re not going to go for one pair of shoes, like we’re doing the whole outlet mall, like, get your flu shot, get all the labs you could possibly need. Maybe if you don’t need a pap for like three more months, just get it now. You know, we don’t know what the winter is gonna bring. And, you know, we kind of have it under control right now, in a sense that we’ve got this nice hybrid of telehealth, we’ve got empty waiting rooms going on. Like it’s like, I don’t know Stephie I thought your colonoscopy was flawless. I thought it was smooth. I felt safe. Everyone I brought Stephie was a very important husband that day.

So we can

you know, we’re doing these things like I felt safe in the waiting room. I thought in the back, everything looks great spread out masked. So I’m no more delaying my schpeel and get your flu shot while you’re there.

That brings up a good point, actually, it’s you when you are making those doctor’s visits. What should you be looking for to know that it’s going to be safe? What’s How can you screen the safety of the doctor or the clinic or the dentist or anything like that if you’re not doing a telehealth?

Yeah, absolutely. Um, and that’s actually kind of nice because sometimes they’ll pair your visits like I know we laugh about the ear infection but sometimes to cover their butts. They’ll want to do the telehealth visit first because what if they brought someone in that didn’t need to be exposed? Right? So your telehealth visit is kind of like a triage. Now, and while they’re triaging you, you can also be checking in on them and kind of getting your list of questions together. It’s, it’s the same way like, right, you don’t want to go out to eat somewhere now that’s gross, like, just put on your same thinking hat. So some things that I think everyone should be asking, what screeners are you doing for all the patients that are coming in person? Right, like, what are your screening questions? Um, you know, what? Physical, you know, making sure that they have one, because I had like a dentist appointment, and they didn’t ask me anything. And I was like, are you going to? And my sister had gone a week before? So she was like, Yes, they will. But I wanted, I wanted to know, before I even went, because if they’re going to ask me, that’s awesome, because they’re asking everybody, right? Um, another big one, do you have a decreased schedule? I really don’t want you all going places that have decided that they need to bring as many people in as possible, right, because we still have to balance this the safety issue. So I want to hear that your doctor’s office is taking like 25% of capacity, you know, that they should have this hybrid model of Yes, they’re still caring for patients with telehealth, and then the people that are coming in our high priority need to have something done and that they’re paced throughout the day so that there’s time to clean and be able to social distance.

Yeah, I know, our pediatr our pediatrician, is having all the healthy patients like in the morning, and then they’re exactly perfect noon for anyone that’s not a well visit.

Perfect. That’s really common. I’ve heard that with like a lot of the pedes practices. So I love that are your well visits in the morning and you’re doing more urgent things in the evening. Are you doing urgent at all? Are you referring them to somewhere else, you know, so kind of just get a sense of what their what their flow is kind of interview them? And then the final really big one is okay, yeah, you’re screening me great. What are you doing for your staff every day. Because those are still very important people that are being exposed all day, which is scary for them, of course, then you’re also coming into contact. So you want to know that the staff feel safe. And then therefore, that passes down to you. So are you taking their temperatures? And how many times a day, you know, like stuff like that? So those are my big things that you can kind of ask because I know people aren’t taking not everyone is equal right now.

Yeah, it is kind of wild how there’s, like I was texting you and because I have to go every six weeks for an appointment that’s at one of the hospitals here. And I shit you not my nail salon is taking more like visible precautions than I see this hospital taking. Like the instant you walk in the door to get my nails done. There’s a temperature check. You’re washing your hands, I see them like cleaning everything. Like the instant someone stands up, like all of these things. And the hospital was recently bought by like a different company. And the minute that happened, they eliminated those temperature checks at the door. Like now it’s just on the different offices in there to do it. But there there was previously like two levels of checks. And now there’s one and it’s sort of spotty. Like

Yeah, you know, we can

Yeah, can I get my nails done instead? That seems safer at this. Yeah,

maybe I could get my flu vaccine while I get my nails done. That sounds like my favorite day. That sounds like a public health happy, amazing woman’s dream.

Now we’re talking.

We’re all making appointments now. Oh, come on. Right,

right. No, that devastated me is that when you do I was like, Oh, God, but you know, it’s true. It’s like these restaurants, like a lot of people who have their kind of livelihood riding on it. They want to do their absolute best. And then sometimes it’s like your health professional who got a little comfy, or they’re like, yeah, this, we’ve always done this, we’re kind of good. And then you that’s when you get lacks. So that’s a great point, and you need to screen them, you need to look out for yourself.

Yeah, for sure. So obviously, a lot of the things we talked about in our first episode together was about being your own healthcare advocate. And those things still apply. But are there new things that we should thinking about or doing now when it comes to advocating for ourselves in this scary new world? Hmm.

It’s hard. I almost think a lot of the healthcare advocacy has been taken to the streets, right? It’s like this. How did like what I feel like when I wear my mask around my neighborhood I like it’s like a statement now. It’s like when you’re in my neighborhood, you wear your mask.

And this grassroots effort,

yes. Now it’s like if you don’t have a mask in my neighborhood, you’re like the weird one and you feel ashamed and you want to go home and get your mask. Like when I forget mine I feel shameful when I’m like walking the dog. So I’m like hiding in my scarf now. Um, so it you know, I think that there’s that right. So you want to be an advocate now like almost Everywhere you go, I like how you phrase that it’s like your own grassroots effort. Start in your community. When you kids, man, that’s just such a great group to teach and just be an example. And they are too. And you know, we’re doing funny things like in my group of friends, like, we always wear a mask, if we have to go inside to go to the bathroom, where like, we all bring our own wine glasses now, like, we bring our own little bowls that no one’s sharing snacks, or sticking their hand in the same bag. So I think there’s like little fun things you can do to like, bring still have your sense of community and your joy, with the people you love, but like, be that’s you setting an example and being an advocate in a new way. So that’s like down the grassroots side. And then I think it’s just all about like, I always call it like yelping for your doctor. And like, all your providers, I mean, I seriously like can’t go to it takes me like an hour to find a restaurant and in a new city, because I’m insane and have 20 tabs open of like reviews, and I don’t know where to eat. And then I look at the pictures because what if this pad thai is different than that pad time. And then to go to a doctor, you’re just like, I don’t know.

I think my shirts on Google cool.

This one’s nearby. So yeah, it’s the same thing. Like, you know, just put the same critique that I know we all have on other like the nail salon, right? Like put those same that same lens on when you’re choosing your providers. And now you just have a new COVID list, right? If before you really wanted a female or someone from with a certain training like a midwife, or you know, you had things that were important before and then now add on your own safety. And if they don’t have it, you don’t go there.

Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense.

That makes sense.

So that’s my advocacy tips just to get you roar.

be loud.

So what do you do, though? If you, you have your list of requirements, and you can’t find someone?

Oh, that’s a sad scenario. Um, yeah. So I mean, I’m sure that happens a lot.

Yeah, I’m sure.

Make sure that you’ve gone to like your own network, right? Like, we all have friends and family and people who may have tested things. So maybe if it like, isn’t hitting all of your checks, that personal recommendation can really go a long way, right? Like, I’m trying to find someone for my hair some and like, it’s like, their Instagram is like, not cute. But my friend said they were great, right? So I’m like, okay. So like, maybe I go right, like, No, they don’t have the greatest pictures, but like, this person looks great. So I think like going back to the finding other ways to screen, but safety just really has to be the top one right now. So I hope that you can at least find that. And then maybe your doctor is like a little more of a hard ass and doesn’t have the greatest bedside manner. But you didn’t get COVID

we’re doing balance right now. later on down the line. You can find someone

else. Yeah.

Safety first right now. And then we don’t get when we die. No, I hate. Right. I hate saying that. But it’s like, oh, I hope people can find everything they’re looking for. It might take some time. Absolutely. But I’ve been met with nothing but compassion and love. And these health care workers are doing everything they can right now. So I really hope that they would at least find someone that met even if it was the nurse or someone when they checked in or the lab person like someone made you feel loved and taken care of that day. Yeah.

So last time, you talked about federally qualified health centers and some of the services that they provide, have they added or boosted any services since COVID? That maybe people should know?

Yeah, yeah, it’s been um, it’s been a really interesting time. So federally qualified health centers are receive large funds, right, the word federal is right in there. So they do receive federal backing in terms of finances, and that’s all through hersa branch of our government. And so we, during this time have actually been very fortunate that a lot of that federal money did go back into health care for a variety of reasons that we wouldn’t have to furlough necessary staff and so that we could see more patients. So we were able to take a lot of that and get things like ways to improve our telehealth services or more capacity in terms of being able to bring people in because we were able to put in screeners and things. So, like the physical sorry, like barriers, and um, you know, temperature checks and the plexiglass. And so that was great. And but then we’ve also been able to expand like we have been the source of COVID testing. I mean, before the department’s of public health had anything like we were doing testing. So we’ve been a huge source in the community to be able to come on insured undocumented, what have you and still get covid tests. So I think a lot of that has been helpful. It’s been different. But financially, it’s it’s the government, I will say they don’t do a lot of things that I approve of. But there has been a good amount of financial resources channeled into community health centers, which I think we’re all really appreciative of.

Yeah, which has a double, you know, double importance, because you just talked about how a lot of people are putting off going to the doctor, because they’ve lost their jobs, they’re no longer insured. And we talked last time about how these, the FDA sees the federal qualified health centers are great places to go, if you don’t have insurance, if you’re under insured, you know, if you are undocumented, all of these things that you can get those primary care services, and not completely bankrupt yourself in the process,

correct? Yeah, if it’s not for you, I think in the long run, I think we have, we used to have this image of like, what a community health center was right? That there were like 80 people in the waiting room and like kids running everywhere, and like, it’s just, we’re really moving away from that image where you walk in, and you’re like, Oh, this looks like every doctor’s office I’ve ever been in. I mean, there’s the waiting room, there’s your primary care or ob gyn near pedes. And people are getting the care they need at a fair price. Or if they don’t have any insurance, you know, still being able to get it on a sliding scale based on income. So and that would include meds, labs, and then any of your referrals. I think that’s one of the hardest working teams and a health center is, if you need to go out, like if you do need that mammogram, and you’re terrified, because you lost your coverage this year, like we’re gonna find ways to cover that for you. Like, that’s where we have grants and connections and people that will make sure you get those screenings in hopes that when you get when you’re working again, or you get insured, again, that you’re ready to go so and you’re not delaying things because of finances.

Yeah, and let’s remind listeners how they can find health center near them.

I know I always have to Google this. So if you like type

in No, it’s like your brain is I know,

I just know, I like no on every corner. I’m like, Oh, it’s like a McDonald’s, I’m so fine. You can type in like so I’m in Illinois. So you could just Google FQHC, Illinois, and there is an, where you can go to your state and find the ones that are closest to you. There also is a type of health center that we call rural health centers, functioning the same exact way but really focused on this same model, but adapting it to rural areas. So you know, a health center in Chicago has very different needs than in Central Illinois. So I love that we have those partners as well. So there are definitely going to be places by you ready to serve, they are all over Illinois and the country. So is a great way to start.

So since we are talking about doctors and COVID What should people not ask their doctors?

I would be remiss if I didn’t do this, why? Because my health care friends are like going crazy. I want to preface this that I gave a Illinois Wesleyan up my alma mater invited me back to talk about public health. And I like had this whole great speech prepared and all about like what I do, which is pretty much what we’re doing today. And like my big messages for 18 year olds who are thinking about public health, right, I felt very Michelle Obama and I was gonna inspire the youth and all their questions were like, when is the vaccine coming out? I was like, Oh my god, you guys like I’m not Dr. Fauci. Like, I’m so flattered that I’m like, giving this aura, um, I aspire, but I was like, Oh my god, I’m just like a random lady from Chicago who like is passionate about vaccines. Um, but I don’t like make vaccines I so I actually started tell them like, these are all excellent questions. I never want to stop that critical thinking and this was actually a great space for it. But my friends and healthcare right you get all these nurses that are like working these triage lines and they are just flooded with calls. And when you are the person who was like calling your doctor’s office to ask when vaccines will be there, like for COVID um, you are taking up the line and the like, emotional like stamina of a nurse who needs to help other people. A lot of calls about like, Well, can I go on my vacation to Arizona with my mom, you know, like, these are not helpful ways. These are not good uses of your providers time. Because they are just going to tell you what you can google right which is this is I hate this word. I never want to hear it again but unprecedented times. And no one went to med school and learned about COVID right so you know, they are reading and getting the same info, unfortunately, that you can find online, which is that, you know, we’re in these trials, and we don’t know who’s really going to get those, we don’t know when they’re going to be ready, you know, so before it was, like, all about testing, you know, and with the times every month, there’s kinda like a new theme. And right now, it’s a lot about the vaccine. And then antibody tests, like so many people calling their doctor mean, like, Can I get an antibody test? And it’s like, you’ve like, worked at home for six months, and like, went to a bar once? And you know, you think you now you think you need an answer, right. And I’m like, we have people like, my husband, sisters on the front line delivering babies, and like, they can’t get covid test because there’s not enough, right, like we want, they want to save them for the patients, they can’t get antibody tested, and they are on the front lines. So like, I really don’t want to hear the like accountant, you know, calling in and being like, I want an antibody test. Where you’re making people crazy. So I love you all I try to be optimal. You know, I try to give a good light here. But like I can tell you you are driving people crazy If that’s you, so let’s all just keep doing it. We’re gonna watch in your file. Okay? Yes. Right? Like you’re putting yet you’re gonna get that big, like red alert, where it’s like difficult. You know, this is a Karen, like, Don’t answer the phone. If you see this number, like Don’t be that person. And then when poor nurse or receptionist whoever is like, you know, I don’t know, then don’t be like, well, I want to talk to my doctor, like, your doctor is really tired. So that’s just my spiel. So just be cognizant that like we are, yes, there are very intelligent people that we’re looking to. And I love that. And I love that people want to go to the source. So call your doctor, if you’re concerned about your health, like you want to talk about you. But when it’s just things like when will they’ll be a vaccine, like, that’s just not fair. And even you’re the smartest people in your life just don’t have that information right now.

And if you ever have COVID concerns,

just go get a test.

Just Just go do it. You don’t even need to tell anybody that you’re gonna do it. You just walk in anywhere now.

Walk in if you’re depending on where you are. It’s like drive thru. mm is literally in a field. Mm hmm. Where the where you would normally park for like the county fair. You just see it through. You don’t even get out of your car.

I love it.

Very easy. And it’s not it’s not as bad. I mean, I have the one. I haven’t had the one that goes all the way into your brain to your brain. Right. I’ve had the normal one. And it’s really not bad. So

that just do it. You can attest. So those are just my things. I love people’s like good questions. I love that everyone’s so involved in public health. Now. I think this is awesome. But yeah, some answers we just even the smart of us just don’t have it right now. But that being said, I will send you guys links because um, there are some really neat. There’s a website, it’s called the Coronavirus prevention network. And they have an amazing FAQ section. And then all different info if you’re interested in the clinical trials, right for vaccines, either just reading about them or actually volunteering to be in them.

Great, awesome. And we’ll include that in our Quick Links for show notes. That’s fantastic. Thank you. Oh,

yeah, it’s been fun.

What’s bringing us joy?

So it’s time to talk about joy.

It’s so funny because I was thinking about what I said last time. And I like so vividly remember how much I loved my hair. I just gotten a really amazing haircut and if I would have known that that was like the last time I would like my hair because I was gonna be at home for like over six months from a pandemic I would have like I don’t know I would have like gone outside more just walked sit on the corner. Let people look at my hair or people could see me I really didn’t do it enough justice. Oh, here we are.

Oh man, I’d Honestly though. Like I mean, I’ve gotten like, dressed for real like twice in the last seven months. No, it seems to me what’s the point and ever gonna look cute for myself or my husband? He doesn’t give a shit does not does not.

I wear like a V neck yesterday and I you would have thought I wore like my wedding dress. Like all day Kevin was like You look really good. And I was like, Yes. Yes, I do. No, it’s a shirt. It’s not a workout. outfit.

Okay, so Erin, what is bringing you joy this other than the V neck and the home edit

been? I binge the home edit. I went to the Container Store for the first time in my life. And I organized the pantry and it’s bringing me much joy

Okay, so Stephie and I were like totally right. We haven’t. We haven’t watched the show. No, not yet. But we we found their website and we were like, no one lives like this,

right? Oh, yeah, it’s a great hilarious terrible show. Stephie you’re a lot like the girl on there. Actually, I was laughing. I was like their banter is is pretty relatable.

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

You’ll have to watch and see. And you’ll be like, Oh, yeah, that does sound like me and my friends

talking over each other and not listening.

Is that

in a good way? They even say that they’re like, we talk over each other. And we just know we just know what we’re saying.

Anyway, green.

How about you ladies? What’s bringing you joy?

Megan, you go.

Ah, so yesterday, my friend came over. She was she was going to help me pack. But she brought margaritas and so instead, we sat on my patio and drank Margarita is for like four hours. And it was amazing. Because we obviously haven’t done that it forever. And it was like almost normal. You know, we’re like, you got to like get a little tipsy with the friend and just like be silly and not think about things and it was really, really fun. And also it was like kind of like a farewell.

Mm hmm.

Which is the two of us and so that was really nice. And it made me really happy.

Megan I know obviously we’re recording right now and not watching the Emmys but my friends are texting me that will bring you joy is that Schitt’s Creek just swept all of the comedy? Wow. Really? Yes. They want all the comedy. One of my friends has texted me Schitt’s Creek is sweeping the Emmys and I said Yay, I’m recording for the pod. So keep me updated. And then she said yeah, they want all the comedy categories best writer, Best Director, Best Actress and Actor and Best Comedy immediately


I know I was like I kept it to mice. I was like, wait until joy wait until joy Don’t interrupt stuff to tell. That Schitt’s is sweeping the Emmys right now. It’s not that important. I’m happy like Oh, I know. I love them so much. So yeah, I’m gonna have to go parallel. Like watch

that. I’m gonna have to watch it. Yeah, because I’ll probably cry. I would probably I’m watching. I’m watching the last season again right now. So

it’s so good. I just love it so much. Um, so that is not I mean that is bringing me joy. It wasn’t my planned joy. It wasn’t your plan joy, but it is bringing both of us joy and know that we would have planned


I scheduled this joy

I scheduled my joy came unscheduled.

Anyway, my schedule joy was that the weather has been really beautiful this past week. And so I’ve been taking the baby for walks before bed every night in her little stroller and which we haven’t done since she was anybody because then it got hot and muggy. And I was like gross. This is disgusting. Yes, now that it’s not disgusting anymore. I we’ve been going for walks. And it’s been very delightful. And actually, so we go walk over towards errands and my alma mater on the quad a lot. And I have bragged on the college students a lot back but what I will say is that when they are on that campus, and actually even when they’re just like walking like in the neighborhoods nearby, the college students have been so respectful about their masks, like eat on campus, they have them on even outside all the time. And if they’re like near campus, and they’re walking with a roommate or something like the minute they see somebody that’s like clearly just like a townie they put their mask on. And I’ve been very impressed by them. So I that has that has made me feel like oh, I can go walk on the quad. And I love that. Yeah. So you know, we went walk today and then we took our little masks so we could show them the same respect that they were showing us. So anyway, but that’s it.

Next week’s episode

So next week, we are going to talk about the concept of women supporting women.

Yeah, there are some truths as well as some myths and misconceptions around this idea. So we are going to dive into those and tell them then leave us a review on Apple podcasts and listen to us on your favorite platform. You can also follow us on social media at irsipodcast or send us an email at we love to hear from our listeners. Talk to you soon.

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