Xenophobia and racism during a pandemic.

CV 19 Journal: Day 31 (I think….? I’m going off of my friend Marina’s posts.)

In spite of my efforts to stay home as much as possible, I had to go to my GP today for my annual check-up. I was going to cancel the appointment, but her office was like, “nope, you need to come in because you have an autoimmune disease.” (It’s Graves – totally not a bad AI, but they do keep an eye on it.)

Anyways, it was sobering to see a tiny slice of what’s happening out in the world.

There were huge signs plastered across the exterior of the office saying that patients had to park and call from their cars to check in for their appointments. About five minutes after I called and checked in, an aide in PPE came outside and beckoned me in. She asked me not to touch anything when I was walking back to the exam room. She also said that the Covid patients are brought in through a different door in the back of the building.

My doctor is of Chinese descent and we had a good chat about her experiences as a Chinese-American during this pandemic. She said she feels pretty safe because she lives in the city, but she feels more nervous in the suburbs because, as she put it, “There are a lot of dumb people out here who believe everything the president says. God help us all.” She was laughing when she said it, but she was also completely serious.

She said she used to wear regular clothes under her white coat, but has switched to wearing scrubs because she’s hoping that people will be less apt to harass or hurt her if they see that she’s in the medical field when she’s walking to and from her car.

Please read that previous sentence again and let it sink in.

And, again, she was light-hearted and cheerful about it, but…it was terrible to see someone I’ve known for over ten years casually talking about how the President of the United States validates and encourages the racist perspectives of the white people in our community. (And it is white people, folks. She was tactful but clear on that point.)

I’ve removed the phone number from the photo because I don’t want anyone to call and complain that an Asian-American doctor had the audacity to answer my questions about her personal safety during a medical appointment. Seriously, you guys, I just don’t know what the people of our community are capable of. It’s shameful and frightening.

Dr. Lori Szeszycki is an over-achiever who will unapologetically push the envelope. She spends her time bitching about the Future Former 45, hiking, drinking too much tea, and procrastinating on grading her students’ papers. Follow her on Twitter at @DoctorMiss1.

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