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The Last Mask

Around 4:45 PM CST yesterday, April 27, 2023, I jubilantly removed the final mask I will routinely wear in my clinic after more than three years of having to cover my face for every visit.

I hung the mask on the bulletin board in my office as a reminder not to take “business as usual”, among other things, for granted. A memento mori of sorts.

If I was a private practice owner (some day!), I would have done this much earlier, but I’m grateful to my current employer that they have finally chosen to do away with global mandatory masking.

For the last few months, just in my exam rooms, I’ve had signs on the wall reading “Please feel free to remove your mask for the duration of your visit. — Dr. Lewellis”

My patients loved it. Now it’s finally my turn.

I’m grateful my patients will once again be able to see the emotions conveyed by my full face (after the toxin wears off, of course 😉 as well as the caring and compassionate faces of my wonderful team.

I’m grateful those who have hearing impairments will once again be able to read our lips.

I’m grateful for vaccines and bold, innovative biomedical research.

I’m grateful for masks. There was and still is a time and a place.

I’m grateful to my colleagues on the front lines who served, sacrificed, and suffered far beyond what I experienced during the pandemic. For many of them, the fight and the masking continues.

This reflection serves as my #whymedicine entry because authentically connecting with people who are suffering in an attempt to alleviate some of that is a big part of my why.

 

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The Last Mask

Stephen Lewellis, MD, PhD shares how his last mask removal symbolically helps to bring back the authentic connect for which he pursued the field.

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