Louisville Medicine Volume 68, Issue 7 - Page 6



The emails and questions had already started as of September , “ What do I do about the holidays , Doc ?” At this point , we ’ ve already had Rosh Hashanah , Yom Kippur , Dia de los Muertos , Diwali . Upcoming will be Thanksgiving , Hanukkah , Kwanzaa , Christmas and the New Year . COVID-19 has changed our landscape . We ’ ve seen the way COVID-19 has impacted families and those who live in the same space . It has been highly infectious . On the other hand , with such a difficult year , one of our solaces is the holidays , bringing us a chance to reconnect with family .

How can we plan for the holidays ? How can we advise our patients ? Our case numbers continue to increase , and small group gatherings have been the main culprit . That makes gathering the traditional way for the holidays unsafe and concerning . Traditionally , we would gather together in our homes , housing multiple family members from all over the country for a two to four day time frame . We would prepare and have meals together , watch movies and sporting games together and share gifts .
I know for my family , our Thanksgivings have evolved since I was a child . Thanksgiving was the time we were able to gather , we had time off from school , and it was our parents ’ and grandparents ’ opportunity to gather after Diwali . It became our fun holiday . Our typical Thanksgivings were originally a Gujarati thali : two spiced vegetables , pooris ( fried bread ), dhal ( lentils ), rice and a sweet , like gulab jamun . Eventually , we got tired of the full Indian meal , and tried to make the vegetarian sides we had seen in school for Thanksgiving to be more American . Our Thanksgivings today have become a combination of Indian and typical American dishes . We made spiced sweet potato dosas , butternut squash sambhar , cranberry chutney , roasted Brussel sprouts with pomegranates and a yogurt drizzle and macaroni and cheese . Regardless of which holiday it is , we have collective plates of nachos that are made daily during our time together .
Looking at a glass half full though , I have told my patients that for this year , we take precautions . We keep our nuclear circles small . We do this so we can spend our future holidays , next year and the year after , together - so we can continue to celebrate . We do this because we love our families and want to spend time with them for the long run . I remind patients that with our smaller circles this year , we can still be creative , we can still have fun and we can still spend fun and warming time together .
I know in my family , our gatherings involve big meals . We spend time chatting and catching up and then we all end up on our respective devices for a few hours before coming back together for
another meal . For many of you , those weeks leading up to Christmas are frantic . There ’ s finding gifts , wrapping gifts , bouncing from store to store , going to holiday parties at the end of the work day . It ’ s all stressful and exhausting in its own way . Let ’ s not forget the extra COVID-19 cleaning we have to put our homes through to be ready for those visitors .
For this year , we don ’ t have to worry about those things . We can just have our “ uninterrupted together ” time . We can plan with our families set times that we will get together via video conference call and share a meal together . We can make it fun by setting up contests on who made the best dessert or who had the best tablescape . We can even play games through our video conference calls . For that time that we spend together , it will be a fun but different time where we can all stay safe but still enjoy our time together . If anything , this pandemic will help us savor those silver linings , help us savor this unusual time together . This is our reminder that we need that step back , to better appreciate what we already have , and the community around us . Find ways to be creative , cherish the time you have with your families , and encourage your patients to do the same . I ’ ll be looking forward to my family ’ s community plate of nachos in 2021 .
Dr . Tailor is an internal medicine physician at Norton Community Medical Associates : Barret .