11 Oct Covid Survivors Belatedly Update Their Living Trust
Tom and Gina came into our Oakland office to update their Living Trust—something they regretted not doing years before. Both Tom and Gina are Covid survivors. An RN at Kaiser, Gina became sick in the early days of the pandemic, and Tom soon became infected as well. Both were in their 50s, healthy, with no preexisting conditions.
Tom was moderately affected and was hospitalized for a week; Gina spent a month in the hospital and nearly died. It was four months before she could return to work on even a part-time basis. Tom’s a teacher, and he was off work for several months. After more than a year, the couple is still struggling to regain their health and stamina. Neither is able to return to full-time employment, so the ordeal has had an economic impact as well as compromising their health. Tom and Gina want to make sure that if their health fails, their two adult sons will inherit their home and other assets. They’ve named their older son, Jerry, as their Power of Attorney.
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Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a future without Covid
This is especially true for those Long Covid, as they call the long-term effects of the disease that take many forms, including fatigue and brain fog that make it difficult to return to work and resume a normal life. Headaches are another chronic problem, along with muscle and joint pain, sleep problems, fever and dizziness. Some people are experiencing complications as serious as organ failure.
For those who work in the food and wine industries, loss of the ability to smell and taste is another serious consequence. In one account, a woman is studying to become a perfumer. Its practitioners need a discerning sense of smell. Covid is threatening the careers of professionals in these industries.
Deferred maintenance: Another way Covid has affected Americans’ health
Health providers are seeing the consequences of more than a year of pandemic-delayed preventive and care. Think about our regular appointments to have our teeth cleaned or for our yearly physicals. These wellness checks are cost-effective preventative medical care.
Delayed response attributed to fear of going to the hospital
Dr. Brian Rah, chair of the cardiology department at Montana’s Billings Clinic, was confused in the early days of the Covid pandemic. He couldn’t figure out why there was a sudden drop in heart patients. And some patients were arriving hours after first experiencing chest pains. Two patients, both of whom suffered greater heart damage by delaying care, provided what came to be typical answers.
- One said he was afraid of contracting Covid by going to the hospital.
- The other patient went to the emergency room in the morning, left after finding it too crowded, and then returned that night when he figured there would be fewer patients–and a lower risk of catching Covid.
Delayed treatment can result in death or long-term compromised health
“For a heart attack patient, the first hour is known as the golden hour,” Rah said. After that, the likelihood of death or a lifelong reduction in activities and health increases, he said. Dr. JP Valin, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at SCL Health of Colorado and Montana, said he is “kept awake at night” by delays in important medical tests. “People put off routine breast examinations, and there are going to be cancers that are not identified, potentially delaying intervention,” he said.
- Timely treatment of appendicitis symptoms. Valin is also concerned that patients aren’t seeking timely treatment when suffering appendicitis symptoms like abdominal pain, fever and nausea. A burst appendix generally involves more risk and a week’s hospitalization, instead of one day of treatment for those who get care quickly, he said.
- 80% drop in colonoscopies. Fola May, a gastroenterologist who is also quality director and a health equity researcher at UCLA Health, worries about the consequences of an 80% to 90% drop in colonoscopies during the first months of Covid.
New medical problems emerging from the pandemic, many stress-related
Along with exacerbating existing health problems, the Covid pandemic has also caused a host of new medical issues in patients. We will be coming out of the pandemic with teeth worn down from grinding, back problems from slouching at makeshift home-work stations and mental health problems from a combination of isolation and being too close to family.
Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, a dentist in Chevy Chase, Maryland, said patients don’t argue when she tells them they have been grinding or clenching their teeth and might require a root canal, dental implant or night guard.
“These are people stuck at home all day, feeling lonely and feeling a little depression. It is induced by the world we live in and all the changes in our lives,” said Markogiannakis.
- Tooth grinding. A recent American Dental Association survey found that more than 70% of member dentists reported an increase in patients grinding or clenching their teeth since Covid.
- Stress-related teeth conditions. More than 60% reported an increase in other stress-related conditions, such as chipped and cracked teeth.
- Depression and weight gain. Gerard Mosby, a Detroit pediatrician, finds his young patients are suffering more stress, depression and weight gain than before the pandemic. Confined in their homes, many are living in multigenerational homes or foster homes or have experienced Covid illnesses or death among family members.
- Eye strain from too much computer time. Optometrist Matthew Jones, who practices in Blytheville and Osceola, Arkansas, reports worsening eye conditions for patients, some of whom stopped taking drops during Covid for conditions like glaucoma. He’s also seeing much more eyestrain “because people are spending so much time in front of a computer screen” and recommends eyeglasses that filter out blue light to his patients.
- Pain makeshift workstations. Physical therapist Kaylee Smith, who runs a treatment studio in La Jolla, California, says she is seeing more injuries related to poor posture due to makeshift home workstations used during the pandemic.Patients are reporting more pain and injuries related to poor posture.
While we’d love to put Covid behind us, we never leave home without our masks. And that remains the reality for the foreseeable future.
Guideway, creating and updating your Living Trust
We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. We provide a hard copy as well as a soft copy of your documents. More questions? Contact us today.
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