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Pandemic Notebook: Face Masks And Dental Emergency

The numbers are indicating there is a decline of the bad news we have been accustomed to hearing the last eight weeks during this pandemic. That  optimism has seen more take to the streets and parks. Sunday, Mother’s Day, the weather made it ideal to go out and stretch.

It was also free giveaway of facial protection in New York City Parks This is the necessity, facial protection, as called for by the health authorities, and like a good giveaway at the ballparks, a hot item as one of those hard to get.

In conjunction with the office of Mayor deBlasio, and city council leaders, rangers at parks situated areas with  lines of distance for the public to receive a packet of five facial masks per person. 

They were not the surgical masks that are needed more for those heroes of first responders, nurses,  doctors. and essential workers. They are a perfect fit and sufficient to help and keep the coronavirus from spreading through contact with others.

So here we were in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Park, noted as the largest open space in the five boroughs with a wide landscape that extends to nearby Orchard Beach.  Plenty of residents that live nearby and from other areas took a walk around the mile track.

They sat on the grass with chairs or got some needed exercise. The football was thrown as some high school players that would be in spring practice sessions took advantage of the good weather.

More important, and so essential, social distancing was practiced. And facial protection was in place.

Mid afternoon and it was a brief walk and the line of  coordinated cones indicated this was the new norm of social distancing. Rangers were stationed at tables and the distribution went without a hitch.

“We distributed many in the first hour,” said one of the park officials.When I asked for another one, this for a neighbor, he said, “Sorry, one per person.”

No problem here. We walked the track a few times and wore the comfortable protection that is sufficient for the face and nose areas.  We stopped and took in some of the needed sun that felt good and everything seemed to be normal.

But this was not normal. Distancing as you walk and talk is not something we in New York are accustomed to doing, and yes, there were some who ignored the guidelines and did their thing as if a pandemic did not exist. 

A space used for exercise and stretching was blocked for use. Nearby, a fitness guru was conducting a private session and using distance the best he could. 

The nearby and dirt ballfields, that would see pickup games, they were not in use on this day. Instead, on the sidelines, one or two would throw the ball back and forth.  

Yes, on a day when baseball would have been played at Yankee Stadium, this was a day to get out and enjoy with social distancing and wearing that proper face protection. 

DENTAL PROCEDURE IN A PANDEMIC:  Many have inquired about seeing a doctor for annual checkups or procedures that have been put on hold due to the pandemic. 

Dental work has also been restricted with the exception of emergency care.  

So, last week this columnist had that emergency with severe tooth pain and the probability of teeth extractions.  Who to call, where to go? The private dentist was not available and cancelled all office visits and emergencies.

The good people at Montefiore Dental clinic, affiliated with the reputed hospital, are one of the private facilities that are open and available for emergency visits at a few locations and nearby in the Bronx.

First step:Make the phone call and hope to get the proper reply. Appointments were available from 8am-1pm. A few questions and late Friday morning it was a go.

Social distancing was the norm here. Enter the lobby, answer a few questions, and after a temperature check for clearance it was sitting in the waiting room. 

Normally, this would be a long wait and seats occupied one after another, but this is a pandemic and five patients was the limit. Seats with signs saying not available and plenty of space for distancing.

Reception area was also cordoned off for distance between the receptionist and patient.  Present your health card, information, and you stretch the arm to avoid contact.

Wait time? Because of the limited number of patients, organized, that agony of getting an x-ray and  sitting in  the chair was rapid and not expected.  

The entire time, with exception of getting the x-ray and procedure, the face mask was in place. 

After a brief consultation, as expected, the teeth were extracted. Minimal pain and like a fighter, I took the punch. Prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and to the nearby pharmacy on site.

So there is help when needed for a dental emergency.  You need to do the research and all medical insurance is accepted. Those, to my understanding, with limited or no health coverage, will not be denied. 

Point here is we are in a pandemic, though in normal times this procedure may have been more difficult towards waiting time and understanding your medical coverage. 

More so, every person in the medical profession needs to get those accolades from you and me. They have been tested. They deserve the praise. They need to be recognized and  honored for taking care of those in need during this time.

And for yours truly, slowly getting back to recovery. Though, when you look at it, things could be worse as we continue to offer our condolences to those who have passed and pray for those who are battling COVID-19.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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  1. Tough day for you, but I’m glad it had a happy ending. Good thing they took medical insurance. When I had some extractions done, medical insurance (Medicare + supplement) wouldn’t cover it.

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