“POCA is closed.”
There was a momentary silence after James Lorr aka “Jimmy Jabs” spoke those three words during a Zoom meet-up on Monday, March 16. Justine Meyers organized the on-line hangout. Many of us gathered together to check in, to share information and to be together. At the point when we had finished listing all the clinics that had temporarily closed, Jimmy Jabs added the punctuating statement.
POCA is closed.
POCA’s mission is about creating access to community acupuncture. We want to be able to refer patients to affordable clinics when they travel or relocate. We want our families and friends to have access to affordable acupuncture, too. We want community minded acupuncturists to join our clinics so we can expand our hours.
So what do we do when we cannot practice acupuncture?
It’s hard to stop doing something that our identities are so wrapped up in. In China’s Wuhan Province, doctors in hazmat suits are providing acupuncture to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families. If we had access to hazmat suits, we’d still be working and treating our patients. Or we would be figuring out how and where to best offer our acupuncture skills during this time of crisis.
POCA was created so that acupuncture can be accessible to the very people who are on the front lines of this epidemic: retail workers, delivery drivers, food service workers, construction, and medical professionals. It’s hard to binge watch Netflix, knowing that others are risking their lives so that we can still grocery shop for essentials and non-essentials, like frozen tater tots. Yes, last week I bought frozen tater tots just so I could cook them in my waffle iron. What else am I going to do? It’s not like I can put on a hazmat suit and go to work.
So, what do we do? A lot. And nothing. Both are okay. Some of us are resting. Some of us are restless. And some of us are back and forth.
Many of us are making acupressure videos to share with each other and our patients. Zelda Edmunds is uploading our videos and organizing the POCA DIY Acupressure Series. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out. This project is the kind of amazing thing that POCA members do: cooperatively make something completely creative out of nothing…. and then share it.
We are asking questions that no one can answer. How long will this go on for? Will our clinics survive this? What will we have to do differently when we go back to work? We won’t know until we get there.
The Spanish Flu pandemic affected the entire world and lasted from January 1918 until December of 1920. A quarter of the world’s population was affected. It was the deadliest pandemic since the Black Plague. I didn’t know about the Spanish Flu until recent weeks. If it’s any consolation, I do know that it ended. This will end, too.
Thanks to Jade Fang, Zoom hangouts are happening a few times a week. People are sharing info and support on the process of applying for SBA loans. We are baking, sitting through webinars, raising children, reading, learning other languages, worrying, making art, calling our families, figuring out how to live without toilet paper, sleeping, gardening, blogging. We are tackling the projects around the house that we’ve been meaning to get to for a long time. We are doing things that we never had time for. We are creating the raw materials for future continuing education classes, including how to restart your clinic after a pandemic.
POCA clinics are closed. POCA is still going. We are working in a myriad of ways. We are catching up on deeply needed rest. We are gathering new skills. We are cleaning our basements. We are reorganizing our lives.
This too shall pass. When it does, we will emerge recharged and ready to pick up our needles and go back to our jobs.