Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘As a family doctor at Northwell Plainview Hospital, I’ve worn all three hats — as a COVID patient, as a family member of a patient who didn’t make it through COVID and as a provider who sees COVID on a daily basis.’

Westbury

“As a family doctor at Northwell Plainview Hospital, I’ve worn all three hats — as a COVID patient, as a family member of a patient who didn’t make it through COVID and as a provider who sees COVID on a daily basis.

“I had it myself in March and after seven days in, I was asking, ‘Why am I not getting better?’ I kept coughing. I felt so short of breath and I felt so tired.

“Then I started thinking about my 8-month-old daughter at that time. ‘Am I going to be able to make it to see her graduate kindergarten?’ I was hearing all these stories of people dying overnight. I called employee health services after three days of being fever free and said, ‘I want to go back to work.’ I was still very tired, very fatigued, but this is what I signed up for, and I wanted to get back in it.

“The fear was less, I knew I survived it, but then my grandfather was brought to the hospital the week after. He was in a nursing home and he ended up in the ICU and we said goodbye to him. He was 77, and he didn’t make it.

“That gave me that experience of having a family member who passed and it’s a comforting thing for my patients. There’s that human aspect to it. Then about three or four months, later my mother-in-law in Puerto Rico got it. We made it to her bedside, she seemed to improve, but then she didn’t make it overnight. She had a heart attack at 59.

My advice to patients is find new ways of being positive. I’m very carpe diem in everything.

“It’s been especially tough now during the holidays and we’re trying to keep her spirit alive. The baby’s a godsend because as she’s growing, she is starting to understand things and we’re trying to stay happy for her.

“With the vaccines, I use the analogy with patients: Do you drive a car without a spare tire? Or do you go in the deep end without knowing how to swim?

“I’ve lost most of my antibodies and if I can get another layer of protection outside of my PPE, this is the reason I took the vaccine. My advice to patients is find new ways of being positive. I’m very carpe diem in everything. I did that with my grandfather and my mother-in-law. I made sure that each moment we were together, I thought, ‘What can we do to create a moment?’

“I think if the population does that, they won’t be steered wrong.”