Zach Frey and Eva Gambon are teenagers born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome living in the world during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Zach, a senior in high school, and Eva, a 7th grader, share their experiences with living during the coronavirus -- how it has affected them and what they believe their future looks like. Frank Jaworski is a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) who is also the father of a son with a critical congenital heart defect. Frank will debunk some myths surrounding the coronavirus and share some tips with us on how we can work to stay healthy both during the coronavirus and after we have healed from the pandemic.
Frank Jaworski was also on "Heart to Heart with Anna" on the following episodes:
How Parents’ Relationships are Affected by Having a Child with a CHD
The Miracle of a CCHD Baby's Survival
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness at Podcast Movement 2019
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Frank Jaworski: 0:00
In some ways, the people that are living through the Coronavirus, when they come out of the other side, they might be living a little more like we live in the CHD community.
Anna Jaworski: 0:14
Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna. I am Anna Jaworski and the host of your program. This is Episode 264 and It is entitled "Teens and the Coronavirus." Our guests today are Zach Frey, Eva Gambon, and Frank Jaworski. We're going to start the episode by meeting Zach Frey in segment one, and find out what it's like for a high school senior to be living in this spring of the Coronavirus. In segment two, will meet another teenager, Eva Gambon. In the final segment, we will meet a nurse who will debunk some myths about the Coronavirus. Zach Frey is the son of Jill and Dean Frey. Zach is currently a senior in high school. Zach was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS. He currently lives in South Carolina. Zach, like most of us in the United States in April 2020, is being restricted in his social interactions, thanks to the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19. Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna, Zach.
Zach Frey: 1:20
Yeah, thanks for having me on the show.
Anna Jaworski: 1:22
Well, I'm excited to meet you. I have known your mother Jill for a long time, So it's really great that I get a chance to meet you now.
Zach Frey: 1:29
Anna Jaworski: 1:30
Well, let's get started by talking about school because it seems like most of the schools in the United States are going virtual until the end of the year. Is that the case with your school? And if so, how has it been having to do all of your classwork virtually
Zach Frey: 1:48
Yes Anna my school has been going virtual as well. And to be honest, has been kind of difficult keeping up with my schoolwork.
Anna Jaworski: 1:56
Well, what's it like? When I was in school a million years ago, in college, I took a couple of classes TV, this almost makes me laugh because it makes me sound so old. But yes, and it was a new thing back then to have classes that were quote-unquote TV, and I had to go into a special room on campus and I would watch a pre-recorded lecture from my professor, and then I had to do my coursework and turn it in that way. I didn't like it at all. There was no interaction. But now things are different with Google classrooms. Are you using Google classrooms?
Zach Frey: 2:33
We're using Microsoft teams, which is, I guess something similar.
Anna Jaworski: 2:38
Do you actually have a class where you're signed on and everybody in your class has signed on at the same time and your teachers are actually lecturing you?
Zach Frey: 2:48
No, not really. The teachers in my school will post their assignments on teams, and we were going look at the assignments posted, and we'll do them and then turn them into the website.
Anna Jaworski: 3:01
Well, who's teaching you?
Zach Frey: 3:03
What do you mean who's teaching?
Anna Jaworski: 3:04
Well, usually when you're in school, you have somebody who's teaching you. They stand up and lecture, or you do some labs together, or there's some way that you're actually learning the material. You're not just having to do book work.
Zach Frey: 3:19
They're not really teaching us during this, just hosting their assignments on line of duty assignments.
Anna Jaworski: 3:25
So you have to be really dedicated, don't you?
Zach Frey: 3:27
Anna Jaworski: 3:28
You have to be self motivated, don't you?
Zach Frey: 3:31
Yes, ma'am we do
Anna Jaworski: 3:33
And that's really hard when you are in the spring of your senior year, isn't it?
Zach Frey: 3:39
Anna Jaworski: 3:41
Oh, my goodness. Okay, so what are you doing to help yourself stay motivated, Zach?
Zach Frey: 3:47
I just do my homework pretty much during the day. I'll check on the website and they'll see what we've got going on.
Anna Jaworski: 3:58
Do you reward yourself when you get something done?
Zach Frey: 4:02
Anna Jaworski: 4:04
See, that's where you're going wrong Zach, you need to give yourself a carrot. You need to say, "okay, I have to do this history. I really don't want to do the history I'd rather go play video games with my friends, but I'm going to do the history. And then after that, I'm going to play video games with my friends."
Zach Frey: 4:19
Anna Jaworski: 4:20
It helps to have a reward. It works for me. It's easy to get distracted, especially when you're home and are other people in the house and if you have pets, it's easy to get distracted with them. So setting a schedule for yourself might be another thing that can help you out, that's often what I do myself. But another big part of being a senior is all of the different senior events: Prom, graduation, class trip. Tell me what events you're going to be missing and how you feel about missing them.
Zach Frey: 4:53
So far, just the senior trip to Orlando. Prom has been rescheduled, and as far as I'm aware, graduation's still going on.
Anna Jaworski: 5:02
Oh, good. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that for you. Graduation from high school, this kind of a big deal. Do you have people that are hoping to come already making plans to attend
Zach Frey: 5:13
Family. My parents obviously.
Anna Jaworski: 5:16
Zach Frey: 5:17
But like extended family? Other than my grandparents and my uncle and aunt on my mom's side. Not really, no.
Anna Jaworski: 5:26
Well, that's quite a bit, though. If you're talking about yeah, grandparents in Oakland a lot, that's quite a bit. So hopefully they'll all be able to come and watch you graduate. I'm sure that's something that's important. I'm glad they haven't canceled everything. A lot of the schools have, and a lot of the colleges have already canceled their graduation ceremonies.
Zach Frey: 5:48
Anna Jaworski: 5:49
Yeah. Now it seems hard to believe everything seems to be changing so much because of this Coronavirus. Let's talk about what life is going to be for you after you graduate from high school. Have you decided what you want to do, if you want to go to college or not?
Zach Frey: 6:06
Yes, Anna, I have. I want to go to college, to Trident Technical College for video journalism.
Anna Jaworski: 6:14
Tell me about video journalism because that wasn't a thing when I was a kid in school.
Zach Frey: 6:19
It's like TV news, is what I'd like to go into.
Anna Jaworski: 6:23
Zach Frey: 6:24
Yeah, like, the behind the scenes work like editing and the camera work.
Anna Jaworski: 6:29
Oh, cool! So do you have something like that at your high school that you've been learning about?
Zach Frey: 6:35
Yes, I do.
Anna Jaworski: 6:37
Tell me about that.
Zach Frey: 6:38
I'm part of my school's news program. And what we do is every week we are assigned a story to do and the stories we... it's like a real news station, we go out, we get interviews, we get video, and then, the stories are due every Wednesday.
Anna Jaworski: 7:00
Wow. Cool. So you have, like, your own production team and everything. So you would go out, somebody would be the reporter, somebody would be holding a mic or camera.
Zach Frey: 7:11
Anna Jaworski: 7:11
And then you would bring back that footage and then somebody else would actually take the footage and edit it to make it sound better.
Zach Frey: 7:20
Usually, it's you, editing it as well.
Anna Jaworski: 7:22
Oh, okay. You (muffled) have to do all of it
Zach Frey: 7:23
...you put this... Yeah.
Anna Jaworski: 7:26
So what's your favorite part of the whole process?
Zach Frey: 7:30
I got to say, it's just the whole experience, you know?
Anna Jaworski: 7:34
Reall? That's great! Do you like being the one to ask questions as well?
Zach Frey: 7:38
Anna Jaworski: 7:39
Yeah. So you like being a reporter as well?
Zach Frey: 7:42
Anna Jaworski: 7:44
well, it sounds...
Zach Frey: 7:44
Anna Jaworski: 7:45
It sounds like a fascinating field to go into
Zach Frey: 7:49
Anna Jaworski: 7:50
And there's so many opportunities if what you're doing is something that you could do at your own home. You wouldn't even have to work for a big TV station, but is that your goal?
Zach Frey: 8:01
I don't know what my goal, like after I graduate college would be yet, you know?
Anna Jaworski: 8:07
Okay. Yeah, things might be different by then anyway.
Zach Frey: 8:11
Anna Jaworski: 8:11
Things are changing all the time. So how do you think the Coronavirus might affect your future, Zach
Zach Frey: 8:20
I really can't tell yet. Hopefully, it all passes over sometime in May and I can finally go and do something with my friends.
Anna Jaworski: 8:29
Right. I agree. So you don't think this is really going to affect your future that much?
Zach Frey: 8:38
Not really, no, you're
Anna Jaworski: 8:40
You're just ready for it to be over?
Zach Frey: 8:42
Anna Jaworski: 8:43
Yeah, me too.
Heart to Heart with Michael Promo: 8:48
"Texas Heart Institute were offering us a mechanical heart and he said, "No, Dad, I've had enough. Give it to someone who's worthy." "My father promised me a golden dress to twirl in. He held my hand and asked me where I wanted to go." "Whatever strife or conflict that we experienced in our long career together was always healed by humor." Heart to Heart with Michael... please join us every Thursday at noon Eastern as we talk with people from around the world who have experienced those most difficult moments.
Content Disclaimer: 9:17
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The opinions expressed in the podcast are not those of Hearts Unite the Globe, but of the Hosts and Guests and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to congenital heart disease or bereavement.
Questions and Comments: 9:38
You are listening to Heart to Heart with Anna. If you have a question or comment that you would like addressed on our show, please send an email to Anna Jaworski at [email protected] That's [email protected] Now back to Heart to Heart with Anna.
Anna Jaworski: 9:57
Before the break, we were talking with Zach about his experience with being a senior in high school during the Coronavirus lockdown in the United States, and now we are going to turn our attention to Eva Gambon. Eva Gambon and was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 13 years ago, in 2007. Eva is one of the first few successful biventricular repairs operated on at Boston Children's Hospital. She has had seven heart surgeries and is pacemaker dependent. The also has a bioprosthetic heart valve that will need replacing in the future. Eva is an honorary spokesperson for Boston Children's Hospital, which is a position it gives her comfort. She is also a big sister to six-year-old Ashlynn. She loves ballet, acting and singing in her choir. Welcome to Heart to Heart with Anna, Eva.
Eva Gambon: 10:51
Anna Jaworski: 10:52
Hi, sweetie. Well, Eva, what has a lockdown been like for you compared to what you normally do?
Eva Gambon: 11:01
Um, very hectic.
Anna Jaworski: 11:03
Oh, really? How is that?
Eva Gambon: 11:06
My mom has been trying to teach my sister schoolwork while also getting me to do my schoolwork on time.
Anna Jaworski: 11:12
Eva Gambon: 11:14
While also giving us time to play outside.
Anna Jaworski: 11:19
So you have a completely different schedule than what you did when you were in school.
Eva Gambon: 11:23
Yes, it's very crazy right now,
Anna Jaworski: 11:27
If I'm not mistaken, your mom was saying, on Facebook, that you've been helping your sister or is it the other way around?
Eva Gambon: 11:36
I've been helping her.
Anna Jaworski: 11:37
Okay, So you've been helping your little sister. How does that feel?
Eva Gambon: 11:42
It feels pretty good.
Anna Jaworski: 11:44
Yeah? I think your mom told me that you also like to help teach children ballet. Is that true?
Eva Gambon: 11:53
Yeah, but that's been canceled because of everything.
Anna Jaworski: 11:56
Yeah, I guess what I'm getting at is it sounds like you might be a teacher in the future. Or at least you have a talent in that area. Is that something you think you might like to do?
Eva Gambon: 12:07
I do not have the patience for that,
Anna Jaworski: 12:10
(laughter) Okay. It's good to know that about yourself.
Eva Gambon: 12:16
I'm gonna babysit, though, once the lockdown is over.
Anna Jaworski: 12:21
Oh, So you like to be with small children?
Eva Gambon: 12:24
Yeah, I... just not too many.
Anna Jaworski: 12:27
Yeah, not too many at the same time. Yeah, that that does make it different. That does make it different. So tell me about ballet and acting and singing in the choir, it sounds like you have a lot of interests.
Eva Gambon: 12:39
Yeah, um, singing. I did at choir,. but that stuff has been cancelled. It was at my school.
Anna Jaworski: 12:48
I know. Do you know what I've seen some people do, Eva? I'm seeing some people singing parts of songs and then somebody brilliant, like Zach, takes the little bits and pieces and puts it all together. Have you seen any of these on youtube?
Eva Gambon: 13:05
Anna Jaworski: 13:06
These choirs are actually singing together even though everybody's at home.
Eva Gambon: 13:10
Anna Jaworski: 13:11
Have you thought about doing it with your choir?
Eva Gambon: 13:14
Well, it's at school and they don't really have a good classroom for that. So we wouldn't be able to
Anna Jaworski: 13:19
Oh, that's too bad. But I mean, have you thought about singing with some of the other kids in your choir using your computer?
Eva Gambon: 13:26
I don't have contact with most of them, aside from my friend Katherine.
Anna Jaworski: 13:30
Oh, that's too bad, that's too bad. That makes it feel even more isolated, doesn't it?
Eva Gambon: 13:38
Anna Jaworski: 13:39
So what are you and your family doing to try and stay positive during this crazy coronavirus lockdown?
Eva Gambon: 13:46
We've been doing gardening, and we've been fixing up the backyard.
Anna Jaworski: 13:51
That's good. So you're getting outside in the sunshine?
Eva Gambon: 13:54
Yeah, and we've been doing my sister's school activities with her. Like she has gym, and art. So you've been doing that with her.
Anna Jaworski: 14:04
Well, that sounds like fun.
Eva Gambon: 14:07
And me and my sister have also been playing video games together.
Anna Jaworski: 14:11
You can't go wrong with that. What's your favorite video game?
Eva Gambon: 14:15
Uh, probably the Sims.
Anna Jaworski: 14:18
Oh, you like the Sims?
Eva Gambon: 14:20
Anna Jaworski: 14:21
That's neat. Okay, so it sounds like you have found some different ways to stay busy. doesn't sound like you're bored.
Eva Gambon: 14:31
I'm very bored, actually.
Anna Jaworski: 14:33
Oh, no! Why are you bored Eva?.
Eva Gambon: 14:40
I just feel like I have to do everything to distract myself, and I'm not actually having fun.
Anna Jaworski: 14:46
Awe. So, you have a lot more fun when you're with your friends?
Eva Gambon: 14:50
Yes, very much.
Anna Jaworski: 14:53
Are you planning, like I am, to have a big party when all of this lockdown stuff is over with?
Eva Gambon: 14:58
Yes. Me and my friends had a virtual sleepover last week.
Anna Jaworski: 15:03
Oh, my gosh. Tell me how you did this. this sounds adorable.
Eva Gambon: 15:06
So we all don't FaceTime until like we fell asleep, basically, and we were, like, talking all night, and then we texted each other in the morning.
Anna Jaworski: 15:18
Well, that's good. So you still have some contact with your friends,
Eva Gambon: 15:23
Anna Jaworski: 15:23
but it's the same is when you're sitting next to each other in class
Eva Gambon: 15:26
No, it is not.
Anna Jaworski: 15:27
What do you miss most?
Eva Gambon: 15:29
My English class?
Anna Jaworski: 15:32
Yeah? You like to read?
Eva Gambon: 15:34
Yeah, and it's my favorite class.
Anna Jaworski: 15:37
Do you also like to write?
Eva Gambon: 15:39
Sometimes I find it hard, but yeah, I like to write
Anna Jaworski: 15:42
It sounds like you're a very creative person, Eva.
Eva Gambon: 15:46
Anna Jaworski: 15:48
Tell me a little bit more about the acting. Your mom is making it sound like you've done quite a few impressive things.
Eva Gambon: 15:55
I was in this movie called "Daddy's Home 2," and I met John Cena and Mark Wahlberg.
Anna Jaworski: 16:01
Oh, my goodness. That must have been exciting?
Eva Gambon: 16:04
Yes, and I was a reoccurring extra in this show called "NOS4A2."
Anna Jaworski: 16:10
Eva Gambon: 16:12
I was a demon child.
Anna Jaworski: 16:14
You were a demon child? Oh, my goodness, was it fun to play somebody bad?
Eva Gambon: 16:20
Anna Jaworski: 16:23
I think that would be fun too because we have to be good most of the time, or we at least most of us try to be good most of the time, so its kind of fun to have permission to be bad, isn't it?
Eva Gambon: 16:33
Anna Jaworski: 16:34
Yeah. Wow. So is being an actress is something that you think will be in your future?
Eva Gambon: 16:42
Possibly, yes, but mostly just as an extra.
Anna Jaworski: 16:47
Why is that?
Eva Gambon: 16:49
Because if I became famous, I don't think I would like the fame. It would be too much to handle.
Anna Jaworski: 16:55
It is a lot to handle, isn't it?
Eva Gambon: 16:58
And I already have anxiety enough as it is.
Anna Jaworski: 17:01
Yeah, that would be anxiety-provoking. So you like being an extra. See, I'm kind of like Zach. I kind of like being behind the scenes. I have a son who is an actor, and he acted in local community theater, and his younger brother and I would be up in this sound and light booth, and one of us would do sound and the other would do lights and we had fun doing that. I didn't like being on stage a whole lot, too much pressure. But being an extra is kind of fun, isn't it?
Eva Gambon: 17:35
It's very fun because I make a lot of friends, and I was to get to meet famous people.
Anna Jaworski: 17:40
Yeah. You know, my son was actually an extra on Friday Night Lights, which is filmed You're in Texas. Do you have to travel a lot to do this?
Eva Gambon: 17:49
The farthest place I've traveled, was Connecticut.
Anna Jaworski: 17:53
Eva Gambon: 17:54
And we got to stay at a hotel for two days and I got to skip school. It was really fun,
Anna Jaworski: 17:59
That does sound like that would be fun. So what do you think will be different when we're done with the Coronavirus lockdown? What do you think will be different with your life?
Eva Gambon: 18:10
I feel like people will be a lot more generous and appreciative, but I think the most different thing will be getting back into the school groove. Like getting back into doing school work all the time,
Anna Jaworski: 18:22
Right, yeah. I have a feeling that when you first go back to school, you're not going to really want to do schoolwork. You're going to want to just be with your friends, right?
Eva Gambon: 18:33
Yeah, but I feel like, by the time I go back, it'll be next year.
Anna Jaworski: 18:37
Eva Gambon: 18:38
So. Because I can't go back to school this year anyways, because health reasons, so I wouldn't go to school at all this year. It would be next year that I would go.
Anna Jaworski: 18:51
That's interesting, Eva. So, in a way, your friends are having to experience what you were going to have to experience anyway, isn't that true?
Eva Gambon: 19:02
Anna Jaworski: 19:03
Yeah. Does it make you feel a little bit less alone knowing everybody's having to go through it?
Eva Gambon: 19:09
Anna Jaworski: 19:11
But I guess that makes it even more special when everybody gets to go back, right?
Eva Gambon: 19:16
Yeah. So every summer, me and my friends usually have a summer party, but we can't this summer because of everything. So we're definitely gonna have, like, a big, possibly winter party.
Anna Jaworski: 19:28
That sounds like fun.
Eva Gambon: 19:29
And we always have a New Year's party. We have a lot of parties.
Anna Jaworski: 19:33
Yeah, that sounds like fun, too.
HUG Store Promo: 19:39
Hi, my name is Jamie Alcroft and I just published my new book, The Tin Man Diaries. It's an amazing story of my sudden change of heart as I went through a heart and liver transplant. I can think of no better way to read The Tin Man Diaries than to cuddle up in your favorite Hearts, Unite the Globe sweatshirt and your favorite hot beverage of course in your Hearts Unite the Globe mug, both of which are available at the HUG Podcast Network online store or visit heartsunitetheglobe.org.
Baby Blue Sounds Collective Promo: 20:15
Home. Tonight. Forever by the Baby Blue Sound Collective, I think what I love so much about this CD is that some of the songs were inspired by the patients. Many listeners will understand many of the different songs and what they've been inspired by. Our new album will be available on iTunes, Amazon.com, Spotify. I love the fact that the proceeds from this CD are actually going to help those with congenital heart defects. Enjoy the music. Home. Tonight. Forever.
HUG Message: 20:53
Heart to Heart with Anna is a presentation of Hearts Unite the Globe and is part of the HUG Podcast Network. Hearts Unite the Globe is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing resources to the congenital heart defect community to uplift, empower, and enrich the lives of our community members. If you would like access to free resources pertaining to the CHD community, please visit our website at wwwcongenitalheartdefects.com for information about CHD, the hospitals that treat children with CHD, summer camps for CHD survivors, and much, much more.
Anna Jaworski: 21:28
Frank Jaworski is a certified registered nurse anaesthetist. He is also a heart dad. He has been an ICU nurse, an ER nurse, and, of course, a nurse anaesthetist. In today's program, Frank will debunk, some myths about the Coronavirus and share some best practices with us regarding keeping ourselves as healthy as possible both now, and in the future, when the Coronavirus is yesterday's news. My loyal listeners may remember Frank from season one and the episode entitled "How Parents Relationships are Affected by Having a Child with a CHD," or from season five when he was on the program entitled "The Miracle of Survival for a Baby with a Critical Congenital Heart Defect." Or perhaps more recently, when he was on an episode in season fourteen entitled "Congenital Heart Defect Awareness: At Podcast Movement 2019." Welcome back to Heart to Heart with Anna, Frank.
Frank Jaworski: 22:22
Thanks for having me on the show again. I really enjoyed listening to the teens and their perspective on the current Coronavirus crisis.
Anna Jaworski: 22:28
Yes, I've enjoyed speaking with them, too, but I'm really excited that now we have a chance to debunk some myths about the Corona virus. Can you help me with that today, Frank?
Frank Jaworski: 22:38
Absolutely. That's what I'm here for.
Anna Jaworski: 22:40
Okay, let's start with the first myth. The Coronavirus is a death sentence. Can you bust that myth for us?
Frank Jaworski: 22:47
Well, I understand why people might feel that way because the media has been hyping up the severity and the danger of this virus. But, even in the original analysis, when the World Health Organization said that the death rate would be 3 to 3.5% that's not all based on an automatic death sentence. Those numbers have been adjusted downward over and over again. There's a very recent study out of California that shows that far more people than we suspected have already been exposed to coronavirus based on antibody studies and so it looks like the death rate could be as low as 0.25% or lower. So until we've gone through this whole process, we're not going to know exactly how much. But, it's not a death sentence.
Anna Jaworski: 23:29
That's really good to hear because it did seem unbelievably dire, and I've never seen the government take control of everybody and their help, like they have for this virus, have you?
Frank Jaworski: 23:44
No, I haven't, and I'm not sure if that was the best thing to do. We'll never really know if it would have been worse if we hadn't done that or not. But I think it may be time to start heading the other direction.
Anna Jaworski: 23:53
Yeah, well, let's go on to the second myth, and that is that the Coronavirus is the most dangerous virus known to man, which is why the entire world is having to practice social distancing to try to prevent too many people from dying.
Frank Jaworski: 24:07
Well, the very smallest amount of research would show that Coronavirus is far from the most dangerous virus, two off the top of my head, the Marburg virus and the Ebola virus, both of which are hemorrhagic fevers, which are very, very devastating. There was an outbreak of Marburg virus in the Congo in the early two-thousands. The death rate was 80%.
Anna Jaworski: 24:26
Oh, my goodness
Frank Jaworski: 24:26
So, that's much worse. Rabies is a terrible virus. Smallpox is a terrible virus. One of things you can say about some of these things is that Rabies and smallpox and other things like that, we have effective treatments and inoculations for them. So, Coronavirus looks scary because we don't know much about it yet. But even with the stats that we know, it's not the most dangerous virus by any means
Anna Jaworski: 24:48
Great, that's good to know as well. Let's do myth number three. Wearing a mask will protect people from the Coronavirus.
Frank Jaworski: 24:57
I would have to say that wearing a mask will protect you in some circumstances. It'll protect you from droplets, that person might cough out or spit out when they're talking, and it will more like a protect other people around you. If you have the illness, yourself
Anna Jaworski: 25:11
Does wearing a mask protect people from the Coronavirus?
Frank Jaworski: 25:15
Wearing a mask will protect you, yes, in some ways, and I think it's a good practice right now until we have a better idea of what's going on with transmission of the disease.
Anna Jaworski: 25:24
But is it 100% full proof that if you wear a mask, you will not get the Coronavirus?
Frank Jaworski: 25:29
Absolutely not. The most common method of transmission is not through breathing in the expire from somebody else, but it's by a physical contact and then perhaps touching your face with your hands after that. So wearing a mask, it's not a 100% block.
Anna Jaworski: 25:40
Okay, that's good to know, because I think some people have a false sense of security with wearing the masks, and some people are going a little bit crazy thinking that everybody has to wear a mask. And if they don't, everybody's going to get sick. And it doesn't seem like that's the case.
Frank Jaworski: 25:59
Well, it's unfortunate what you say is true. People have gone a little crazy with masks. There's no downside to wearing the masks, and if you wanna wear one that makes you feel more comfortable, go right ahead. But you need to do the other thing is also to keep you from being infected.
Anna Jaworski: 26:11
Well, let's talk about some of those things. What are some best practices that we can employ right now to stay as healthy as possible and protect ourselves from catching the coronavirus?
Frank Jaworski: 26:21
One of the most common things that you see in public now, it's kind of the hallmark of this time in our country, is social distancing. You'll see in grocery stores and all kinds of stores you go to there are actually markers on the floor six feet apart, telling you to stay six feet away. That's an arbitrary distance, but it's designed to get you far enough away that droplets won't splash one person to another, and you make physical contact and touch them and get it from their clothing. Wearing masks, also, is a thing you can do, again it may provide more emotional security than anything else, but reducing your anxiety is also a good thing. Handwashing, handwashing is very important. Alcohol gel is a good substitute for handwashing, but really the gold standard is soap and water. Wash your hands thoroughly and you can actually find the World Health Organization standard handwashing protocol online to show how you do it effectively.
Anna Jaworski: 27:06
What else can we do to stay as healthy as possible?
Frank Jaworski: 27:10
Well, there are other things people don't think about, and that's because these are the things that boost your immune system in subtle ways that are actually very easy to do. But if you don't think about it, you won't do it. One of the hardest ones in this time is reducing your stress. People seem to be very stressed about the whole Coronavirus situation. So, reducing your stress may sound difficult, but there are things you can do consciously. Doing activities that are simple and rewarding; physical activities like gardening or light exercise. Doing things like spending time with your pets, spending time with your family and those that you love. Doing things that you enjoy, listening to music that reduces your stress, those were all good ways to do it. Now, another thing you can do, that's very good for your immune system, is to get lots of sleep. This is the thing that many people in our society short themselves on. So getting regular amounts of sleep, it's actually very good for you and helps to strengthen your immune system. Your body needs rest.
Anna Jaworski: 27:58
Frank Jaworski: 27:59
And also, eating nutritiously. This means eating foods that are healthy and good for you. You generally know what foods are good for you, not just comfort foods. And it's very easy to go to comfort foods when you're in a stressful situation.
Anna Jaworski: 28:11
Frank Jaworski: 28:11
Locked down, forced to stay at home, people are eating things like pudding and chocolate and cookies or things that are very highly caloric, macaroni and cheese and that sort of thing. Those are comfort foods because they literally make you feel comfortable, and that's the problem. They do reduce your stress, but they also aren't good for your body nutritiously. It's best if you could find a food that would be a comfort food that's also good for you. And that's an individual choice.
Anna Jaworski: 28:36
Frank Jaworski: 28:37
Another thing that's kind of hard right now is exercise because people are, in some communities, are not even allowed to go outside of their house or walk down the streets, or if they are the conditions are very restricted. And people that have memberships in commercial gyms, those gyms are all closed down right now, so we're having to find ways exercise at home.
Anna Jaworski: 28:52
Well, I think you've covered a lot of really good points, and these are things that we probably should be doing anyway. But let's talk about some best practices for when this whole Coronavirus is behind us that we're not having to stress about it all the time. What are some takeaways that we may have after having lived through the Coronavirus that will still help us to stay healthy?
Frank Jaworski: 29:15
Well, one of the things I suspect is that long after the Coronavirus is pretty much brought to heel, when we have herd immunity, due to exposure, when we have a good vaccine and all that sort of thing. There are people that will still practice social distancing and wearing masks because they will be afraid of other kinds of infections and that can't be helped. If they want to do that and it makes them feel more comfortable, they should go right ahead and do that. But what I would stress in a post Coronavirus world, is don't forget to wash your hands, and wash your hands properly. It's very easy to just wash your hands, dash them from the water and dry them off and think you've done a good job. I think getting into the habit of good handwashing is good for your health in all cases. Simple things like sneezing and coughing etiquette. Cover your cough. Cover your sneezes, at all times. Cover with a disposable item or cover with part of your body that's not your hands, usually the inside of your elbow. I saw an excellent video with a little Italian woman, and what she said was all these things that prevent Coronavirus are just good manners. Yeah, you should wash your hands, you should cover your cough and sneeze.
Anna Jaworski: 30:15
Frank Jaworski: 30:16
Some of the people that I work with have a habit of going to work when they're sick because they don't want to give up the burden to their co-workers, so they try to be strong and go through. That's a mistake. If you are feeling sick, there's a reason you're feeling sick. It may just be allergies where it could be a serious illness or a viral illness of some kind. Take care of yourself. You'll get better faster, and you'll risk less, giving it to other people you work with.
Anna Jaworski: 30:40
You don't want to contaminate those that you work with, but I think that there's almost a stigma in the United States about missing work and the same thing with kids with missing school. And if you rack up too many days absent from school, they can hold you back.
Frank Jaworski: 30:59
I agree. Nothing is ever purely one thing or the other. On one hand, you don't want to go to school or work sick. On the other hand, you don't want to encourage people will take many days off is they feel like and miss important stuff. You have to find a balance there somewhere. That's why you have sick days,
Anna Jaworski: 31:12
Frank Jaworski: 31:13
We mentioned the vaccine for Coronavirus one of these days. I think it's important to stay current with all of your vaccines
Anna Jaworski: 31:18
Frank Jaworski: 31:19
Now, if you're a person doesn't believe in vaccines. I don't have any advice to offer you there, but if you're okay with vaccines, be aware that some of the vaccines you got as a child may not last forever. If you need to get a booster, you need to check for if you get an annual flu shot or pneumonia shot, if you're older, that's also a good idea.
Anna Jaworski: 31:36
Frank Jaworski: 31:37
So staying current with vaccines is absolutely important. In some ways, the people that are living through the Coronavirus, when they come out of the other side, they might be living a little more like we live in the CHD community.
Anna Jaworski: 31:47
That's right. That's so true. Yes, for the exact same reasons, because we've had to be aware of the danger of germs and viruses and infections and how they could be life-threatening when before we were exposed to Congenital Heart Defects, and were living with somebody that had one, we didn't really think about it. You got a cold, you had allergies. It was just what you lived with. But then, after we had Alex, we realized, Oh, my goodness, this cold could put him in a hospital, or worse.
Frank Jaworski: 32:20
Yeah, these are the kind of rules you have to be careful about.
Anna Jaworski: 32:23
Yeah. I think more people are going to become aware of what it is that we've had to live with as the Congenital Heart Defect community, and maybe some of them will start to employ some of these rituals as well. Or at least be more understanding with our heart kids, or our adults with Congenital Heart Disease when we say, "Wait a minute, you can't come visit us if you're sick. Please don't touch the baby. Please don't kiss the baby." All those things that we went through over 20 years ago when people looked at us like we were crazy,
Frank Jaworski: 32:52
Right, and part of that is, as we've heard before, is that people think 'oh, they've had surgery and they're fixed.' Well, no, they're not fixed. They still have vulnerabilities,
Anna Jaworski: 33:00
Right. I don't think people realized how vulnerable people with heart defects can be, and now they're seeing It's not just people with heart defects. It's people with asthma, diabetes, if you've suffered cancer, there's a whole list of different people who are considered medically fragile and vulnerable.
Frank Jaworski: 33:24
Absolutely, and as we said about the things you can do during the Coronavirus crisis, afterwards same things apply in terms of lifestyle, it applies to everybody. Whether you have a comorbidity like diabetes or hypertension or a heart defect, or whether you're lucky you don't have any of those things, you still do better if you reduce your stress, get lots of sleep, eat nutritiously, and exercise on a regular basis.
Anna Jaworski: 33:48
Yep, I agree. Thank you so much for coming on the program and debunking some myths and helping us to see what good things have come out of the Coronavirus experience. I think it's made everybody in the world a little bit more conscious of germs, viruses, or even people who are living with conditions that make them vulnerable.
Frank Jaworski: 34:12
Anna Jaworski: 34:13
Thanks for coming on the program today, Frank.
Frank Jaworski: 34:15
Well, thank you, Anna, for having me on and I really enjoyed talking with you today.
Anna Jaworski: 34:19
Oh, I enjoyed having you on the program too. Thank you, Eva, for coming on the program today. I really enjoyed chatting with you and hearing what it's like for a 7th grader to have to live during the Coronavirus lockdown. Thank
Eva Gambon: 34:34
Thank you for having me.
Anna Jaworski: 34:35
I'm so glad you could come on the program, sweetie. And Zach, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us what it's like to be a senior in high school who is also living during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Zach Frey: 34:48
Thanks for having me on the show.
Anna Jaworski: 34:50
Thank you for coming on the program, and that does conclude today's program. Thanks for listening today, my friends. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please consider becoming a patron. Just go to www.patreon.com/hearttoheart and pledge a monthly amount to support our program. It only takes a few minutes to make a big difference. For the cost of a pizza, you can help us continue to provide great programming for the Congenital Heart Defect community for an entire year. Have a great day, my friends and remember, you are not alone.
Questions and Comments: 35:27
Thank you again for joining us this week. We hope you have been inspired and empowered to become an advocate for the congenital heart defect community. Heart to Heart with Anna, with your Host, Anna Jaworski, can be heard every Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern Time.