Note from the Associate Editorial Director: Preparing for a new year
by Melissa Varnavas
By now, most readers know how much I love a good extended metaphor. The turning of the new year presents so many opportunities to pick up on all that symbolism of change. Usually, I relish the opportunity to exercise a little magic eight ball consultation, tarot card reading, tea-leaf prognostication, or Roman-god Janus-power—looking forward to 2021, looking back on the previous year’s accomplishments.
We’re not there yet, though. As I write this, January remains distant. I say distant because so much can happen in a short span of time. In two weeks’ time. In two days’ time. In two hours’ time. Who can account for the time before a COVID-19 diagnosis? How should one mark the days until a loved one, admitted to the hospital, returns home? How can one measure the hours after a furlough and before the return to work?
I do not relish the task of recounting the year that has passed, of providing a vessel to contain its sorrows. Nor do I relish the task of looking out onto the landscape of the year to come.
Previous years’ vistas included shaded mountains with winding rivers, paths to explore, adventures to embrace. Standing near the horizon of 2021, we wait for the sun to rise, while the streetlights surrounding us struggle to shine through the fog-drenched seashore drive—their hazy globes of illumination light only the droplets caught in their immediate vicinity. We stare out to the ocean, waiting.
As I write this, the United States has more than 12 million infections and more than 260,000 COVID-19-related deaths. We don’t know how the pandemic will progress. There is news of promising vaccines, there is news of advances in treatment, there is news of hope. But each comes with its own caveat.
Yet here we are, on the brink of 2021.
Here we are, on the brink of a brand-new year.
Here we are.
Let 2021 rise on that ray of hope just as it has sustained us throughout the pandemic thus far.
Remember the mantra back in March: “stronger together”? Remember the New York City residents banging pots and pans and blowing noisemakers every evening at 7 p.m. to cheer the healthcare workers and first responders for their service in caring for the afflicted? Remember the food drives and community outreach? Remember the neighbor who offered you an extra roll of toilet paper? The drive-by birthday parties? The Mother’s Day flower deliveries? The virtual Independence Day celebrations?
In our community, too, as dark as the forecast seemed collectively and personally, we remained committed to this profession. There were layoffs at ACDIS’ parent company. There were wage freezes. As we looked out to you, we knew that you were still there looking to us to help get you the information you needed to address this crisis head on. The pandemic made our in-person annual conference in last May an impossibility, and we ultimately made the difficult decision to cancel the event. Looking forward, the pandemic has caused us to push the 2021 ACDIS conference from its usual spring home out to October. The call for speaker proposals ends January 8.
Even though we couldn’t meet in person, our amazing events team and speakers stepped forward to offer “Staying Engaged: ACDIS Presents Virtual Education & Community,” three incredible days of networking and education, online last June. As the summer months progressed, our sponsors stepped forward to support nearly a full day of education related to COVID-19 and its effects on CDI practices.
As summer turned to fall, our CDI Week committee tenaciously planned activities around this year’s theme, “CDI cinema: Coming to an organization near you!” playing on the golden age of Hollywood. To extend the celebrations of CDI Week’s 10th anniversary, we pulled together nearly a dozen presentations for three full days of education and networking during our “Curtain Call: Behind the Scenes of Star-Studded CDI Programs” event, which gathered an astounding 1,700 attendees. And in December, “ACDIS Online: Uncovering Outpatient CDI Opportunities” gathered more than 100 participants who picked up their magnifying glass and pushed forward to investigate how they could expand their CDI efforts.
So, what does the future hold? I cannot say for certain. But while so much is unknown for 2021, there are some things we do know. One of them is that ACDIS will continue to be here, available and willing to support you with education and networking opportunities.
Whatever the coming year throws at us, we’ll meet it head on. Together.
Editor’s note: Varnavas is the associate editorial director for ACDIS. Contact her at email@example.com.