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The Backbone of Medicine

The practice of Medicine requires the practice of human connection. 
Our medical practices certainly have changed in light of Coronavirus. Office appointments have changed to telephone appointments. Certainly the majority of communication is nonverbal. Telephone appointments create limitations in the sense of no eye contact, no face reading and no body language.
So I practice the best I can. I make small talk. I ask the person on the other end *who* they are, what they do, how they’re coping with the current situation.
People have generally been a little less chatty than usual since Covid19. Once in a while, someone bites and we segway into their past life, their hobbies, the bowling league and their spouse. 
I cherish these conversations. 
These conversations are a window into the other person’s life and, by default, a window into their health.
These conversations are also a reminder to me that I am human too. And it’s great to connect with other humans.
I have my theories about the future …

This Is Not an America Problem

Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate against gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. And yes, this is America, and America currently has the highest count of Covid19 infections and deaths.

This is not an America problem. This is an all of humanity problem. Other countries have implemented mask-wearing too 😷

At present time in the USA, we have more infected people than we have ICU beds. By not wearing a mask, you are saying that your individual right to choose to wear one is greater than the risk of anyone else’s life. If you feel that is patriotic and helps you sleep at night, that is your choice and your responsibility to bear.

But please don’t show up to the hospital demanding full care when you’ve refused to follow simple preventative measures.

There are people displaced from their homes, unemployed, sick, dying, etc. It’s a privilege that wearing a mask is the biggest discomfort in our lives right now.

Happy Memorial Day — let’s remember everyone who gave their lives for us and ha…

SSD in the time of AD

I have been socially distancing since March 15th. I have gone to work and I have come home. I have gone to the market every couple weeks. Our 2-week vacation was canceled and I returned to work.
Initially I struggled with the emotional roller coaster of the sick patients, the shelter in place and the general uncertainty of what’s to come. Then a beautiful thing happened. 
I found calm.
You see, my BC (before Covid19) life was so hectic. I would wake up bleary-eyed after hitting snooze once or twice. I would rush to get ready in the AM. I would scarf down breakfast. I would speed off to work in start and stop traffic. I would plow through a morning session of patients. Nonstop reading charts on the computer and talking to patients and families all day long with multiple interruptions from nurses and pharmacy. I spent lunch trying to catch up on charts or inbox or attend meetings. I would scarf down food in ten minutes. Then return for an afternoon session of clinic with the same limitatio…

Gratitude in Crisis

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions the last few weeks. I started in the hospital when our cases were starting to creep up. 
The fear.  The anguish.  The uncertainty.  The anger. The sadness.
The crazy dreams. The donning.  The doffing.  The decontamination process. 
The week I was on Hospitalist, I signed 3 death certificates (nonCovid) and I sent 2 patients to ICU (1 Covid). Needless to say, I came home every night feeling sad and powerless, knowing this Covid19 beast has us pretty defenseless. 
We are trying some therapies but nothing is showing dramatic or rapid improvement enough to gain FDA approval.
The patient I sent to ICU stayed there for over two weeks and finally was released. I had a telephone follow-up appointment with her. She was extremely thankful to me and the rest of the hospital staff. She choked up and started crying and naturally I started crying too. Relieved she lived to tell the tale. Scared for how many will not make it. Grateful to be appreciated.
As we settl…

Fourteen Days of Frontline Pandemic Life

Fourteen days of social distancing have passed. Emotions are high all around. The wicked foreboding of the mysteriously menacing novel Coronavirus has spared no one. Everyone is scared. The cleaning staff, scrubbing and wiping just one more time. The techs, maintaining stoicism behind masked faces. The patients, eyes darting with fear. The nurses, bravely caring for their patients. The reality is that the physicians are scared too. We are all clouded in the worry that either we will get sick or compromise the health of a loved one at home.
Human beings are social creatures. The dinners or parties bursting with the melody of bustle and chitter-chatter are enticing to us all. Unfortunately these very events that connect us have the potential to kill us today. Breathe the air of an infected person less than six feet away and Coronavirus settles in, like a fine dust. It will inveigle its entry into the lungs and ultimately result in insidious cytokinetic demise. 
Despite the social distanci…

Ode to Female Physicians

The highlight of my week was an evening out with my fellow female physicians. We are a group of Pediatricians, Internists, Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Anesthesiologists, Cardiologists, Psychiatrists and Ophthalmologists. 
We are also writers, book authors, speakers, researchers, fashionistas, leaders, globetrotters, home chefs, charity organizers, foodies, entrepreneurs, family members and friends.
We talked and shared stories.
We have saved lives yet also lost lives. We have delivered good news and delivered bad news. We were called to serve in Medicine yet also sustain its burden.
We face sexism and misogyny daily. We are overlooked professionally because we are women. We are held to conflicting double standards.
My own personal story: I declined to see a patient who showed up late beyond the grace period. It was the last patient of the day. I was asked to stay late to see this person. Then I was told that I did not accept the feedback in a positive way because I wasn’t “bubbly.”
Are m…

Speaking Of Viruses, I Got Sick Last Weekend...

Influenza is no joke. I unfortunately fell victim to this vicious virus a week ago. It started with an annoying dry cough. The next day, I had full-blown fevers with shaking chills and body aches for two days. Then I had a 10/10 dull headache with pressure over my eyes and light sensitivity for three whole days. I don’t suffer from migraines and this was honestly the worst headache of my life.
After forty-eight hours of 10/10 headache, I recognized that I needed help. I checked into Urgent Care. While I was waiting, I curbsided one of the Infectious Disease doctors. He advised me to start Oseltamivir immediately. (I had held off because my fevers and chills had resolved in two days.) He told me if I wasn’t better in two days, I might need a CT scan of my head and/or spinal tap. I relayed this information to the Urgent Care physician and she ordered Oseltamivir and, just in case I didn’t get better, Amoxicillin for possible sinusitis.
I see patients with colds and flu all the time. I ord…