It’s both possible and important to have good quality conversations with people with whom we disagree. There are some simple (but not easy) principles to keep in mind:
- Be sure your goal is to connect and understand - and not to change minds. Listen to learn, not to prepare a rebuttal. People understand and use words and phrases in very different ways. Don't assume you understand what the other person means: "I want to be sure we are both talking about the same thing. Could you help me understand what you mean when you say 'X'?"
Covid is still very much with us, and will remain a significant public health problem for the foreseeable future. However, the Covid landscape has changed substantially over the nearly 4 years since it arrived. I recently spent some time reviewing and updating my assessment of my risk and my process for deciding what I am comfortable doing.
I will start with my understanding of my personal risks, which I divide into three categories: acute or short-term risks, chronic risk related to long Covid (PASC), and long-term risks from Covid’s impact on other disease processes.
A recent short piece by Taylor Lorenz got me thinking.
She describes being targeted online with hateful comments and overt threats as follows:
Here's some information about what most of us have been calling long Covid or post Covid, but which leading researchers prefer to call post-acute Covid. (The term PASC for post acute sequelae of Covid has been proposed but has not been much used in the media.)
In our local community, as in many others, there is active and often acrimonious debate about zoning. While everyone agrees that there is a severe shortage of available and affordable housing and that increasing the housing stock is essential, not everyone agrees that new housing should be created in the neighborhood where they live.
Most of my family and many of my closest friends call me a pessimist. I disagree. I believe I am a pro-active optimist, someone whose default is that things will work out in the end - but not automatically. Only if we do our part to ensure success.
When I challenge their characterization of me as a pessimist, the response is generally along the lines of: “You always assume the worst possible thing will probably occur.” But I am not assuming that at all.
“If there is some old friend you want to visit, don’t keep putting it off until it is suddenly too late.”
This was a line in an email from a college friend. It hit home.
When I moved to Maine in 1977 after my residency, I realized that I now lived about 20 minutes from the home town of someone who had had a huge impact on my life the summer after high school.
With the onset of the Covid pandemic, my in-person social interactions ground to a halt in March of 2020. Some of the things that stopped happening were dining out, live theater and movies, musical performances, in-person work in community organizations, time in the local library, attending live medical CME. Drastically restricted were things like personal interactions associated with relatively necessary tasks like shopping, medical and dental appointments and procedures, and automobile maintenance.
I was invited to a New Year's Eve Day gathering of some friends who have met annually for a couple decades or more, but who had not met during the pandemic. Our group number 25-30, all in our 70s now. The invitation said masks were 'welcome' but said nothing more about precautions. I was thrilled and excited, but also puzzled at the lack of mention of testing.