My blog represents my personal experiences and perspectives. This includes many anecdotes from my medical practice. I have been scrupulous to anonymize these anecdotes and to avoid ever belittling or making fun of patients. (I often make fun of and criticize myself, my colleagues, and the institutions where I have worked.)

Neighborhoods evolve.

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.

No, I am NOT a pessimist

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.

Life is not a dress rehearsal

“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.

Horizons in the Covid era

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.

Successful safe socializing in the era of SARS-CoV-2

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.

Some thoughts on America

From a historical perspective, a broadly empowered citizenry has never been a feature of America. It was not part of our Founding, which reserved power to educated, wealthy, white males. It wasn't until the 19th Amendment in 1920 that women could vote. Although the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments after the Civil War abolished slavery, guaranteed all citizens equal rights under the law (excepting Native Americans), and prevented abridging the right to vote, it wasn't until the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that these principles were enforced in any consistent or meaningful way.

Covid and RAT testing: Timing is everything!

A friend recently shared online that he was at Day Seven of a flu that had been ‘kicking my butt all week’. With fever, sweats, cough, fatigue, muscle aches. He’s a smart and responsible guy and had RAT-tested himself twice at the onset of his symptoms and assumed because his two RATs were negative and his symptoms were consistent with Influenza A which was known to be present in his areas, it meant it he didn’t have Covid.

I suggested he retest himself (the explanation is below) and he reported a definite and nearly immediate positive: