SUPER SPREADERS

I had a brilliant thought last night as I was going to sleep.  The only problem is I can’t remember it this morning.  In the past, some of my best work has been done in that quasi sleep state that occurs just before I go fully to sleep.  I should have gotten up and written it down, but I didn’t and now it may be lost.

My sleep cycle is terrible.  I can’t find a comfortable position.  Once asleep, I can’t stay asleep as I, like most 69-year-old men, have to get up to pee.  I thought 69 would be a great age.  I graduated high school in 69 and 69 is my favorite . . . number.  Boy, was I wrong!

Covid-19 is continuing to rape pillage and destroy as it comes around for its second attack. It’s a scourge of biblical proportions. I want to paint the doorpost of my house with lambs’ blood and pray that it passes over, but I won’t.  My neighbors would not like that.

We have two big events coming up, both of which spell trouble.  Election day looks to be one super spreader event.  I voted last week and there was not 6 feet of separation.  Hell, 1/3 of the people voting were not wearing mask.  Renee and I maintained an 8 foot radius around us and we were masked.  The line was 90 minutes long.  Please go out and vote but be careful.  I suggest eating a lot of cabbage the night before and using the gas produced by the cabbage to defend your personal space.

The second big event is Thanksgiving.  As families come together for the holiday, the chances of spreading the virus to loved ones increases geometrically.  Killing an elderly parent with love and a portion of Covid-19 is going to haunt you forever.  If you are going to have a family gathering, it might be wise to isolate yourself for the 2 weeks prior just to be on the safe side.  Two weeks of isolation is not too much to ask of you in order to spend time safely with family and loved ones while giving thanks for having survived one of the worst years ever.

While I’m on a roll, let’s not forget Black Friday.  This year, Black Friday may well live up to its name.  I know that the sales are too good to resist but going to brick and mortar stores may lead to going to brick and mortar mausoleums at a later date.  That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I hope I’m just an alarmist but waiting in line to save $300 dollars on a TV just isn’t worth it.  Use the internet and stay healthy.

Well, that’s my uplifting message for today.  I still haven’t remembered my brilliant idea.  If it comes to me tonight, I’ll be sure to write it down.

Here’s your music and a joke.

How is sex like a game of bridge? If you have a great hand, you don’t need a partner.

IN MY BABY’S EYES

Did you ever have one of those days that just sucks? I do and this started off as one of those days.  I awoke at 3:18 am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  My body hurt and my mind was going a mile a minute.  I turned on the bathroom light and Jabba the Hut was staring at me in the mirror.  Unfortunately, I was not hallucinating.  Actually, I think I’m heavier than Jabba.

I brushed my teeth and stuttered stepped into the kitchen, My Parkinson’s was particularly bad.  It took 10 minutes to get to the kitchen table and set up my computer.  I started to write and realized that any depressed person reading my article might choose suicide rather than continuing to read it.

I punted and took some meds, then settled into my lift chair and tried to listen to a book.  Concentrating on my book was impossible so I dosed off for 15 minutes.  On awakening, my brain said I should eat.  Instead, I reset my book to the chapter it was on before I fell asleep and started the cycle all over again.  I repeated the doze, reset and dose cycle over and over again until Lisa showed up with Hudson.

Hudson is 7 months old.  People say he looks like me.  The first thing he does is throw me a smile.  The smile is followed by a giggle.  He starts into a cycle of smile, giggle all the while staring at me.  He makes me smile, then I laugh.  I guess he likes Jabba.  

He has a magical effect on me.  My rotten day gets better.  In my baby’s eyes, I see a better world.  In his laughter, I find a reason to smile.  This is the first time I see him roll over.  Rolling over is a major milestone and I see all of his future accomplishments.  My day gets better by the minute.

Then he cries.  He’s hungry, has pooped and needs a nap.  I now see a baby who needs his grandmother.  In comes Renee to the rescue.  He needs grandma time.  When he smiles again, I’ll be there smiling back.

Baby smiles are the best medicine available.  I’ll take all I can get. I’ll even share a few with Renee.

Here’s your music for the day and a joke. 

The nurse told the parents of a newly born child, “You have a cute baby.”
The smiling husband said, “I bet you say that to all new parents.”
“No,” she replied, “just to those whose babies really are good-looking.”
The husband again asked, “So what do you say to the others?”
The nurse replied, “The baby looks just like you.”

INFLUENZA

Every year in October, I write about the flu shot.  When I was in practice, I invested a large amount of my time convincing patients to get a flu shot.  As a businessman, it was time poorly spent as I made very little money by giving patients the influenza vaccine.

As a physician, it was my sworn duty to protect my patients from preventable diseases; and, even though the influenza vaccine was inconsistent in its ability to protect my patients, it was the best I had.  So, I spent 10 minutes per visit teaching my patients the ins and outs of the flu shot.  Often, my patients would refuse my offer justifying their decision based on crap they gleaned from the internet.

About 10 years ago I had an epiphany.  It dawned on me that, if my patients received the flu shot, I would make $2 but if they got influenza I would make $300.  At that point, I changed tactics.  I started into my educational promotion of the influenza vaccine and as soon as my patient balked, I switch to giving them the economic information listed above.  It worked and a greater percentage of my patients consented and received the vaccine.

The media, insurance companies, internet, and government have done a great job at convincing the public that doctors aren’t to be trusted. Those of my readers who know me well, know that you can trust me.  So, trust me and get your flu shot ASAP.  If for any reason you feel the internet is more trustworthy than your doc, get a new doc.

One last point.  You want to find a doctor to care for you and your family, not a “provider.”  It may sound like the difference is simply semantics.  It’s not!  It’s philosophical!!  I’m a doctor no matter how the insurance company labels me.  My new doc is a doctor as well.  She’ll go to bat for me when necessary.  A “provider” will not.  Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the “provider” works for the insurance company and the doctor works for his/her patients.

Here’s a song for today and a joke.

Doc – “You’re very sick!”

Patient – “Can I get a second opinion?”

Doc – “Of course.  You’re ugly, too.”

A GREAT DAY

It’s a great day.  I’ve been up since 4 am and am feeling almost normal.  My Hands are better, my gait is better, but my weight is up a pound.  At 7 am, I went out hunting for a pecan danish.  Renee rarely asks for anything but yesterday I caught her looking for a bakery.  She wanted a pecan danish.

Living in North Carolina after living in Chicago is akin to living on the moon. In Illinois, I had at least 5 bakeries within an 8 mile radius.  I can’t find a bakery within 10 miles of home.  I ended up at Publix Supermarket this am.

They did not have any pecan danishes, but they did have sticky buns.

I can’t figure out how I’m fat!  None of the foods I like can easily be found here.  I’d give my left nut for a hot corned beef and pastrami sandwich (the hell with the diet).  I’d also love to find a good Chinese Restaurant, a Polish Deli, a Chicago style pizza and a Lettuce Entertain You establishment.  None exist here.  I’m also surprised to find that southern fried chicken has been replaced by Popeyes and Bojangles.

I have to admit, I’ve fallen in love with pimento cheese and Brookwood Farm BBQ but they fail to fill the void.  Obviously, I’m obsessing over food and I’m not even stoned.  I guess I’m lucky.  I’m 40 pounds too heavy surviving on my own cooking.  I’ve always loved to cook and Renee loves to bake.  So, while I can, I cook and Renee just thinks about baking because she loves me and knows I’ll eat what she bakes. I can only imagine how fat I’d be if I had a few really good eating establishments.

I’m sticking with Weight Watchers and am down 5 pounds.  I have to control my food obsession.  I’m trying to substitute sex but Renee claims I’m killing her.  I tried to substitute exercise but that was killing me.  I think getting a job would help but getting a license to practice telemed from home in NC is not realistic.  I’m running out of answers and am open to suggestions.

In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and work on a book looking at how to transition from health to chronic illness gracefully.  Unfortunately, I’ve yet to figure out how to do that.

Here’s your music and a joke.  

A family is at the dinner table. The son asks the father, “Dad, how many kinds of boobs are there?” The father, surprised, answers, “Well, son, a woman goes through three phases. In her 20s, a woman’s breasts are like melons, round and firm. In her 30s and 40s, they are like pears, still nice, hanging a bit. After 50, they are like onions.” “Onions?” the son asks. “Yes. You see them and they make you cry.” This infuriated his wife and daughter. The daughter asks, “Mom, how many different kinds of willies are there?” The mother smiles and says, “Well, dear, a man goes through three phases also. In his 20s, his willy is like an oak tree, mighty and hard. In his 30s and 40s, it’s like a birch, flexible but reliable. After his 50s, it’s like a Christmas tree.” “A Christmas tree?” the daughter asks. “Yes, dead from the root up and the balls are just for decoration.”

VOTE

I voted yesterday.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Renee and I went to the local fire station.  The lot was full of cars and the line wrapped around the building.  In years past, voting was quick and easy.  I never experienced lines.  Obviously, something has changed.  We were in line for 90 minutes.

The line was full of old people.  There was no attempt to maintain 6 feet of separation.  A few individuals wore no mask.  A fair amount of people wore their masks inappropriately.  There were no antiseptic solutions.  One woman coughed.  I kept more than 6 feet of separation and stayed away from the cougher.

It felt good to vote but the authorities did little to comply with the official recommendations.  It’s sad when, in the midst of a pandemic, the officials in charge are so poorly prepared to protect the community.  I wonder how other polling places are handling the masses.

When you go to vote, be careful!  Wear your masks, keep your distance and take disinfectant hand spray with you.  Be savvy, watch those around you for any signs of illness and stay away from anyone who is coughing.

One more thing.  Encourage your adult children to vote.  The 30 somethings were not present in the line I stood in. I may be making too much out of nothing but I suspect their generation will be poorly represented for a multitude of reasons.

With so much changing so rapidly, voting is essential.  Let’s all pray that a vaccine is found and Covid-19 is eradicated.  Then, let’s pray that our response to the next viral attack is more effective.

Here is your music and a joke.  The song today is excellent!

A Harley Biker is sitting on his Harley, drinking a beer, by the Zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage.

Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.
The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter, addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and bravest thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.”

The Harley rider replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted as I felt right.”

The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living, and what political affiliation do you have?”

The biker replies, “I’m a U.S. Marine, a Republican and I’m voting for Trump.”

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:

“U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT & STEALS HIS LUNCH”

WHAT DO I DO? PART 2

Yesterday, I asked the question, “What do you do?”  As I age, the what do you do question seems to be the center point of my life.  In my youth and young adulthood, I never asked that question.  I simply did!  At each subsequent stage of life, my path was clear.

Go to bed.  Get up, shower and dress.  Eat breakfast. Go to the hospital, then to the office.  Care for my patients, then their charts.  Go home and eat dinner.  Play with the kids.  Play with Renee.  Go to bed.  Do over again.

One day it all changed.  I went from work-a-holic doctor to patient with Parkinson’s and a very bad back.  I had surgery and went to inpatient rehab.  Still, my path was clear only, instead of going to the hospital, I was a patient in the hospital.  The routine was eat, sleep and rehab.  Surely, I would recover and return to my old routine.

I did not return to the office.  Instead, I went home, disabled and, for the first time, I asked, “What do I do?”  There was outpatient rehab to occupy my days.  There were friends to visit with, dinners to go to, and travel to look forward to.  Then came Covid-19 and social distancing.  Travel became risky.  Dinners out became risky.

It soon became evident that I was permanently retired.  While I advised my patients not to retire, to keep a door opened so that if they wanted to go back to work they could, my doors slammed shut.  For the first time I asked, “What do I do?”

The answer was surprisingly clear.  I became my parents.  I feel all of their concerns and fears.  I’m mostly my mother.  I worry about money.  I worry about the children.  I can’t find a place for myself.  I worry Renee.  Worst of all, I shop at 3 supermarkets!  I eat, cook and gain weight.  I’m really good at gaining weight.  I complain about my hands, my back, my gait: my life.

I shouldn’t.  I have a good life, good children and grandchildren but, at 3 am, the only thing to do is ask questions.  Worry and complaining take the place of going to the office.  Shopping takes up some of my time but is not intellectually stimulating.  “What do I do?”

I scour the internet for work.  I consider starting a Podcast, but I don’t.  I’ve started my book 10 times and 10 times fail to impress myself.  I want to teach but am too outdated to get a position.  I want to be a patient advocate/coordinator, but my reputation and credentials are in Illinois and do not hold any weight in North Carolina.  What do I do?

I may not know what to do but I know what I don’t do.  I don’t give up!  I’ll keep searching for an answer.  In the meantime, I work on dieting, exercising, wear my mask, keep a 10-foot free zone around me and wash my hands. I surround myself with friends and family.

Most of all, I try not to stress Renee.  I do as much for myself as I can, recognizing that the day is coming when she’ll have to do it all.  She is the love of my life.  What do I do?  For sure, I tell her how much I love her morning, noon and night.

Here is your music and a joke. 

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Olive. Olive, who? Olive you, and I don’t care who knows it.

When is it okay to Love thy neighbor? When her husband is away on business! 

ADHD

Posted on Face Book today.

Take my hand and come with me,

I want to teach you about ADHD.

I need you to know, I want to explain,

I have a very different brain.

Sights, sounds, and thoughts collide.

What to do first? I can’t decide.

Please understand I’m not to blame,

I just can’t process things the same.

Take my hand and walk with me,

Let me show you about ADHD.

I try to behave, I want to be good,

But I sometimes forget to do as I should.

Walk with me and wear my shoes,

You’ll see its not the way I’d choose.

I do know what I’m supposed to do,

But my brain is slow getting the message through.

Take my hand and talk with me,

I want to tell you about ADHD.

I rarely think before I talk,

I often run when I should walk.

It’s hard to get my school work done,

My thoughts are outside having fun.

I never know just where to start,

I think with my feelings and see with my heart.

Take my hand and stand by me,

I need you to know about ADHD.

It’s hard to explain but I want you to know,

I can’t help letting my feelings show.

Sometimes I’m angry, jealous, or sad,

I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and mad.

I can’t concentrate and I lose all my stuff.

I try really hard but it’s never enough.

Take my hand and learn with me,

We need to know more about ADHD.

I worry a lot about getting things wrong,

Everything I do takes twice as long.

Everyday is exhausting for me…

Looking through the fog of ADHD.

I’m often so misunderstood,

I would change in a heartbeat if I could.

Take my hand and listen to me,

I want to share a secret about ADHD.

I want you to know there is more to me.

I’m not defined by it, you see.

I’m sensitive, kind and lots of fun.

I’m blamed for things I haven’t done.

I’m the loyalist friend you’ll ever know,

I just need a chance to let it show.

Take my hand and look at me,

Just forget about the ADHD.

I have real feelings just like you.

The love in my heart is just as true.

I may have a brain that can never rest,

But please understand I’m trying my best.

I want you to know, I need you to see,

I’m more than the label, I am still me!!!!

~Author Unknown

WHAT DO WE DO?

What do you do?  You’re my age, so you are old.  Since you’re old, you are at high risk for an adverse outcome from Covid-19.  You also have loved ones and friends who are in the high-risk group as well.  You want to see them.  You need to see them but you’re afraid to see them for a multitude of reasons.

What do you do?  Your mom lives alone in Florida.  You’re old, she’s ancient!  While she’s in good health now, life is always precarious when you’re in your nineties.  You’re afraid to fly.  Airports freak you.  Planes are tin boxes stuffed with humans breathing your air.  You’re afraid to drive as you’ll have to make it a multiday trip, stay in hotels and hope your car makes it.  You’ll need to stop for gas, food and toileting; and you’re afraid you’ll get infected and then give the bug to your mom.

What do I do?  I have two uncles living in Norfolk.  Both are in their 90’s.  They’re the last of a generation and it’s been too long since I’ve seen them.  I’m faced with the same dilemma.  While I can make the drive in one day, going on the road carries some risk.  I’ve just returned from Hilton Head.  I was impressed by how prepared the Marriott was; their staff was masked and sprayed disinfectant on everything (including me). However, while filling up my gas tank in South Carolina, an unmasked and coughing male pulled up next to me and started filling up his car.  I was masked so I left the gas hose in my tank and sat in the car.  

So, what do we do?  We go about our lives, taking appropriate precautions where necessary.  One of my favorite authors is Tom Clancy. His hero, Jack Ryan, finds himself in danger frequently.  To stay alive, Jack is always on high alert, scanning his surroundings constantly and ready to respond.  We need to take a lesson from Jack.  Wear your mask, maintain social distances and be prepared to react.  If you’re in the grocery store and you want something on aisle 6, wait till aisle 6 is vacant, then retrieve the product you want.  If you’re on vacation and the pool is crowded, don’t go in.    

What else can we do?  Certainly, washing your hands frequently is a good idea.  If you’re religious, say a prayer for you and your loved ones.  If you’re anxious, recognize that anxiety is your body’s burglar alarm.  Pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared.  If you are exposed to the virus, isolate yourself for 14 days.

Things are really screwed up and it’s up to us to unscrew them.  Be careful that social distancing does not become social isolation and you will be well on your way to normalizing your life.

Here’s your music and a joke.

 A couple of women were playing golf one sunny Saturday morning. The first of the twosome teed off and watched in horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole. Indeed, the ball hit one of the men, and he immediately clasped his hands together at his crotch, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in evident agony.
The woman rushed down to the man and immediately began to apologize. She said, “Please allow me to help. I’m a physical therapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you’d allow.”
“Ummph, oooh, nnooo, I’ll be all right…I’ll be fine in a few minutes,” he replied breathlessly as he remained in the fetal position still clasping his hands together at his crotch.
But she persisted, and he finally allowed her to help him. She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, she loosened his pants, and she put her hands inside. She began to massage him. She then asked him, “How does that feel?”
To which he replied, “It feels great, but my thumb still hurts like hell.”

FAUCI

Fauci, by Michael Specter, is well worth reading.  We’ve all seen Dr. Anthony Fauci on the 6 o’clock news and, personally, I’ve grown to admire the man and his grip on the pandemic.  I’ve looked forward to his reports, opinions and predictions. 

Fauci, the book, tells the story of Dr. Fauci from childhood to his current position.  Knowing his background and understanding the story of viral infections should be instrumental in getting you to wear your masks, wash your hands frequently and maintain social distancing. 

Covid-19 should convince you that our nation needs an emergency preparedness plan to prevent future pandemics and, when necessary, treat those who are unfortunate enough to be infected.   Your task is to convince our government that they need to establish that plan and not simply tell us to relax and not to worry.

WARNING – For those of you with anxiety disorders, expect that reading this book initially may actually increase your anxiety.  Hopefully, the knowledge you gain while reading this book will, in the end, be worth the increased anxiety it provokes.  It is truly eye opening and that’s a good thing.  Better to know the enemy is coming and prepare tha;n live in the dark.

Here’s your song and a joke.

Two grandmothers were bragging about their precious darlings. One of them says to the other, “Mine are so good at social distancing, they won’t even call me.”

RELAX, IT’S ONLY A VIRUS

For the first time in a long time, I agree with President Trump.  Relax and don’t let Covid-19 ruin your day.  After all, it’s no big deal.  Let me explain myself.  Covid-19 is no big deal if you compare it to The Holocaust.  Hitler was a much more efficient killer.  Really, Hitler killed millions while Covid-19 has only taken a few hundred thousand, just in the United States.  So why worry?  Our President doesn’t think you should.  

Our President scoffs at wearing masks.  After all, he got Covid-19, was treated and “feels better than ever!”  So, getting Covid-19 is no big deal.  If you get it, he’ll send a helicopter to fly you to Walter Reed Hospital where you’ll receive the best experimental medicine available in the world.  You won’t have to worry about getting insurance coverage or prior authorization.  The government will pick up the tab, won’t they?  So, relax, take it easy and don’t let the virus ruin your day.

Should you worry and take precautions?  No!  Either you’re going to get sick or you’re not, so why fret!  If you get sick, not only will you get a thrilling helicopter ride but you’ll feel better than ever; unless, of course, you die.  It is your God given right to die, isn’t it?  Stand up for your right to die.  Don’t let the government take away your rights.  Screw wearing a mask.

While you’re standing up for your right to die, shouldn’t you have the right to infect your family, friends and co-workers?  Apparently, the President thinks you should.  President Trump is fighting for your rights and to prove his point he’s nailed his wife (can you blame him, most men I know would like to nail her) and others in government.  Support your President.  Take off your mask and nail your wife, your neighbor’s wife and those close to you.  Treat them to a helicopter ride, a steroid high and a chance to meet the Lord.

No other President in our country’s history has been so selfless and reassuring so why are so many people attacking him?  It’s those damn Democrats and their insistence on following the science that is behind this smear campaign.  

Stand up and be counted.  Number 211,668 step up to the pearly gates and pick up your mask.  The winner of this week’s “most infected contacts” contest will get a free trip to hell.

Here’s your music and a joke.  

People are making end of the world jokes, like there’s no tomorrow.

Looks like the end of the world…

Is also made in China.