Well, I’ve run out of words.  Renee and I are actively packing with a move date of May 29, her birthday.  I suspect that my writer’s block will last until the move is complete.

In the meantime, I’ll link you to articles I read that I think are helpful and appropriate.  Today, ZdoggMD does a nice review of the in’s and out’s of antibody testing.  Just click on the hyperlink. As always, if you have a subject you would like m to cover, let me know.

If you know where I can find decent toilet paper, please let me know.  I still don’t understand how TP disappeared from the shelves.  Currently, I’m using something that reminds me of sandpaper.  

Here’s your song of the day:   https://youtu.be/fm-q0ELuk1A

Hope you enjoy, “Our House.”  Certainly, anyone who buys Casa Segal will.  I just opened the pool and it is beautiful.

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Mornings start at 4 a.m. and tend to be great.  Some mornings, my body forgets it has Parkinson’s.  This morning was one such morning.  My legs worked, my balance was good and nothing hurt.  I made a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table contemplating the move. 

At 4 am, the house is quiet.  There are no talking heads spewing forth doom and gloom, no one reading the names of the dead, no silly TV shows; just me and my thoughts of the present and memories of the past.  It’s a great time to listen to the music in my head, write an article or two and even work on organizing a book.

By 10 am, I’m an old man.  My legs no longer work well and, with the struggle to walk, my mood sinks.  I’m 20 years older than when I woke up.  This morning, during my down time, I answered one of my former patient’s email.  I was honest and said life sucked.  I wrote about the frustration of trying to sell a home in the Covid era.  This morning, I was particularly down as I watched my pool glimmer as the sun came up. 

Usually, this is my favorite time of the year.  As my pool awakens, so does the neighborhood.  Normally, the sounds of kids playing, laughing and splashing emanates from my backyard.  I love the intermingling of the sounds of nature and kids having fun; living life to its fullest.  This year the pool will be mostly silent.  We will be gone and a pool service will be maintaining the water while waiting for someone to purchase the house and pool.

Some lucky family will know the joy of swimming and laughing in their own backyard.  I imagine they’ll play basketball, bags and volleyball while the dad serves lunch and dinner fresh off the grill.  All of this passed through my mind this am.  Then I imagined a pool sitting by itself, no children, no laughter as the house waits to be sold.

I’m still riding the roller coaster.  By 11 am, I’m really in the pits.  DING, my phone lets me know I have a new email.  It’s from the patient/friend I had just dumped my mood on and it’s special.  The email is uplifting and hopeful.  She couldn’t have done a better job at lifting my spirits if she had 40 years of experience as a PhD. Psychiatrist.

She threw me a life raft and I thank her for caring.  When I’m up, I write and so tomorrow you’ll read this article.   I’ll publish it just before I put on a winter coat and go sit by the pool.  Illinois weather really does suck.

For those of you who are riding the roller coaster, choose to be happy but make sure your friends and family know how you feel.  They are your life raft when the ride goes out of control.  If you are lucky, you’ll have friends like mine who will share their wisdom with you.

Here is today’s music: 

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I could not say it better!  Here’s a link to ZdoggMD.

I find it interesting that Zdogg attributes a large portion of his success to training he received from nurses.  During my 4th year of medical school I did my clinical rotations at Portsmouth General Hospital. PGH did not have a formal curriculum so the medical director assigned his old school head nurse the task of arranging my rotations and my training.

She was phenomenal.  First of all, no one ever said no to her.  Her skill set and knowledge were amazing.  I think she was the most respected person in the hospital.  Beyond arranging for my clinical rotations, she trained me as a nurse.  That knowledge helped shape me into the physician I became.

Unfortunately, nurses, like doctors, have become enslaved by the hospital’s and insurer’s lust for data.  We’ve all become data input specialists, clicking away, checking boxes and recording useless shit that is required by everybody except us (docs and nurses).

At the nurses core/heart is still the desire to care for those in need.  The next time the doc is running late or you have a problem with the hospital or office, remember the video you just watched and don’t take it out on the nurse!

One more thing.  I’ve have gotten multiple requests for my opinion about the “Plandemic” video.  Once again, Zdogg says it better than I can.  Watch: https://zdoggmd.com/plandemic/

I am aware that many of you do not like ZdoggMD’s presentation style but his material is factual and he is brilliant.

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Once again, I have a song in my head and an article to be written.  Please listen to “Happy Talk” and then read on.  I hope you enjoy this rendition of Happy Talk by Ella Fitzgerald.

You have a very simple choice, be happy or not.  Yep, it’s up to you.  Nothing or no one can make you happy if you don’t choose to be happy.  Unfortunately, others can make you unhappy if you choose to allow them to do so.  Let me explain.

Every time you open the above hyperlink, you are going to see an ad.  Did you watch the ad or did you hit the skip button?  If you choose to watch the ad, you probably have chosen to be unhappy.  The ads are provocative and disturbing.  

My patients are frightened, anxious, depressed, broken hearted, lonely, etc.  The economy is collapsing, people are losing their jobs, worried about paying bills, worried about food shortages, social unrest, etc.  I can go on and on.

How today’s worries affect you and your loved one’s hinges on one simple decision.  Am I going to be happy or not?  I know it’s hard to believe, but you can choose to be happy.  Yes, you have to deal with what’s going on in your life, but how you deal with it decides how it affects you.

Do you have a dream?  The song’s lyrics, “You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?” asks a pivotal question.  So, do you have a dream?

When I was young, my friends and I had dreams.  Dreams of happiness have guided me through life.  My dreams have changed with age; but, at each step, they have guided me.  At first, my dreams were about things, BMWs, girls, vacations, girls, mansions, and girls.  I think you get the gist.

Along came Renee and my dreams morphed into marriage, family, my medical practice, vacations, time with my buddies, etc.  As those dreams were realized and my age advanced, I dreamed of my kids’ successes, grandchildren, vacations, friends, etc.

Then came Parkinson’s.  I stopped dreaming.  Dreams became nightmares.  Then the nightmare of a pandemic became reality.  Dreaming became impossible.  Without dreams, life became joyless and depressing.  My former patients call daily.  They are in the same place as I am.

So, what changed?  Yesterday, a dear friend sat by the pool with me (9 feet apart) and we talked about world events, the nightmare of Covid, cabin fever and more.  That’s when he said, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the rest of my life scared and depressed.  You have two choices in life: you can choose to be happy or not.  I choose to be happy!”

He’s a wise man!  I choose to be happy as well.  Awakening with “Happy Talk” on my mind is the beginning.  Now to start dreaming good dreams: dreams of playing with my wife, children and grandchildren will drown out the dreams of Parkinson’s and Armageddon. Dreams of sunny Carolina days, road trips to Atlanta and Virginia will fuel my happiness and keep me alive.

Do you have a dream?  If not, find one.  Choose to be happy.

Enjoy some music: 

https://youtu.be/QaH7Mdt5DkQ https://youtu.be/vuKt7USFPSo

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I really am sick of the news media.  Every 30 minutes reveals new “Breaking News.”  The new breaking news is the same as the last breaking news and, most probably, will turns out to be wrong.  That’s right, I said wrong.

You don’t need a mask.  You need a mask.  You don’t need an N95 mask, a home made one using toilet paper will work.  Maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and another person.  Tests show coughs go 9 feet or more.

A million people are going to die.  No, it’s more like 50 thousand.   No, it’s now looking like 100,000 will die.  It’s ok to let businesses open, people can protect themselves by keeping their distance and wearing mask.  It’ not ok to open businesses, it will lead to Armageddon. I think the truth is that every scenario is fraught with risk. So, weigh your risks against your potential benefits and make the decision that iseems right for you and your family.  Oh yes, you might also say a prayer or two.

THE TRUTH IS NO ONE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OR WHAT’S RIGHT. The news media is interviewing “experts” in an attempt to grab market share.  Their experts use the scientific method to try to predict what’s coming next.  The key word is “predict”!  They don’t actually know what’s coming.  I think the best thing the pundits could do is to qualify everything they predict with a disclaimer or other qualifier.

“At this time, with the data we have available, we believe that 75- 100,00 Americans are likely to die from Covid-19,” is a lot different than “75-100,00 thousand Americans will die.”  Of course, it’s not as sensational as the qualified statement and therefore, not as likely to increase the news program’s market share.

It’s time we recognize that we are in uncharted territory.  We are learning and sooner or later will figure out what to do; but, in the meanwhile, we are on a roller coaster and can’t get off.  So, buckle up, take sensible precautions, protect those at risk and get back to living your life.

When you hear, “Breaking news,” don’t panic.  What they tell you today, they are likely to rescind tomorrow.  By the way, if you listen to one, one-hour news program a day, you’ll get all the info you need.  If you let them bombard you for hours every day, you’ll probably be more anxious and depressed than you need to be.

My favorite Covid news: https://youtu.be/_5DXs8xxaMU, will help make my point.

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ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DAH (open hyperlink)

Wow, the suns out and it’s 75 degrees. I’m having a Zip-a-dee-doo-dah day. I worked in the garage this morning, deciding which tools I’ll take to North Carolina.  Then I started picking through 30 years of clothes and packing the clothes I’m keeping.  After a few more task, I took a well deserved nap in the sun.

Like the other day, I awoke singing a song.  Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-a, my oh my, what a wonderful day, plenty of sunshine heading my way, zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a -dee-a,

Yep, some sun, some warmth, and a caring note from a patient, makes for a wonderful day.  Did you think I was singing simply because the sun was shining and it was warm?

My patient/friend sent me a text.  She knows I’ve been struggling with my weight, so she sent me an “I know you can do it,” pep letter.  She’s working on her diet and lifestyle as well and she shared many of her successful/positive changes she’s made.

She’s actually quite good at teaching and reviewed, with me, much of what I used to teach people.  So, it’s off to work (in the kitchen) I go whistling a Disney song, enjoying my wonderful day.  If only I could eat what I want to eat.

“What did you say, Will (Power)?  Get my mind out of the gutter?  Yeah, I’ll make a large salad and broil some fish.  Thanks to Will Power and all my supportive friends and patients I’m going to get this weight off.  

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One of the worst games an anxious person can play is “What If.”  One of my patients was playing that game today.  My patient’s elderly parent lives in the south.  My patient is worried that she will never see her parent again.

My patient and his spouse are in the risk of death category.  If they get Covid-19, it’s going to be bad.  My patient and his spouse have sheltered in place for 6 weeks and intend on continuing to avoid outside contact until the virus abates or a vaccine is available.

As I’ve previously stated, social isolation is one of the worse effects of Covid.  Not being able to see his 96-year-old parent is unthinkable.  I review all of his options and suggested that they drive to Florida to celebrate his parents 97th birthday and that’s when the “Ifs” showed up.

What if my car breaks down on the road?  What if we have to stay in a hotel?  What if restaurants and rest stops are closed?  The “what ifs” spewed out one after another.

“What if” is a game you can’t win.  What if lightning strikes right now?  What if your loved one dies while you sit immobilized by the “what if” game? “What If,”  by its very nature, provokes anxiety and anxiety immobilizes you.  The effects of anxiety can be worse than the Covid virus.  A significant number of patients recover from Covid.  I believe fewer patients recover from the “what if” game.

The best way to deal with the “what if” game is to refuse to play!  What if the car breaks down?  I’ll deal with it.  I’ll call AAA or a tow truck.  I have a cell phone.  What if we have to stay in a hotel?  We’ll stop at a higher end hotel.  We’ll carry sanitary wipes and clean the room ourselves.  We’ll stay on the first floor so we don’t have to take an elevator.  What if restaurants are closed? We’ll take our own food in a cooler.

When the “what ifs” pop up whack them with positive thoughts.  It’s like playing Whack-a-mole.  Keeping a positive outlook is critical.  If you are religious, place yourself in God’s hands.  If not, develop an attitude of gratitude.  Be grateful you have  living parent sand plan to see them again.

For sure, let those who love you know how you feel.  Trust them to come up with helpful advice.  My advice to my patients today was to follow their hearts and if their hearts are in the south, by all means, go.

Renee and I will be driving south I 3-4 weeks.  That’s where our hearts are and that’s where you will find us in June.

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I had gotten used to my new body norm.  I’m quite obese.  My friend, Will Power, left town last year and is finally back.  I am so happy to have Will Power by my side once again.  I’m 3 pounds down, only 32 to go.

If I were one of my patients, I would have read me the riot act a long time ago.  In fact, the other day, I stood by the mirror with Will and did just that.  I talked about the negative effects my current weight was having on my back, my knees and my heart.  I added in a bit of old fashioned guilt and shaming reminding myself that eating massive quantities of bad food was like cheating on my family. My weight was surely going to contribute to my eventual death.

I read my own book and started on my “Wellthy Plan.”  I’m sure I’ll be a success.  If I falter and fall, I’ll get up and do it over again until I get it right.  My biggest obstacle is the fact that I love southern food and I’m moving to the south.  Will Power promises to stay at my side.

Meanwhile, my days will be full of packing, saying good-bye to old friends and patients, and walking around my property lamenting leaving while at the same time being excited about moving to NC.

Covid-19 will be around a long time. Renee and I will pack a cooler so we won’t have to stop on the road.  We’ll continue to practice social distancing.  I hope you will as well.  As it turns out, Sweden’s experiment leaving businesses open is failing.

Many of you have asked me for an opinion on the Bakersfield Docs and after watching Zdogg’s report on their news conference, I watched the whole video again.  I have to agree with Zdogg. Open the hyperlink and tune in to Zdogg.

As always, if you have questions you would like me to answer, call or drop me a note.  I’m hoping that one of you will arrange a Zoom reunion of LZFTC patients and staff.  It would be nice to see you guys again.  I think that privacy rules preclude me from arranging it but ya’ll are free to do so if you can figure out how to get the word out.

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Have you heard the phrase, “The new normal?”  You will.  There is truly going to be a new worldwide normal, and I’m not going to like it. Sure, some things will be good.  Last night my children arranged a “Messenger” party. My children, grandchildren, Renee and I signed onto video messenger and goofed around.  The little kids loved it.  Messenger has an emoji function that turns your face into something else.  I loved being a slice of pizza with an enormous tongue.  The phrase, “Try it, you’ll like it” comes to mind.

Being with my family on the internet will never be as good as being with them in person, but it’s better than nothing.  In the end, the new normal will further divide us and isolate us.

Telemed and video conferencing are taking over as the way medical care will be delivered in the future.  They represent the new normal and appear to be here for good. Millennials appear to be very comfortable with telemed.  Of course, many of them were already more comfortable with texting than talking.

Personally, I can’t figure out how to practice telemed.  When I greeted you in the hall or in an exam room, I immediately started assessing how you were doing.  When shaking hands, your skin turgor, hand grip, skin moisture and affect relayed mountains of information about your health.  As you answered my questions about past and present history, I automatically recorded your physical response.  Doing a telemed physical is never going to be as good as doing an actual, live exam.

The new normal will have to work without all of those clues.  I’m sure artificial intelligence (AI) will join telemed in the not to distant future but for now, “Open your mouth and lean closer to the camera will just have to do.”

I’m old and will never get used to the idea that the doctor patient relationship can be eliminated without compromising care.  Of course, as a doctor, I was supposed to be aloof and clinical.  But as your doctor of 20 years and part of your family, you allowed me access to your most intimate fears and problems giving me a chance to help you.  It was a symbiotic relationship.  Helping you and your family fulfilled my needs as a doctor.

Nonetheless, the new normal is here and we’ll have to make the most of it.  Tonight, have a messenger party with your loved ones.  Drop me a note letting me know how you are doing.  Before I leave for NC, perhaps we can have a Lake Zurich Family Practice Zoom party.  Of course, I’ll have to figure out how to use Zoom.

I’ll also have to shave and dress.  One of the best things about the new normal is not having to shave or dress.  I’m not a pretty sight!  Luckily, I married a true beauty who does not need makeup or other adornments.

One of the other good things about the new norm is being able to play anytime during the day or night.  10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, ready or not, here I come.  Oh Renee, where are you?

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Sometimes when I think about my past, it seems like it wasn’t real. It could not have been real, but it was.  It was a great adventure and it was mine.

In 1974, at the age of 23, I said goodbye to my parents, got into a yellow 1972 Ford Galaxie and drove (by myself), to Guadalajara, Mexico.  At speeds in excess of 100 mph, I made it to Guadalajara 3 days later. I didn’t speak Spanish and I didn’t know anyone.

I did have the phone number of Alan Goodman and, having never met me, he was gracious enough to let me stay with him until I got situated.  They say it’s a small world and as it turned out, Alan was a distant relative of Dale (my girlfriend at the time) and Renee (my future wife).

Guadalajara was a tremendous adventure leading to my marriage to Renee and our settling in Lake Zurich and practicing medicine.  I had always planned on living on the outer banks of NC, but Lake Zurich won my heart. 

Now I’m about to go on a new adventure.  My new life starts May 29 when the movers pack and move me to the land of Ya’ll, North Carolina.  Once again, I don’t speak the language (southern drawl) but I’ll learn.

I’ll be starting a new career.  I’m going to be a full time Zadie.  Zadie is the Yiddish word for grandfather, and I can’t wait to start my new job.  I’m getting a huge increase in pay with hugs and kisses every day from my children and grandchildren.  I get 3 days off a week and unlimited sick time. I’ll be a short distance from Jeremy, Allyson, Riley and Erin’s family.

So, I guess this is the beginning of goodbye, a month-long celebration of the years we’ve had together.  Up until now, moving has not seemed real.  It’s real and coming up fast.  I’d love to see each and every one of you guys before I leave but I can’t figure out how.  Covid-19 has made meeting, as a group, impossible. Of course, you could always move to North Carolina.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing on this blog as long as there is something to say.  I’ll keep my old phone number so that I’ll always be just a phone call away.  Feel free to suggest any topic you’d like me to write about.  

If you know any one looking for a swimming pool with a magnificent house, send them my way. https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/5230-Hilltop-Rd_Long-Grove_IL_60047_M70018-59879

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