SHAME

Shame on all of you!  The all of you I’m referring to are the Republicans and the Democrats.  You have turned a medical illness, Covid, into a political disease and, in doing so, have aided and abetted the pandemic and indirectly killed many Americans.  By inserting your political party’s interest into the battle against Covid, you have created confusion and distrust and have robbed your constituents of their peace of mind.

Over the last 40 years, I’ve had multiple new vaccines designed to defeat multiple infectious agents and not once have I had to deal with the confusion, fear and distrust sewn by the infighting between the Democrats and Republicans.  Over the last 40 years, I’ve given “one and done” immunizations that, in time, proved to give temporary immunity and require boosters.  Thank God, Washington stayed out of the immunization business until after I retired.

Let’s get one thing straight.  Our screwed up medical system does not reward doctors for preventative care.  That’s right. We get paid for treating illness and the worse the illness, the more we get paid.  So, when your doc recommends a vaccine to prevent a disease, he is cutting his own financial throat.

It used to take me 15 minutes to get a flu shot consent.  When my patient was particularly stubborn, I would thank them for not getting the shot saying, “I make $5 dollars off the shot and $350 if you get influenza.  My landlord, staff and wife thank you for taking the more expensive path and bolstering everybody’s bank accounts.

Do yourself a favor.  Ignore the Republicans and Democrats.  Ignore the president, google, your friends and family.  Don’t fool yourself.  It takes years of training to be good at understanding medical research.  Don’t do your own. CALL YOUR DOCS AND ASK THEM WHAT THEY RECOMMEMND.  Hopefully, they know you; and, for sure, they know what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Follow their recommendations.  While not being paid to keep you healthy, most docs are dedicated to improving your health by practicing preventative medicine.

One more thing.  As dangerous as Covid is, it is not close to being as bad as the political divide which is worsening day by day.  God bless you and keep you safe and healthy.  Remember, laughter is good medicine and it’s free. 

Here’re your jokes for today:

Q: What is the difference between capitalism and socialism?

A: In a capitalist society, man exploits man; and, in a socialist one, it’s the other way around. 

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, “What is politics?” The dad says, “Well, son, let me try to explain it this way: I’m the breadwinner of the family, so let’s call me capitalism. Your mother, she’s the administrator of the money, so we’ll call her the government. We’re here to take care of your needs, so we’ll call you the people. The nanny, we’ll consider her the working class. And your baby brother, we’ll call him the future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense.” The little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has soiled his diaper. The little boy goes to his parents’ room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, “Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.” The father says, “Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.” The little boy replies, “Well, while capitalism is screwing the working class, the government is sound asleep, the people are being ignored and the future is in deep shit.”

CHAPTER ONE (PRELIMINARY)

I want you to meet the “K” brothers. My first attempt at finding a Podiatrist was a bust. My appointment was in the early a.m.  My afternoon patients always complained about how nasty my front desk personnel were.  While I didn’t condone it, I understood why they might be short with afternoon patients.  By noon, enough patients had complained about paperwork, waiting to see me, having to pay their bill, their insurance carrier and a hundred other things that my staff, clocked in at 7:30 and were pleasant caring individuals had morphed into professional hit men and women.

Anyway, the first doc’s staff were cold, uncaring, and definitely not helpful.  As it turned out, they were mirror images of their boss, the podiatrist.  He entered the room without knocking, quickly introduced himself and asked why I was in his office.  Before I could complete two sentences, he interrupted me, taking control of the conversation.  He assumed I wanted my nails cut, proceeded to cut them, then stood up and headed for the door.  I was having pain in my left great toe and I had to raise my voice to get his attention.  A quick exam, a short explanation and he was gone.  His nurse put my shoe on, took me to the desk, made an appointment for a 3 month follow up and out the door I went. I never went back.

Luckily, I found the “K” brothers.  I will refer to the brothers frequently in this book. Even though I was a last minute, appointment on a Friday afternoon, I was treated as if I was an old friend.  There was a knock on the exam room door and in walked a smiling, welcoming doc.  Dr. “K” asked me why I was there, listened to my complaint (I broke my toe when I fell), DID NOT INTERUPT, and then reviewed my physical exam and x-ray.  He reviewed my options, TOLD ME WHAT HE WOULD DO IF IT WAS HIS TOE, gave me a flat bottom shoe, made sure I understood the treatment options, then sent me home.

I instantly liked and trusted him.  His smile was genuine and infectious.  He was lighthearted, professional, and closed with a joke.  You would think he had been reading my blog.  I had met his brother once before.  I wondered if they were twins.  In one visit, the brothers had clearly developed a rapport with me and my wife that usually takes multiple visits to develop.

These docs are naturals.  My son, Jeremy, is a natural.  He can walk into any room and immediately make friends, establishing “rapport” easily.  He never studied “rapport”; it just came naturally.  If, while reading this book, you can learn how to instantly establish rapport, I will have accomplished my goal.  So, let’s look at some other docs and see if we can figure out how to establish and nourish rapport and what traits prevent the creation of a relationship based on rapport.

Here’s today’s joke:

I was at a football game. Sold out stadium, but the guy next to me had an empty seat next to himself…

…As the game wore on, I asked him “Who’s seat is that?” He looked at me sadly and said “That was my wife’s seat but she passed away.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” I replied. “You don’t have any other family that might want to come to the game with you?” He shook his head and said “Nah… they’re all at the funeral”

PREFACE

When I transitioned from a practicing physician and began my new job as a full-time patient, I was lost.  Being on the patient side of the medical complex proved to be a daunting task, one I was not prepared for despite my 40 plus years of working as a physician.  As my journey took me from one doctor’s office to another, I quickly realized that my education as a physician was sorely lacking in one very important area. “A Doctor’s  Journey Into Illness, Lessons Learned” will address those areas where my education was deficient and propose changes to medical curriculums aimed at improving patient care by providing future physicians with the tools necessary to truly understand and treat the effects of disease as experienced by the patient with said illness.

When I retired and moved to North Carolina, I was forced to leave the comfort of a medical complex I was intimately familiar with and start anew with physicians who were totally unknown to me.  It was as if I was ill for the first time and had to learn my way around the medical world from scratch.  In writing this book, I did extensive research establishing relationships with a Gerontologist, Gastroenterologist, Orthopedic Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Movement Disorder Specialist (neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s), Physiatrist, Otolaryngologist, Pulmonary Specialist, Dermatologist and Podiatrist.  I also had to learn the ins and outs of two hospital systems, Atrium and Novant.

If it sounds ridiculous to you, it is because it is ridiculous.  Yes, my health has deteriorated with problems in multiple organ systems.  Along the way, I have met physicians that I would rank among the best I have known and physicians who were not nearly as good as I require to be part of my health care team.  As you read the pages of this book, I will introduce you to various traits that this group of physicians have that make them either the best of the best or put them in the not-so-great category.

Defining the traits that make a physician good or not-so-good is not my intent, nor will it help future physicians to be better at caring for patients.  Afterall, who is good and who is not-so-good are highly subjective.  My hope and fervent desire is to propose a change to medical school curriculums that will address the differences in these physicians’ practices and enhance patient diagnosis and care in such a way that its benefits are sufficient to have medical schools adopt it.

Let me give you a general overview of my proposal. Fourth year medical students would become patients and be given scripts that lay out their medical histories, signs, and symptoms.  As much as possible, they are to act as if they have the disease. First year residents would then see them or actors, as if they were actual patients. Their exam and care would not be scripted.  All interactions would be filmed and then the films would be viewed and critiqued by the class and the professor.  The goal is to understand what a patient experiences when ill and seeing a physician and how the things physicians do, from the minute they walk into the exam room influences until they leave the room, effect the patient/physician relationship.

As my writing progresses, I will be publishing excerpts from the book on this blog and look forward to your input and any stories you have that might help patients, students and doctors navigate our healthcare system.

Here’s today’s joke:

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner.

I took out my wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked,”If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?”

“No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless man replied.

“Will you use it to go fishing instead of buying food?” I asked.

“No, I don’t waste time fishing,” the homeless man said..”I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive.”

“Will you spend this on hunting equipment?” I asked.

“Are you NUTS!” replied the homeless man. “I haven’t gone hunting in 20 years!”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not going to give you money. Instead, I’m going to take you home for a shower and a terrific dinner cooked by my wife.”

The homeless man was astounded. “Won’t your wife be furious with you for doing that?

I replied, “Don’t worry about that. It’s important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up drinking, fishing and hunting.”

ME

Five days ago, I embarked on the most fantastic vacation I had ever been on.  Unfortunately, my vacation ended today.  I went to a land I’ll call “Me.”  I haven’t been to “Me” in years.  As a matter of fact, I had forgotten what it was like to be “Me”.

I need to give you some background information first.  As time passed, Parkinson’s proved to be a skilled butcher, carving away small pieces of my physical being and large chunks of my soul.  The changes have been dramatic when viewed in aggregate.  Yesterday, I came across a picture of me from 2017.  When I compared that picture to a current picture, I realized how thorough Parkinson’s had been at destroying the man I was meant to be, leaving behind the creature I had become. 

The creature I had become was a jealous one.  It would sit outside on its walker and watch its neighbors go on their morning walks.  Its abilities had been so diminished that walking any distance had become next to impossible.  My neighbors walked on a solid surface, enjoying the beautiful North Carolina days while I walked in quicksand and pain.  I thought, if only I could walk, I’d be happy. 

I’ve searched the medical world for an answer, to no avail.  The search did reveal that, in addition to Parkinson’s, I have cervical disc disease with a disc herniation at C4-5, along with a long list of other disorders.  I wasn’t joking when I described Parkinson’s as a butcher, but I failed to mention that its assistant in my destruction was Father Time.

Now, back to my trip.  My neurosugeon sent me to a physiatrist to try to deal with my pain.  Dr. Plummer is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark world.  We talked about options; and, as a short-term fix, she started me on a steroid dose pack. I went to sleep in my hideous body and awoke in the land of “Me.”

Yep, the next morning I could walk better, move better; and, for the most part, I was pain free.  I felt like “me” for the first time in years.  My companion, Parkinson’s, was still there; but the real “me” had taken over.  It was heavenly.  I was back on dry land and functioning.  My sense of humor returned.  I was fit and ready for duty.  It was as if my prayers had been answered.    

Unfortunately, you can’t stay on steroids forever.  Dr. Plummer had given me a 6-day pass and that pass is expiring today.  A Medrol Dosepak starts off with 6 pills on day one and the dose decreases by 1 pill a day.  My trip is coming to an end.  Six pills were marvelous; 2 don’t cut it.  Unfortunately, the butcher’s work is permanent; and I’m returning from the land of “Me.”

I am grateful for the short vacation.  I am better than I was before I took this trip, as I know, buried under a pile of Parkinsonian shit, “me” still exists.  I will continue to look for a way back to the land of “Me” but, mired in quicksand, doubt I’ll find it.   

Today, most doctors follow rules and there are rules that govern the use of steroids.  In my day, doctors made up their own rules, understanding that there were risks and weighing the risks vs. the benefits.  Perhaps I will find a doctor willing to break the rules and give me a trip to the land of “Me” on a more regular basis.  We’ll see!

Here’s today’s joke:

A biker walks into a bar and sits down on a bar stool near the end of the bar.

He takes a look at the menu and it reads as follows:

Hamburger – 2.99

Cheeseburger – 3.99

Chicken Sandwich – 4.99

Hand Jobs – 19.99

The crusty old biker waves the bartender down and up walks this tall, busty, beautiful redhead in her mid-twenties. She smiles at the biker coyly, and he asks in a quiet voice, “Are you the one who gives the hand jobs?” The bartender blushes slightly and says, “Yes, I am” with a sexy little smile. The biker grins and says, “Well, wash your hands, because I want a cheeseburger.”

EMOTIONS

Yesterday, I was talking to a neighbor/psychologist about depression and anxiety.  Most individuals are unaware of the fact that both depression and anxiety are normal human emotions/responses.  Let me explain.  Imagine you are walking in your neighborhood when you notice a beautiful German Shepherd about fifty feet in front of you.  You love dogs so you approach.  As you get closer, the dog growls and bares its teeth.  Do you get anxious?  Most individuals would. 

In this case, anxiety serves as a burglar alarm, warning of impending danger and hopefully keeping you from being bitten.  Therefore, being anxious about a current threat to your wellbeing is normal and healthy.

Now let’s look at a similar situation.  Every time you get ready to go for a walk, your fear of being bitten comes to the surface and you have an anxiety attack.  There is no current threat, no growling dog, yet you cannot control your anxiety and decide to stay home. 

In scenario number one, your alarm goes off and you weigh your options. Options allow you to reduce your anxiety.  You might notice that the dog is wagging his tail and stops growling as you get closer, or you may simply cross the street and walk away from the threat.

In scenario number two, you are projecting yourself into a future situation that does not exist anywhere other than in your mind.  Your alarm goes off but there is no real and present threat. As you scan for danger, you become progressively more anxious and start worrying about other, threats.  If you live in the future, you are most likely going to experience anxiety.

Now, let’s look at depression. My sister-in-law just died.  Being depressed over the loss of a loved one is appropriate, right?  So, what about being depressed over some distant loss or event.  Is that appropriate?  When you live in the past, you are most likely to experience depression.

You cannot change the past.  Playing the “would have, could have, should have” game is emotionally perilous and, in addition to depression, leads to guilt, another destructive emotion.  By the same token, you really can’t change the future.  Your best chance at being happy and healthy is to live in the present.  The present is a gift that only lasts a short time.  Use it, enjoy it now; as tomorrow, it becomes the past.

The above ideas are not novel.  Psychologists teach them to people on a daily basis, yet depression and anxiety are rampant today.  Anxiety is stoked by the 24/7 news cycle which constantly looks to the future of the stock market, our country, the cost of items, the availability of commodities, the risk of infection, etc. 

Personally, I get depressed every time my Parkinson’s flares, every time I look in a mirror, every time I realize that practicing medicine is gone forever.  I find my mind drifting towards the past way too often.  My children and grandchildren, Blessings List, neighbors, Rock Steady Group and former patients that I stay in touch with all help keep me in the present.  I work hard each day to keep an “Attitude of Gratitude” and the right perspective, reminding myself that to be happy is a choice, just like living in the now is a choice.  What’s your choice?

Here is today’s joke:

I’ve been sleeping with my maid for the past 3 years.

Just don’t tell me wife, she hates it when I call her that.

TRUST

How do you know who to trust?  In the old days, most people trusted their docs!  The internet did not yet exist.  Medical breakthroughs were reported in journals which came through the mail and sat in piles on your doctor’s desk waiting to be read.  The major TV channels had actual programs that reported the news as news, not commentaries.

When you saw or were examined by your doctor, he/she actually was a doctor, not a provider/NP or PA. You trusted that your doc would stay up-to-date and give you the best advice available.  If you wanted more information, you went to the library, not your friend’s house.

Today, the world is radically different.  The internet offers up a plethora of medical advice.  Your neighbors have become medical specialists based on what they read on the internet and anyone can find “facts” to justify any belief system they adhere to.  Anti-vaxers can find volumes of information disparaging vaccines and proving that they are harmful to humans and sponsored by a government that uses vaccines in an attempt to enslave its constituents.  Emotions run high!

Doctors still talk about “peer reviewed” studies as being the pinnacle of research; yet true peer reviewed, published research is often boring with page after page of written material describing every protocol and tool utilized before getting to the data which is described in a language foreign to most.  The material is presented in such a manner to allow scientists and doctors to draw their own conclusions.

Material on the internet is usually presented with just enough information to support the author’s opinion.  It is often sensationalized/politicized; and the goal appears to “go viral” rather than inform those who need the information to make the appropriate patient care decisions.  People from all walks of life have become their own experts, bypassing their docs and treating themselves according to their own belief systems.  It used to be said that only the fools treated themselves.  If that dictum was true, then we have become a society of fools.

People I respect, friends I enjoy being with and truly like, have schooled me in Covid management.  Some believe that a dysfunctional government is inserting itself into their lives, forcing vaccines down their throats.  (Yes, the government is dysfunctional.  Democrats and Republicans seem bent on tearing this country apart.)  Others believe that the vaccines, themselves, are evil.  No matter what their beliefs are, they are entrenched and willing to fight to make their point.

I try to avoid getting into the fray.  The old days are gone, no matter how closely I follow the actual data and research. Afterall, I’m a retired doctor. What do I know? Once again, I am trumped by Google! 

Sometimes, I can stay out of the conversation.  I always regret entering the fray.  Emotions run high and friendships can be fragile.  It’s a pity.  Covid has caused so much damage and loss of life.  Now its coming between friends and families.  Unfortunately, we are at the beginning of Covid, not the end.  Unfortunately, Covid has become more than a killer virus; it has become a political infection. 

One of my most vivid childhood memories is standing in line in my high school gym with thousands of people.  I was scared and excited at the same time.  The nurse used a futuristic air gun to shoot the polio vaccine in my arm.  Polio was crippling people and we came together, as a nation, to fight it.  We succeeded!  We have come together to fight measles, mumps, and chickenpox with remarkable success, as well.

What’s different now?  Back then, we trusted our docs.  Now we don’t trust anyone!  What a pity.

Here are your jokes for today:

My girlfriend invited me to her house, I found her sister alone in the house, she was unbelievably sexy, she whispered in my ear, “i have feelings for you, shall we have sex” , I immediately turned around and walked to the front door to go to my car, I found my girlfriend standing there, she hugged me and said: “you’ve won my trust”… Moral of the story: always keep your condoms in the car.

5 Important Qualities to have in your women:

1. It’s important to have a woman, who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, and has a job.

2. It’s important to have a woman, who can make you laugh.

3. It’s important to have a woman, who you can trust and who doesn’t lie to you.

4. It’s important to have a woman, who likes to be with you. 5. It’s very important that these four women do not know each o

TRUTH

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a fact check organization that monitored commercials for truthfulness?  I think so!  My car is in the shop awaiting repairs following a rear-end collision (more about that later).  I’ve been with the same insurance carrier for close to 40 years.  If their commercials were true, my car would have already been repaired and returned to me.  It’s not even close to coming home with me.

Are the commercials true?  Is the management of my claim simply an outlier or is it the norm?  Currently, there is no way of knowing.  So, the commercials continue to sell what may be a falsely represented product.  If you are a programmer or research analyst, perhaps you can make a bundle by holding the advertising world’s feet to the fire.

Can I really take an over-the-counter pill that will maintain or improve my memory? Research shows that an old product called Obecalp (placebo spelled backwards) works 30% of the time. I used to prescribe Obecalp but it was taken off the market.  What a pity; placebos are great meds! Research will show that they are effective (30 % of the time). 

According to the commercial I’ve watcher hundreds of times, I can improve my memory by taking a jelly fish extract!  If I could only remember the name of the product.  The commercial accomplished one thing; I remember it comes from jelly fish and I can vividly remember being stung by jelly fish at Ocean View. See, the commercial is effective at improving my memory.  If you try to validate its effectiveness, you’ll find very little peer reviewed, validated research; but you will find that it is effective.  Remember, placebos are effective 30% of the time.

Again, a fact check, unbiased appraisal of the claims made by the manufacturer, would be very helpful. Figuring out what’s real and what is not is going to be tricky.  Ever hear a commercial state, “Recommended by more doctors than any other product on the market?”  I’ll share a secret!  While the commercial implies that the product is better than the competition, it fails to tell you that the product’s sales representative leave tons of samples in physicians’ offices and that when a physician gives samples of their product to a patient, it’s considered a recommendation.  Very clever, heh?

Isn’t it interesting that the competing cellular companies all claim to have the best coverage at the cheapest price?  Obviously, somebody is lying, But which company is it?  Sure would be nice if one of my readers created a fact check organization that looked at commercials!

Here’s your joke of the day:

“That wife of mine is a liar,” said the angry husband to a sympathetic pal seated next to him in the bar.

“How do you know?” the friend asked.

“She didn’t come home last night; and when I asked her where she’d been, she said she’d spent the night with her sister, Shirley.”

‘So?’ the friend replied.

‘’So, she’s a liar. I spent the night with her sister Shirley!”

YOUR ADVOCATE

I had a lot of fun earlier this week. A neighbor, who was having trouble understanding her surgeon’s explanation of the causes of her symptoms and her options, asked me to accompany her to her visit.  I felt like a racehorse (I’m almost as big as one), who was sent onto the track for one more race before being put out to pasture.  I know what it feels like to be put out to pasture and I don’t like it.

Back to my story, the surgeon was 45 minutes late, as expected.  As a physician, you can either answer your patient’s questions and be late, or you can cut the visit short and be on time.  I always preferred to be late and take care of each patient’s needs while they were in my office.  Obviously, I didn’t complain about waiting.

The surgeon was an older gentleman, probably in his 60s.  He reviewed his findings and all available options.  He was thorough but used a great deal of medical terms and abbreviations.  I understood what he said and what existed “between the lines.”  My friend got the gist of the conversation but missed some of the finer points.  I particularly like when he used the term, “phlegman.”

According to Wikipedia, “A phlegmon is a localized area of acute inflammation of the soft tissues. It is a descriptive term which may be used for inflammation related to a bacterial infection or non-infectious causes. Most commonly, it is used in contradistinction to a “walled-off” pus-filled collection, although a phlegmon may progress to an abscess if untreated. A phlegmon can localize anywhere in the body. The Latin term phlegmōn is from the ancient Greek”.  The word Phlegmon just sounds so exotic and descriptive that only very bright people use it.

Back to the story again, the surgeon hedged his bet discussing the current indications for treatment versus the old protocols for surgery.  I sat silent as I listened to this master surgeon cover all options while giving his patient a complete informed consent and leaving the ultimate opinion in the patient’s hands.

Later, I reviewed what I heard the surgeon say and explained his approach from a physician’s point of view.  I believe the surgeon would have preferred to do surgery despite current guidelines which advised a wait and see approach. 

The surgeon scores a 4 out of 5.  He would have been a 5 of 5 had he used more common/lay words and less abbreviations.  My bet is that he is a 5 of 5 in the operating room (OR).  GOD, forbid, I need a GI surgeon, I’d be happy to have this surgeon care for me.

The lesson for patients is to take an extra set of ears (patient advocate) with you when you are seeing a doc.  Your advocate’s job is to listen intently and then be prepared to discuss what he/she heard while in the exam room.  You’ll be surprised at how much difference exists between what you heard and what your advocate heard.

Here is your joke for today:

A man goes to visit the doctor.

Man: Did the test results come back?

Doc: Yes, and the prognosis isn’t good.

Man: Well, how long do I have?

Doc: About 10.

Man: 10 what? Years? Months?

Doc: 8… 7….

FREE WILL

First, I am not a biblical scholar.  That being said, I wonder if we are entering the “end times.”  If you don’t believe that climate changes are caused by man’s rape of the earth or you believe that Covid really is the government’s attempt to control us, stop reading here. 

In the last few days, I’ve watched a movie in which a Rabbi discusses the negative affects of climate change and man’s role in causing climate change, I’ve listened to another Rabbi discuss the same topic and the urgency of the situation, and I’ve marveled at the fact that despite having an effective vaccine against Covid, 50 percent of the US population have yet to be vaccinated.

Personally, I believe in the concept of free will.  I have to!  Afterall, if everything is preordained, then nothing we do matters, and it looks like we are fucked.  So, assume we have “free will.”  That means we can choose to combat Covid and climate change or we can choose to ignore it.  Right?

Let me tell you why I think we are entering “end times.”  I’ve been expecting a pandemic for years.  Pandemics are cyclical and we’ve been overdue for one.  I also expected that Covid, like other viruses, would mutate and that the war against Covid would be lengthy and hard fought with lots of casualties.  I did not expect that we would have a vaccine in a timely manner.  I also did not expect a significant mutation would occur so quickly.

Here’s where free will enters the game.  The best way to delay or prevent more significant mutations in the virus is to refuse to harbor and nurture the virus.  That means that we need to immunize everyone ASAP and continue to work on new and novel ways to make vaccines.  Unfortunately, a significant percentage of our population have exercised their free wills and decided not to immunize themselves or their families.

If you think Delta is nasty, wait until Delta gives birth to another mutant with an even greater ability to kill humans.  If we wait long enough, our expression of free will may well lead to an untreatable viral enemy that makes Noah’s flood look like child’s play.  Sure, there may be future, unforeseen consequences of the vaccine; but there are unforeseen consequences to everything we consume or do.  The consequences of not taking the vaccine are real and include death. If you die, that’s your choice; but if you turn into a killer and give Covid to a friend who dies from it, that’s unforgiveable.   Remember, your freedom ends at the tip of my nose.

Regrettably, I think climate change is a done deal.  We may be able to rescue our planet but it’s going to take years.

Here’s today’s joke:

The real reason not to do anything against climate change:

Just think how dumb we’d look in front of our children, if twenty years from now we discover climate change was in fact not real. We’d have cleaned the ocean and the cities, preserved the rain forests and millions of species, innovated in multiple industries, made the air breathable again, created a more sustainable lifestyle for the decades to come and a better world for our children, completely for nothing. I’m pretty sure we’d all doom the fool that made us do all that.

MY HERO

Yesterday, my sister-in-law, Martha, and my niece, Alli, posted updates on Facebook, reviewing the progress my brother has made since having a stroke 2 years ago.  Alan has worked hard at recovering the use of his left hand and leg and his continued improvement is miraculous.

Alan is no stranger to work.  He worked out in the gym for most of his life.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a time when he didn’t go to the gym.  Martha credits the docs for saving his life and aiding in his recovery.  The years Alan invested in building his body and preparing it for combat have been the foundation upon which his progress continues beyond the original projected prognosis.

I also credit his spirit/attitude.  Unlike me, Alan has refused to give in to depression.  He focuses on what he can do as opposed to what he can’t do.  His sense of humor has flourished.  I look forward to his Australian weather reports and our daily conversations during which he works at lifting my spirits.

My big brother is my hero!  Every time I find myself falling into the pity pit, I think about Alan and what he has accomplished and then I crawl out of the pity pit and count my blessings.  In response to a recent article, Lisa reminded me of how lucky I was to have my family walk me into the ocean and swim with me.  She was surprised that I had not made mention of that.

I have been a swimmer my entire life.  While on land I’m a klutz; in the water, I was always graceful.  Having to have my son, son-in-law, brother-in-law and daughter walk me into the water reminded me of how severe my losses have been.  It should have reminded me of how lucky I am to have a loving, supportive family.

Yep, Alan is my hero and I’ll keep working at being more like him.  It’s the Jewish New Year and I want to wish all of you a happy and healthy year full of love and joy.

Here’s your joke for the day:

What is a New Year’s resolution?  It’s something that goes in one year and out the other.