I recently went to an “admitted student day” with my eldest son at the university he plans to attend in the fall.  On our campus tour, our guide pointed out a block on the ground in the center of campus (which incorporates a symbol of the university) that no one steps on because “stepping on it will cause you to fail your first exam.”  In the winter, it is the ...

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Our privacy is eroding. Some of this erosion is our own fault -- we post to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media with reckless abandon. Some is the nature of modern communication -- electronic trails are just as easy to find as paper trails (if not easier). Some of the privacy erosion really doesn’t bother me so much -- if Target knows that I buy a lot of Cheerios, I’m ...

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I like a lot of things about Facebook. It allows me to see pictures and video of my nephews and niece and of friends’ children, it quickly lets me know when something big (either happy or sad) is going on in people’s lives, it lets me know what people are thinking about, and it gives me the opportunity to share my own news, thoughts, pictures, or occasional videos with others. But as much as ...

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There was a brief scare in our neighborhood this past weekend. Our phone rang. Our friend, who lives nearby, asked if her 12-year-old son was at our house. He wasn’t. The child had been gone for about 15 minutes. Their family had just returned from a shopping trip with a family friend, and that family friend had forgotten one of his items at our neighbors’ house. The child said, “I’ll run ...

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Our 13-year-old woke up feeling lousy two days ago. He had a sore throat and sinus pressure, and felt really tired and generally icky. He didn’t look toxic -- just a little tired. I gave him a zinc lozenge and told him to get ready for school -- a method that generally can tease out exactly how bad one of my kids feels. He just sat at the table. We generally ...

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This morning I went for my annual mammogram. It’s not something I generally look forward to. In fact, I mildly dread it. In my personal experience, mammograms have ranged from quite uncomfortable to downright painful. And then there’s the general unpleasantness of standing topless in a cold room. The first time I had this screening imaging study done, the plate pressed so hard into my sternum that I was almost in ...

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I recently went to a visitation at a funeral home for my friend’s daughter. She was 24. She had had developmental delays and multiple medical issues, but this was not expected and the cause is not known. My friend is a doctor. A really good one. One with fiercely loyal patients because she is a fierce advocate for them. She is one of those doctors with phenomenal interpersonal insight on top of ...

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I use my computer a lot, so I see a lot of advertisements. Many of them are for the latest two or three items I’ve priced online (which I find somewhat creepy but fairly easy to ignore). Many of them are generic, casting a wide net. These generic ads frequently talk about “one ridiculously easy trick” to halve your car insurance payments, lose 50 pounds, learn a foreign language, look ...

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Recently, I received a phone call in the late afternoon from someone very close to me. Please note that this someone is also a doctor. “Uh, I need you for a minute. I’m kind of freaking out. Can I talk to you?” She had just gone to her local optometrist to get a new prescription for glasses. The optometrist looked in her eyes, told her that both of her optic nerves ...

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Sometimes it’s difficult to practice what I preach. But I try. A couple of weeks ago, I spent the evening in the emergency room with our youngest son (don’t worry – he’s fine). I hate going to the ER, but every once in a while circumstances necessitate it. I called doctor friends in the relevant specialty, as well as our son’s pediatrician, to confirm the need for the trip. They said to ...

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