The door to our pre-pandemic world seemingly stands before us. Vaccines are becoming more accessible, and some COVID-19 restrictions have loosened. We simply have to open the door and return to our pre-pandemic life, right? Back to the future we know? If only it were that simple. Our previous reality has vanished. Millions of lives have been lost, and millions more suffer from the consequences of the pandemic. People we ...

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It was past midnight in the ED, and she was writhing on the bed, palms clutched over her abdomen. I pulled up a stool, notebook, and pen in hand. I was ready to listen to Mrs. Walker’s story. But I also felt a sense of dread rising: From a quick chart review, I knew that Mrs. Walker had 23 negative CT scans for abdominal pain within the last 18 months. ...

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In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown says, “If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.” If you’re a physician who is "not good at being vulnerable," then it’s likely you’re steeped in shame and you’ll never be able to admit it. Given the social capital that comes with being a doctor, it ...

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"COVID-19 disproportionately impacts those with pre-existing conditions, and our health care system leaves one in five Americans with a pre-existing condition uninsured. Further, with multiple COVID-19 vaccines already in early but slow distribution, attaining universal coverage is critical, particularly in light of uninsurance having an inverse relationship with vaccination rates. President Biden will ...

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It is not a secret that being a physician can be exhausting and time-consuming, but do most nonphysicians really know what it's like to be one? The answer is a resounding no. Television glamorizes the role of the physician and hides the tedious everyday realities. Spouses and partners of physicians know too well the frustration of having a partner that seems to be "always working and not shutting work off." Being ...

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When I sat down to write this article, my thoughts immediately went to the tragic loss of one of my best clients, a physician who recently passed away after battling COVID-19. I remember him not only as an excellent physician but even more so as a great person. Unlike many physicians I speak to in the course of my work, this client had the foresight to do some careful estate planning. ...

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Physicians know what success looks like on paper.  We spend a large part of our journey in medicine taking action to be competitive for medical school, the top-ranking residency training program, and the prestigious attending position. Then the reality of a medical career sets in. The focus on patient volume to generate revenue, the precise documentation needed to justify coding, and the micromanagement of the team to ensure patient satisfaction is a ...

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Maggie sits in the rocker by the window, peering out at the street and its passersby. So much hustle and bustle; it seems no one has a moment to spare. Even the squirrels seem to be in a hurry, scurrying about on the sidewalk below. What's the big rush about? The rocker was Bill's favorite spot, Bill who was the love of her life. He would sit there reading the Sunday ...

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"The patient knocking on your door is not your enemy. They’re sick. They’re scared. They’re in pain. They don’t know why, and they’re hoping for an answer. If you can’t find the source of a problem quickly, it doesn’t mean it’s not there." Denise Reich is a patient advocate. She shares her story and ...

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Before you jump on the diet bandwagon with your brother-in-law (who’s crowing about shedding all that weight with so little effort), think about the potential downside.

The problem with an ill-thought-out diet: 

Fad diets are designed to take off weight as quickly as possible. They often ignore the long-term effects that might occur regarding both the brain and spine. Someone embarking on a radical weight loss ...

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I wanted to share a serendipitous story about a patient I saw in the office today.   I normally introduce myself when I enter the room, but today was particularly chaotic, and I wrongly assumed she would know my name.  I sat down, said hello, and asked how I could help her.  She shared with me that she was having new-onset upper abdominal pain and was due for a colonoscopy.  I ...

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Many who know me might be shocked by this: I shot my first pistol when I was 8 or 9, taught by my father, a physician, aiming at targets in our basement. At summer camp, I loved riflery the way some kids loved art. Staring through the sight, down the barrel, I proved an excellent shot, gathering ever more advanced medals from the National Rifle Association. As a reward, for ...

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Four months into the largest U.S. vaccine rollout in decades, it’s become clear that the messaging surrounding COVID-19 vaccination efforts is as important as the science behind them. That was true when the first COVID vaccines were introduced in December at hospitals and nursing homes and even more so after the federal government on Tuesday paused the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after reports of extremely rare but very serious — in ...

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I look forward to clinic days. I thoroughly enjoy meeting with patients, hearing how they’re doing, and helping them to feel better - even if, on occasion, the only thing I can do to help is to listen. Yesterday was a clinic day. In the middle of the morning, I met with a medical cannabis patient treated for anxiety. As we reviewed his current symptoms, medications, and how he is benefitting from ...

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"I can tell you what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to mill through 50 patients a day, mindlessly clicking through EMR checkboxes so an insurance auditor five states away will deem that I’ve done my job and deserve reimbursement. That’s a high volume, high overhead game, and I ...

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What is this potential side effect of the J&J vaccine for COVID-19? The potential side effect is a blood clot in the veins that drain blood from the brain. This is called central venous sinus thrombosis. In the vaccine-associated cases of this, platelets in blood, which are important for making clots, have been ...

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I was an ICU nurse for 17 years, and it was during my last two years of my career when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Going into and out of the hospital for my chemo sessions. Going into and out of the clinic for my follow-up appointments with my oncologist was the most harrowing times of my life. At this moment, I realized that my own health insurance refused to pay ...

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Zoom: It’s now a verb. This pandemic has led to people using the digital space to stay connected, learn, and interact. We’ve had these capabilities for years, but its true essence did not come to light until a deadly virus shut the world down. In medicine, many visits turned to telehealth. Physicians skeptical of telemedicine were now forced to use this platform to continue health care delivery. As a residency ...

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The first clinical trial administration of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine took place over a year ago, on March 16.  An annus horribilis of masks, remote schooling, unemployment, loneliness, and depression ensued, leaving in its wake more than a half-million deaths in the U.S. — 2.9 million globally. Will vaccines save us? We have ample reason to hope so—unless we derail our deliverance by adopting a “wait ...

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"Humanities can be seen as part of the fabric, society, and culture of human experience. In many ways, they might be seen as the disciplines that make us human and make life meaningful. They broadly encompass ancient and modern languages, literature, philosophy, religion, visual and performing arts, such as music and theater. ...

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