According to Wikipedia, a livestock guardian dog is a type of pastoral dog bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators. If only our doctors had these noble creatures to protect them from the predators of the world, to alert them when those interested in only the "bottom line" entered the halls of healing, our medical practices. Apparently, a "fox is guarding the hen house," one who is not ...

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My experience trying to obtain the drug prescribed by my rheumatologist is a cautionary tale. This is not about whether the doctor ordered it, or how the specialty pharmacy (CVS) must wait for approval from the insurer before filling the prescription, but the fact the patient who resides and waits at the end of the line, me, is treated not as a person in need, but an expense. In my ...

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I was 5 years old on a busy New York City street with my mom, dad, and two sisters. A large man in shabby clothes holding a garbage bag in his hand stood on the corner waiting for the light to change. My dad reached into his wallet and handed the stranger a $20 bill, patted him on the shoulder, and said, "Have a good day, my man." Dad knew everybody — ...

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My longtime psychiatrist died by suicide. It still doesn't seem real. It's nearly impossible to accept that someone who had the talent and resources to help so many others couldn't avail himself of the help that he needed. It's even harder to accept that I sensed something was wrong and didn't do anything about it. I'd known him for years. In the final months of our relationship, the changes in his attitude and ...

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Death is an inevitable part of the journey of life. We all have experienced its effects: the death of a family member, the death of a friend or those special individuals who we might have barely known but who left an indelible mark upon our consciousness of living. I will share with you a remembrance of someone who was loved very much by all who knew her and who left the ...

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When Hubby isn’t around to act as a sounding board, when I’m not feeling well, I talk to my dog.  She sometimes gets a fearful, tearful earful.  I think if I could channel her thoughts to Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, our conversation might go something like this: Me: Alexa, it took seven days of seeing dentists for someone to listen to me. Alexa: I didn’t know you were a 7th Day Adventist. Me: No, seven dentists. Alexa ...

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An excerpt from How To Be A Merry Widow - Life after Death for the Older Lady. You are like an animal cut off from the herd; people are social beings and need to be with others. The very word ‘"solitary" brings fear even to the most hardened criminal. ...

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"You ever work with vets?" asks the young man sitting across from me in the hospital waiting room. He's been sitting there all morning. So have I. Since 5:30 a.m., my father-in-law, 88, has been undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in his lung. The surgeons just sent word that they've finished, and my wife and her mother have gone to the post-op room to see him. Waiting for them to return, ...

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I've noticed a frightening trend in the latest research on patients taking prescribed opioids: whatever the negative outcomes, researchers attribute them to the opioid medications instead of the underlying pain. The many detrimental outcomes these studies find are exactly what you'd expect from a person suffering long-term chronic pain. They don't recognize or calculate into their studies that opioids were prescribed to ease intractable pain. It's like stating ...

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I was standing behind my trolley in our local supermarket when, in my wallet, I came across that drawing of a human heart. In the miniature pen-and-ink composition, the heart is suspended between two birds’ wings. At the bottom is a dateline: Opioid Vigil, October 19, 2012. Memory is a slippery thing, but I recall the 20-something artist as tall and rangy. At that opioid vigil, he sat behind the exhibit table, ...

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