Early yesterday morning, a 16-year-old child went missing. Early yesterday morning, a woman, in desperate anguish, put out a Facebook post with pictures of her child and asked for help. By late this morning, through the power of social media, the child was found safe. Two days ago, a Big Ten university football team played a national military academy’s football team. There was an amazing pre-game military tribute, and the half-time ...

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I took a long walk with my dog today, and then I took a shower. I like showers. I’ve always found them soothing and comforting. I can think in there. I can relax. I can’t hear the phone ring. I can’t see a television. Generally, no one bugs me while I’m in there.  I come out clean, refreshed, and smelling and feeling good. A shower can relieve aching muscles while removing the ...

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A friend posted an article on her Facebook page discussing a recent research study out of Sweden showing that people on the autism spectrum have a decreased life expectancy. This friend has a child with autism. Autism coupled with learning disability, according to this study, is associated with the largest decrease in life expectancy. This friend’s child has learning disabilities along with autism. My friend is scared. On top of her worries ...

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It has taken me almost two years to be able to write this. We said goodbye to our beloved dog in early May of 2013. I grieved for well over a year. About a month-and-a-half prior to his death, we had a big medical scare with him. I wrote at that time about how dealing with a veterinary emergency can provide us with some insights and practice parallels to dealing with ...

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My career is based on communication and empowerment within the medical world. I educate on the patient/family side and the medical professional side. It takes understanding and empathy from both sides of the stethoscope to optimize communication. It takes communication between both sides to bridge perceived power differentials. It takes work on both sides to change a culture of uneven power dynamics. I read two Facebook posts within the past few days dealing with a ...

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Spring is here. The days are getting longer. The temperature is slowly getting warmer. Green stuff will start poking through the ground and popping out on trees. We’ll see more of our neighbors, since they won’t be trying to get from their cars into their houses (and vice versa) as quickly as possible before they freeze. Pollen allergies will start up again. And grass allergies. So many people suffer from the watery, itchy eyes, itchy, ...

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Our family loves to hike. Traveling the trails is a deeply happy place for us. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when one of us suggested taking a hike, and everyone didn’t unanimously and enthusiastically agree. A few weeks ago, my family took a lovely hike in a state park in Massachusetts. It was a gorgeous day: temperature in the upper 40s, blue skies, no wind. The ...

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We all have prejudices. We have racial prejudices. Religious prejudices. Gender prejudices. Occupational prejudices. Age prejudices. Weight prejudices. Height prejudices. We prejudge based on hair style. Language. Accent. Clothing. Shoes. Attractiveness. Tattoos. Names. Jewelry. Family. Hobbies. Cars. Schools. Type of home. Music. Where a person lives. What type of work a person does. What a person reads. Talents. Disabilities. Physique. Medical history. Injuries. Opinions or assessments by others. No one is ...

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shutterstock_148604930 I was invited to a “networking party.” I went. I was horrified by what transpired there. And disgusted. And felt blindsided. And angry. And blown away by the prevalence of what I couldn’t decide was greed, ignorance, or an unseemly combination of the two. And what magnified the intensity of my repulsion was the fact that a large proportion of the people involved have the ...

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shutterstock_77747272 I spent this past week worrying that my in-laws were going to divorce me. For sure. No getting out of it this time. I do not keep a neat house. There are piles everywhere. Piles of books. Piles of papers. Piles of clean-but-unfolded laundry. Piles of mail. Piles of music. Piles (believe it or not) of instruments. Piles of shoes. Piles of ...

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I just recently attended a meeting where there was a panel discussion on caring for Holocaust survivors. The person who opened the meeting spoke about how she felt inadequate when dealing with this population because she had no personal place of reference -- she had no family members who died during the Holocaust, and so she couldn’t truly understand what the survivors went through. I have a different thought. Although every experience ...

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Recently, my eldest son came home from college for a couple of days. Our home was in perfect harmony and rhythm. The duets (and quartets, if you count us parents) that had played over the prior month-and-a-half were once again trios and quintets. Five or six hands on the piano at a time. The clear brass joining in again with the bright woodwind and the deep bass. The voices in ...

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shutterstock_100742404 This evening, I read a post written by a woman who finds herself feeling alone, depressed, desperate, and afraid of losing herself as she goes through medical school. This post is my response to that woman. Dear colleague and friend, You are not alone. You are far from home. You are far from your family. You are far from the desert, the open ...

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Doctors talk with their patients about many things that might make some people uncomfortable -- sexual issues, abuse (physical or emotional), anxiety, depression, sleep habits, bowel habits, and fears about health-related topics -- things that many people might not talk about in casual conversation at the coffee shop or at work. Doctors talk with their patients about smoking, weight, eating habits, exercise, seat belt use, helmet use, and a myriad ...

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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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