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Showing posts from November, 2023

Trying to be Thankful in 2023

 I feel it is more challenging than ever to carve away the chaos and destruction so that we can focus on what we should be thankful for.   Yes, there is beauty in the world which we must seek out and cherish.   Yes, there is kindness and generosity in our midst which we must champion and promulgate. Yes, there is dialogue and open mindedness which we must resurrect and cultivate. Skimming national and international current events on any day reinforces the reality that the space to find gratitude is smaller that it used to be.  But it is there. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world;  indeed it's the only thing that ever has.    Margaret Mead On this recent Thanksgiving, I hope that all of you had blessings to celebrate.  Perhaps the task will be easier for all of us next year.

Signs and Symptoms of Cancer

"Doctor, do you think I have cancer?" In a prior post, I did my best to point out that handling questions from patients and their families in a skillful manner requires a measured and cautious approach.   Paradoxically, physicians have not received much training, if any, in this aspect of doctoring, which physicians engage in dozens of times each day. In the unlikely event that you have not yet perused the prior post, here’s the link , which will serve as a brief prep course for this current posting. All of us hope and pray for a salubrious life.   Sickness scares us.   We fear any worsening of our illnesses, future mental decline, loss of physical function or any unforeseen change in our medical fortunes.   The fear of cancer hovers over all of us.    And, understandably, patients want to be reassured that their symptoms are benign and transient.   There is another genre of questions that are directed at physicians that requires a deft response.    Below, I will list s

When Your Doctor is Running Late

One pleasure that engage in regularly is taking time to simply think and to collect my thoughts. I don’t have a dedicated time for this pursuit; I can seize the moment at any time.   Often, I am on a walk or maybe simply driving somewhere.   I use these times to rove through recent happenings in my life and in the lives of those I care about.   Or, I might reflect – some might say ruminate – over a news item or opinion piece that I have read.   There is no agenda.   My mind simply roams and wanders stopping periodically at various unplanned destinations.   Think of this experience as akin to entering a large bookstore (younger readers may need to google here) without a specific title in mind.   You simply start ambling through the aisles sampling various books until you find one or two that meet your fancy.   The journey, as I see it, is a central part of the adventure.   Contrast this with purchasing a specific book on Amazon.   I’ve purchased books both ways, but one of these opt

Can I Trust my Doctor?

We all recall President Reagan’s adage, trust but verify , with regard to the then Soviet Union.  President Reagan’s choice of words indicated that trust could not be assumed.  I challenge this notion as I feel that to trust another person, an organization or even a country that trust must be assumed to exist.  That’s what trust means.  Conversely, if one has to verify its presence, then true trust is clearly not there.  If a spouse, for example, hires a private investigator to prove that his or her partner is behaving honorably, is trust present? I think that overall the public trusts their doctors, although they are wary about the medical profession writ large.   The public may view their physicians in the same way that it views politicians – they see systemic dysfunction and self-interest in both professions but folks give higher integrity marks to their personal doctor or representative.   Often, patients who I know have confidence in me voice criticisms over various frustrating