May 8, 2020


Today was a better day. Thanks to many of you who wrote words of encouragement and appreciation. It makes a difference. We all need each other to get through this.

I saw one of my favorite patients today. Actually it was a video visit, which she was thrilled to be able to do. She just got out of the hospital and was checking in with me. But this was the kind of hospitalization that someone like her wants. Six years ago when I first met her, she was an emaciated crack addicted women who had trashed her kidneys and was starting dialysis. In the last 6 years she cleaned herself up, stayed sober, went through rough times with kidney cancer that she survived. And miracle, she got a new kidney two weeks ago. Now she is no longer dependent on dialysis three times a week, she is making urine again, and is looking forward to the future. Amazing story, amazing that she got her new kidney during the pandemic, amazing that she got a new kidney despite being an African American with a history of addiction. The best of modern medicine in a state that values life.

Years ago I assisted with a kidney transplant surgery in med school and it was truly one of the coolest things I ever saw. Within seconds of connecting the pale, bloodless donor kidney to the renal artery and allowing blood to flow, the kidney transformed from a lifeless organ to a bright pink color, with the first drops of urine starting to drip out of the as yet unattached ureters. Lifesaving, to say the least and so reassuring that medicine, at its best, rises to solve problems.

Last night I listed this link to a story about the transmission of the coronavirus and how to cut down on your risks. I want to revisit it because it is so very helpful in explaining what is risky and what is not. Knowing these details can make all the difference in preventing infection, but also relieve fear and anxiety. Knowledge is power. Another reason I want you to read it is because we are in this for the long haul, while waiting for a vaccine or more effective treatments. Having this knowledge can help you enjoy life more while we are in this phase, so important! The two elements you can control to limit exposure are proximity and time. Masks help, being outdoors is better, amount of time matters. A brief interaction is not risky, a longer interaction in a closed space is not such a good idea.

We can do this. We can help each other through this challenging time. Knowledge and kindness are the answers.

Wash your hands and cover your nose!

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.