Blog posts

Answers to your questions about COVID-19

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals. And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I’ve been posting about COVID-19 regularly on Facebook and Instagram and I hope you’ve been following. If so, this post will be a re-cap; if not, I hope you learn something. Most of this information comes from the CDC, Centers for Control and Prevention, and some from state, local, and private health agencies.

what are the symptoms of covid-19?

symptoms of COVID-19-fever, cough, shortness of breath
COVID19_SYMPTOMS

how can i keep myself and my family from being infected with covid-19?

avoid contact with sick people, do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth; wash hand often
Until we have a vaccine, the single most important prevention is frequent hand washing.

how is covid-19 different from colds, flu, and allergies?

covid-19 vs other respiratory illnesses

What else can we do to stay safe from covid-19?

should we be afraid of covid-19?

MANAGE ANXIETY-DON'T BE AFRAID-BE SMART
managing covid-19 anxiety

exploring the HEART of health by understanding COVID-19

Thanks for reviewing this outline of this new disease that we are all learning about and that has changed our lives so drastically. I appreciate the CDC and other sources for making these easy to understand graphics available.

COVID-19 is a new, serious, contagious health risk that concerns the medical community as well as government, schools, business, religious groups, charities, and private citizens. These communities have banded together quickly to develop plans to manage this threat effectively.

Just like other challenges we face, it can be daunting and sometimes scary; but sometimes that’s when we accomplish the greatest good in the long run.

At times you may feel stressed, anxious, have trouble sleeping, or feel afraid. Seek the support of family, friends, clergy, and health professionals.

And if you find your anxiety becoming overwhelming, don’t hesitate to contact someone you trust for help. No one of us has to go through alone.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Donate to COVID-19 Pandemic Response | World Vision Canada World Vision – Gift Catalogue. Give a gift that will make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and their communities. Shop now.
2 bandaids crossed on a world globe
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Why we need Palm Sunday

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration

Palm Sunday is one of several “holidays”, or more correctly holy days that Christians “celebrate”, or observe, in the weeks before Easter called Lent. Palm Sunday comes from an event recorded in the Bible books of Mark, Luke, and John.

The prophet Zechariah had said 

“Announce to the people
of Jerusalem:
‘Your king is coming to you!
He is humble
and rides on a donkey.
He comes on the colt
of a donkey.’ ”

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The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do. They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs. Then Jesus got on.

The next day a large crowd was in Jerusalem for Passover. When they heard that Jesus was coming for the festival,  they took palm branches and went out to greet him. They shouted,

Hooray for the Son of David!
God bless the one who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hooray for God
in heaven above!”


(Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-38; John 12.12-19)

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Lent starts with the well known Fat Tuesday-Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday.


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Holy Week starts with Palm Sunday, related in the story above. At my church on Palm Sunday, the preschool age children march into the auditorium waving palm branches and sing a song for us. The parents and grandparents sit up front, proudly taking pictures and video. It’s a day to celebrate before we observe the solemn sad days of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

two crossed palm branches

a second day to wave palm branches

It may not have been a Sunday, but I recently discovered another time when palm branches are used to honor Jesus. But unlike the first Palm Sunday, it celebrates a much happier occasion. It’s in the book of Revelation.

After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, as they shouted,

Our God, who sits

    upon the throne,

has the power

to save his people,

    and so does the Lamb.

Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,

    thanks, honor, power,

and strength belong to our God

    forever and ever! Amen!”

Revelation 7:9-12, CEV

sharing faith, hope, and love

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

The first Palm day was a prelude to unexpected pain and suffering. Most of us did not anticipate the pain and suffering this pandemic would bring. But the second Palm day was a celebration because their pain and suffering was over. And I believe some day we will look back on these difficult days and celebrate health and wholeness again.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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National Doctors’ Day 2020- battling the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the biggest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic

National Doctors’ Day

Did you know there is a national day to honor physicians? In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day, first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Doctors’ Day 2020

But Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the toughest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic.

March 30 is Doctors' Day

You may not have a chance to honor your doctor in person, but you can commit to doing your part to establish a trusting, respectful relationship with your doctors. It will be good for both of you.

a medical person holding a stethoscope

how to communication with your doctors-

Be open and honest about your medical history,lifestyle, and concerns. 

Sometimes patients leave out important information due to forgetting, thinking it’s not important, embarrassment, or fear. But that may be the very piece of data I need to pinpoint what’s wrong.

So tell the doctor

  1. If you can’t do something you’re asked to do
  2. If you can’t afford medication, tests, or treatment
  3. If you are afraid of a test or treatment
  4. If other doctors are caring for you
  5. Your social habits-alcohol use, smoking, sexual behavior

Learn more tips on talking with your doctor here-

How to talk to your doctor to improve your medical care a male doctor holding a tablet

Give details about your problem, explain what you feel

I find that patients often have difficulty describing how they feel. They may say they hurt, cough, itch or get short of breath, but give few details. Maybe because we use  text messaging with its brevity, abbreviations and emoticons. We have forgotten how to use descriptive words.

I don’t think we doctors expect our patients to always recite a rehearsed narrative  about “why I came to the doctor today.” But it does help if you come prepared to answer questions as specifically as possible.

You might try thinking about your problem using the PQRST mnemonic. It will help your doctor identify possible causes for your symptoms, and may also help you understand your problem and even suggest ways you can help yourself.

Find out what PQRST means at this post-

How to tell your doctor what’s wrong with you.

Female doctor looking at an xray

Recognize your doctors are people first

As physicians, our patients’ “social histories” help us understand factors in your life that impact your health -where you live, your job, your family, your hobbies . Besides that, we enjoy getting to know you, especially the things that make you and your life unique and interesting. That feeling can go both ways.

a woman in white coat with mask over mouth

Exchanging a few social words can make the encounter more satisfying for you and your doctor. Some of us will be more open about sharing our personal lives, and some subjects may be off limits. But I don’t think any of us will object to polite,  caring interest in our lives outside of medicine.  

You may cry when you read about a unique doctor-patient relationship in this post-

A simple way to help your doctor beat burnout

Finally, in honor of Doctors’ Day, meet some physicians with unique experiences to share, just a few of the many doctors who work tirelessly to share the HEART of health.

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE

Dr. Kent Brantly awoke feeling ill- muscle aches, fever, sore throat, headache and nausea. As his condition progressively worsened to include difficulty breathing, he learned the cause of his illness- the Ebola virus. Having spent the past few weeks caring for patients caught up in the Ebola epidemic that swept Liberia in the spring of 2014, Dr. Brantly had contracted the disease himself, and would likely die, as almost all victims do.

Continue this story at-

Surviving Ebola, “Called for Life”- Dr. Kent Brantly

affiliate link

 DISASTER HEALTHCARE

When she applied for a position in New York City at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Dr. Judy Melinek never imagined that decision would plunge her into the nightmare of September 11, 2001. She was at the ME office that day when the Twin Towers were attacked and fell, killing thousands of people.

She and the other staff collaborated with the team of investigators who worked night and day identifying remains of the victims, a task she vividly describes in the book. This was basically their only job, since the cause of death was for the most part irrelevant, and impossible to determine. Sometimes they had only a small body part, as little as a finger, to extract DNA to identity a victim. Such identification was critical to bring closure to the families who lost loved ones, people who left for work that day, and never came home.

Read more about Dr. Melinek at this review of her book-

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and The Making of a Medical Examiner- a review of words worth sharing

Meet the 91 year old still practicing physician, whose grandfather was a slave- Melissa Freeman, M.D.

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exploring the HEART of dedicated physicians

Join me on Facebook March 30 through April 3 where I share stories about physicians past and present who share the HEART of health every day.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

words for Lent – Good news

And before anyone can go and tell them, they must be sent. As the Scriptures say, “How wonderful it is to see someone coming to tell good news!”Messiah selections from the New Testament

 

John 1:29

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world!

Romans 10:15

 And before anyone can go and tell them, they must be sent. As the Scriptures say, “How wonderful it is to see someone coming to tell good news!”

2 angels in white
angels from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, affiliate link

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Hebrews 1:6
 

Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) English

© 1978, 1987, 2012 Bible League International

 
Good news Watercress Words.com
 
 
    

Messiah by Handel

 We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel , son of a barber-surgeon, wrote it for Easter.
He drew the lyrics from Scripture, choosing passages that tell the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.
 
Get in on iTunes (this is an affiliate link)
 
 

sharing faith, hope, and love

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

"And now these three remain:faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)

hope and a future after COVID-19

When you feel like giving up, endure.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

JEREMIAH 29:11 

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

hope and a future

Christians often read, quote, and share this scripture when they want to encourage someone starting a new venture, like graduating, starting a business, or to deepen someone’s faith.

It’s not wrong to do that, but by taking the verse out of context, we miss much of the richness and the true inspiration of the passage.

Earlier in the book of Jeremiah we learn that the people he was writing to were enslaved people, who were refugees from their native country; not just refugees, but exiles. Life was tough; it had been for a long time, and would be for a long time more. This is what had been done to them.

” I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 

 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. 

 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.”

Jeremiah 25

Now I am certainly not suggesting God sent COVID to us now as punishment or as a divine object lesson. We all know life is not perfect, bad things happen to everyone. But the way we look at our difficulties and what we do with them makes the difference.  

Jeremiah 29:11graphic by alittleperspective.com
graphic created by Christine Miller, http://www.alittleperspective.com/category/perspective/, used by permission

What a Bible scholar says

I’m not a Bible scholar but my friend Jeremy is. He wrote this commentary on Jeremiah 19:11 which he generously shared with me and you.

“This is one of the most misused verses in the Bible, but the comfort this verse offers is far deeper than the out of context promise often given to graduates.

This was a specific promise given to specific people as opposed to a universal promise to mankind, and it was made to them while God was destroying their nation, tearing down the Temple, and sending the people into 70 years of captivity in a foreign land.

Families were torn apart, people were enslaved; those left behind in a desolate homeland struggled to survive starvation. This was the setting of the promise.

But the promise God gave them was- no matter how bad things were about to get, God had a plan and He would not abandon them forever. 

The same God who promised Israel their suffering would end, and they would come into a brighter future because of the refining they would experience,  is the same God who brings us into the covenant promises. No matter what fire we are in, if it is the Lord’s chastisement we are enduring, God  will bring us into a better future if we allow the fire to purify us.

When you feel like giving up, endure. These people suffered for 70 years to receive this promise, so we can endure whatever length we must as well. ”

You can read the entire chapter here –Jeremiah 29

 

written by Jeremy Scott Wilson, B.A., Biblical and Theological Studies; M.A., Theological Studies and Church History. Jeremy occasionally blogs at Awakening to basics .

exploring the HEART of faith, hope, and love

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love in cursive letters
another inspirational graphic from the Lightstock.com collections of stock images, an affiliate link

a desolate waste

Dr. Jonathan Weinkle, author of Healing People, Not Patients , referenced Jeremiah in a recent blog post about the COVID-19 pandemic.

All we can do is keep breathing.  Breathing in the desolate waste, hoping it will again be tilled one day.

The conditions for that tilling, however, are faith, repentance, and repair.  We don’t get to just decide to go back and till the desolate waste and expect crops to sprout abundantly.  We have to work for it. 

Another prophet, Jeremiah, predicted, as the Jews were still in the process of being exiled from the land by the Babylonians, “Houses, vineyards and fields will again be purchased in this land.”  But he meant seventy years thence, not the next day.  Things had to happen, conditions had to change, before that could happen.

Dr. Weinkle

Read his post at

Keep Breathing

What doctors want you to know about COVID-19

it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

In this post I’m sharing some of what I’ve been reading about the COVID-19 epidemic. These experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate physicians share insights to help colleagues as well as patients. I thank them for taking the time to share in the midst of this crisis.

a perspective from China

Since 2016, Laura Jordhen, M.D. has been practicing in Shanghai’s United Family Xincheng Hospital and was chair of infection control for the hospital before becoming chief of its family medicine department in December. In an interview for the AAFP she said,

“(In China now) Things are slowly getting back to normal. Our ear, nose and throat clinic is reopening. Dental is reopening. The number of new confirmed cases is low.

People in Wuhan are still basically isolated in their homes, but throughout the rest of China schools are starting to open up. With still a few cases reported every several days in Shanghai, schools have still not reopened. It’s still very strict social isolation.

Massage, hair cut — any kind of business that involved physical contact or having people close together — was shut down around Chinese New Year, which started Jan 25.”

Read more of Dr. Jordhen’s insights on China’s handling of COVID-19 at

U.S. FP Shares COVID-19 Insights From Practice in China

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

from the National Institutes of Health

On the NIH Director’s blog, Dr. Francis Collins explains social distancing.

“What exactly does social distancing mean?

Well, for starters, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

Other recommendations include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, no handshakes, regular handwashing, and, when encountering someone outside of your immediate household, trying to remain at least 6 feet apart.

These may sound like extreme measures. But the new study by NIH-funded researchers, published in the journal Science, documents why social distancing may be our best hope to slow the spread of COVID-19. ” Read more at

To Beat COVID-19, Social Distancing is a Must

Practice Social Distancing.
provided as a service from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center

In A nine-step plan to deal with COVID-19 stress, psychiatrist Dr. Gerard Clancy offers this advice.

“7. Can-do list. Under the current guidelines there are many things we can’t do. With activities out in the community curtailed, this can leave down time. This has allowed us to create a list of what we can do.

This has included reading books, reorganizing the house and watching classic and new movies. It has also included my own version of Master Chef, where I need to cook dinner with what we have left in the pantry. It has been a challenge but also fun.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.
I’ve heard some families say this is allowing them to eat dinner together more than usual.

Why Doctors and Nurses are Anxious and Angry

“Every single day for the past six months, I have recommended the flu shot for my patients, and every day a good chunk decline. When I ask why, most can’t articulate an answer. They offer only an inchoate distaste for vaccines, fomented by the oddly contagious anti-vaccine movement.

I remind them that their grandparents would have given their eyeteeth for the vaccines they blithely shrug off. I point out the entirely unnecessary resurgence of measles resulting from a falloff in vaccination rates.”

Dr. Danielle Ofri, a doctor at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, is the author of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” and the forthcoming “When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.

Review your family’s vaccination status at this previous post about vaccine preventable diseases.

exploring the HEART of COVID-19

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences dealing with the challenges this disease outbreak brings into your life. What have you found helps you to survive and thrive though this? How will this change your life, good or bad? Share here or find me on social media.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

Viral Words from Bonhoeffer

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, I remembered Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German clergyman and son of a physician.

dietrich Bonhoeffer

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, I remembered Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German clergyman and son of a physician. He lived in Germany during the Nazi era, and tried to save lives by following his conscience.

one act of obedience is better than 100 sermons- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com

For that, he was executed and is considered to be a martyr for his faith.

Review the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer at this

previous post .

a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer
graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com

sharing faith, hope, and love

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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