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 improve 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.

Photos in this post are from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, an affiliate link. Consider Lightstock for your photo and graphic needs. You will get quality media and help support the mission of this blog-to inform and inspire us all to discover the HEART of health.

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.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out

One winter night an ice storm hit my city. My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. We couldn’t cook, wash clothes, or watch TV.
As inconvenient as that was, the thing I missed most was light.

LIGHT -Matthew 5:14-16

From Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out-www.watercresswords.com-exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

(This post uses affiliate links for support by a commission if you purchase through them.)

The day my lights went out

On a cold December morning I awoke to no electric power in my house.No heat, no coffee,no hot breakfast, no television happened that day.

During the previous night rain fell, quickly turning to ice so thick that it brought down exposed power lines. It also took down tree limbs which in turn knocked down more power lines. By dawn, a city of a half million people was largely without power, including my home and clinic.

Upon arising, we started navigating the challenge of life without electricity. We had no heat, could not cook, wash clothes, watch TV, use our computer, or recharge our cell phones.

So, after opening our automatic garage door manually, we drove around looking for an open restaurant , finding traffic signals not working, and many businesses also closed. I didn’t go to my clinic since it didn’t have power either.

Somehow we made it through the day; it was something of an adventure at that point. But at sunset, we faced an evening and night in the dark.

My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. By the third day my clinic reopened so I had access to a computer, could charge my phone, and had a warm place to spend the day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As inconvenient as all the other things were, the thing I missed most was light.

I felt grateful to have candles and flashlights, but they weren’t the same as being able to flip a switch on the wall or turn the switch on a lamp and have bright light flood the room.

By living in the dark for 5 days I learned
I should not take light for granted.

Natural sunlight lasts from 8 to 14 hours per day, depending on where you live- unless you live at the north or south pole,where you may be in darkness for 24 hours part of the year. Once the sun sets, you are in darkness unless you create light in some way.

Light is a great equalizer.

It didn’t matter who you were or what part of town you lived in. Rich and poor and everyone in between experienced the power outage. Some people already had generators or were lucky enough to find a store with one for sale. Otherwise, you were in the dark.

Life without light is difficult.

Sitting in the living room listening to our battery powered TV (now a relic) by candlelight, wrapped up in blankets wasn’t too bad. I just had to remember to take a flashlight to go to the bathroom or into my closet to change clothes. With no power or windows to catch a little moonlight, these areas of my home were pitch black. We couldn’t cook, and could not safely store cold food-I had to throw everything in the refrigerator and freezer away by the third day. We quickly tired of peanut butter and crackers. Dirty clothes stayed dirty for the time being.

a sketch of 5 lit candles in a row
image from Lightstock.com, affiliate link
It takes work to produce light.

Power company crews worked around the clock, helped by  crews from other cities and states. It still took 2 weeks to get power back to everyone. It took even longer to get all the broken tree limbs picked up from  streets and yards and hauled off to a central site for burning. Subsequently the city undertook a plan to trim trees that posed a hazard to power lines  and to bury power lines.

Light should be shared with others.

Residents and businesses who had power invited others in , providing places to eat, wash clothes, charge phones, and stay warm. We were all in this together, and everyone seemed to make an extra effort to be kind to each other.

New York City at night
We enjoyed a view of the lights of New York City from the Empire State Building

Related scriptures about light 

Mark 4:21

Luke 8:16

1 John 1:5-7

Previous posts in my series on Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount . 

Opportunities to do good

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

God's Promises for Women NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Women NIV Bible
God's Promises for Men NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Men NIV Bible

exploring the HEART of light

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope, love spelled out in wooden block letters
Faith Hope and Love , a graphic from Lightstock.com