My wise father said often, “You never know what tomorrow will bring.” It was his way of indicating that we needed to cherish the present and the people sharing our live

s. It wasn’t really about preparing for the perils and pitfalls, although he and my mom seemed to be able to rise to the occasion when loss and challenges showed up on our doorstep. He lost his father when he was a newly-wed in his 30s. My mother lost her father when she was 18. Both of them watched their mothers die when they were young parents with two children to raise. He lost his beloved younger sister in his 40s. Job layoffs had him scrambling to find work, which he did with flair until he was called back in. He was a worrier by genetics since my paternal grandmother fretted over what she couldn’t control. I would often remind...

Continue reading

A Night on the Frontlines During a Pandemic

“You have to stand six feet away.” It was the first time I had ever said that to a patient, and I didn’t enjoy it. My partner for the shift, Talia, and I were standing in a parking lot beside the ambulance. We had responded to this patient’s 911 call in order to provide him with care. Telling him to stand back seemed contrary to that mission, but distance was part of our new working conditions. “The thermometer goes under your tongue—” “—Make sure it’s all the way in the back of your mouth—” “—Tell him to put it under his tongue.” English was not a language the patient spoke, so his teenage son was translating. The adolescent was thin...

Continue reading