Last month I took a road trip to Denver, about 1,100 miles each way. I wanted to visit one of my longest, dearest (never “oldest”!) friends who had contracted COVID-19 in early March and who had largely been in isolation since with severe aftereffects (a class of patients who’ve recently gained the moniker “long-haulers”). Continue reading
Privacy seems to be the latest casualty of COVID-19. I guess because I am involved in the information security community, I thought everybody knew about the atrocious privacy policies and reprehensible actions of Zoom. I was shocked to discover that Matthew and Joshua’s school district is planning on forcing children to use this platform whose policies probably make Mark Zuckerberg envious. Here is what I wrote to them today:
While I was searching the net for ways to get testing for my patients with upper respiratory infections who might have COVID-19, I stumbled on a local effort to fill the shameful gap in the availability of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers by getting volunteers to 3-D print face shield parts. I am transitioning my practice to telemedicine, which means I’m home a lot more. I can babysit my 3-D printer while I’m working on the telemedicine gear and helping my home-from-school children with their educational enrichment activities. I’ve fired up the printer and my first mask is printing as I type.
Over the past many months, I have been having a harder and harder time seeing to read (and I spend 80+% of my waking hours reading). I wasn’t really consciously aware that anything was wrong, but I did find that I’d take out my contact lens far more often, I had all my devices set to dark backgrounds, and I was spending more time in my darkened room. I would also get terribly fatigued when I read for more than a few minutes (which, generally, meant all the time). I was getting increasingly behind in reading and responding to email. After months of things getting gradually worse, I realized suddenly that I couldn’t read at all without a lot of squinting and straining.
Well, it happened again. I was attending a group on management of adolescent behavior. I was there to observe and participate. Nobody knew I was a behavioral neuroscientist. I stayed quiet, until the group facilitator said “Science has proven that video games and social media contribute to behavior problems in adolescents.” I couldn’t keep quiet for that: I spend a great deal of time following the literature in this field, and there is no quality science that backs up that claim. In fact, believe it or not, the bulk of good scientific evidence (not observational reports or anecdotes) show a favorable effect of video games.
What better test of new orthotics than tromping around Key West and then Disney World for two weeks?
I’d like to say that the shoes were 100% successful. Alas, it was not to be. I endured some pretty remarkable pain, particularly after the second day at Disney. Overall, however, some foot pain is to be expected in such extenuating circumstances, and I was able to (pretty much) keep up with Matthew and Joshua for the whole trip. So, overall, I’d say the plan worked.
I remember the shoe store my mother used to take my brother and me to when we were little. I remember men handling my ticklish feet and squeezing them with cold metal implements. I remember being asked, over and over, “Do those feel okay? This is really important. Don’t step off the carpet!” No, they hurt like hell. All of them. Every time. But I quickly got the message that the right answer was to say they feel okay. I remember how, every day, the best part of the day was taking my shoes off at night. When I got to high school, I stopped wearing shoes in favor of tatami sandals. Continue reading
So, presumably, it would be too much work to walk to the fitness center.