So, Mike went to Emory for his infusion again yesterday and met with his lymphoma doctor. The treatment seems to be going well, and his blood count continues to improve. He is feeling as good as ever now, and says he must have been feeling effects of his cancers without realizing it. He is now on a reduced schedule of chemotherapy, cutting back on the frequency of 2 of his medications. He saw a dermatologist today about his hands and feet which broke out in a drug rash 2 weeks ago. They are better, but still have a ways to go. Once mostly cleared up, he will start his next chemo medication. I hope he tolerates it as well as he has the first 3 drugs. Time will tell. He has now been back at work for 2 weeks, part time. He will continue this schedule and see how it goes for a while. He is happy to be seeing patients again. Mike says the love and prayers continue to give him the positive energy he needs to be sustained through this difficult time. Thank you all.
As regressive as our country seems to be getting (Spoiled Donald, attacks on Roe v. Wade, deterioration of our status as a world power) Many institutions in our country are making great achievements in growth. This month Doctor Patrice A. Harris, an African-American psychiatrist from Atlanta, Georgia was elected President of the American Medical Association. She succeeds Doctor Barbara L. McAneny who now moves to the role of Immediate Past President. Also, Doctor Susan R. Bailey was elected to the role of President-Elect. This is the first time that all 3 positions have been held by women at the same time. Women have been discriminated against for generations in academia, including the field of medicine, in many ways. In Mike’s generation women were discouraged from entering medical school, being encouraged instead to become nurses. Only the best qualified and determined women were admitted. In Mike’s class at the University of Illinois only 16 women were admitted in a class of 200 students. Now approximately 50% of medical school admissions are women. Despite the increased representation of women in medicine, there remain many obstacles to advancement and recognition of excellence, particularly within the medical institutions themselves. So, it is with particular satisfaction that we commend the AMA House of Delegates for their considering these candidates on their merits, not on their gender.
And there is more. Look at the agenda of challenges Doctor Harris highlighted in her acceptance address.
- “The potential rollback of the Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who lack health care coverage.
- A lack of physicians from underrepresented groups in medicine.
- Physician shortages in rural America.
- The use of e-cigarettes by impressionable young Americans.
- The fact that one of two Americans struggles with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
- The rising cost of pharmaceuticals.”
She also made a special point of concern about the continuing alarming rate of opioid overdoses. She said that it is her hope at the end of her term as president she will be able to say that during her term in office America could see the end to the opioid epidemic on the horizon. She hopes to see through cooperation of state and federal agencies and legislative bodies the removal of barriers to treatment of those with substance abuse disorders. Among other elements that would contribute to this problem solving would be parity for mental health, increased equity, and prior authorization reform. (See “It Gets Curiouser and Curiouser'” May 12, 2019.)
The AMA also passed a resolution that it be the policy of the AMA that health is a basic human right. If you don’t think this is a big deal, then you are wrong. This is a very big deal, and it demands that the AMA, as an organization, aggressively push for equal access of all Americans to affordable food, shelter, medication, and care for physical, substance use and mental health disorders. This is not your grandfather’s AMA. Praise the Lord!
Mike and Judy just came home this afternoon after attending the funeral for their former neighbor, Bob McP. It was another Scottish funeral complete with bagpipes. Bob was 91 when he passed, after living a good life. He was eulogized by a son, his 8 grandchildren, his best friend, and his pastor. What I remember about Bob was his friendliness, his smile, and his dog. He was a great role model for his family and his community of what it means to be a Christian man. He gave far more than he took, and in so doing was rewarded with deep satisfaction with his life, and confidence in the goodness of what is in store for him with his passing on. R.I.P., Bob McP.
There is much more happening in Happy Meadows, but I think I will stop for now. Be well, be safe, and you will hear from me again soon.