A Pillow for My Father

A few months after he completed chemotherapy and radiation for advanced lung cancer, my father continued to be held in the tight grip of pain in his right arm, shoulder, chest and neck. It was hard for him to find a comfortable position to lie down or sit up for any length of time because …

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Keeping Calm and Carrying On : Reflections on COVID-19 Vaccination

I am by profession a general practitioner, as well as a mother of two grown children. I bear BCG and smallpox vaccine scars on my left arm from immunizations received before my memory, and I can recall receiving hepatitis B vaccination as a medical student, in preparation for the clinical part of the training. I …

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Keeping Calm and Carrying on with COVID-19: challenges 1 year later

Two weeks ago, two of my elderly patients died of natural causes not related to COVID. Each of them died peacefully at home. Another patient died unexpectedly in hospital after admission for a non COVID illness. Due to the current stop on burial orders in Jamaica, the families of these patients cannot bury or cremate …

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Keep Calm and Carry On: Using the Numbers to Help us Live with COVID-19

In the practice of medicine, when we gather information it is with the goal of identifying problems and finding solutions to these problems. A good doctor rarely gathers information simply for the sake of recording it. When we gather numerical data like temperature readings, or numbers of people diagnosed with an infectious disease, often we …

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COVID-19: Challenges to keeping calm and carrying on

On March 10, 2020, as I heard the news that Jamaica had its first COVID-19 positive patient I felt a knot of fear in my gut. Memories of the chik-V epidemic, and the Ebola threat made me wonder if we could cope with this new threat. With the first press briefing that followed the announcement …

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Baby Sisters, Birthdays and Buckets of Tea

One summer afternoon, more than 4 decades ago, a 3 year old little girl watched her mummy and her new baby sister sleeping on the bed. The recently fed baby girl had her tiny fists tightly curled and the 3 year old took one of the tiny fists in her own little hand. It was …

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