No, the doctor is not in
The pandemic is not over. Like a nuclear explosion raining fallout long after the blast, the worst health crisis in a century continues to leave scar tissue–old and new–upon the land.
Maybe this sounds familiar. Over the last several months, my internist retired, the practice we have relied on for many years – swallowed up by a large medical corporation — is down to one doctor and .6 nurse practitioner. My dentist also retired, selling his practice to a young man who wants to do all kinds of expensive if not urgent procedures. My dermatologist retired; his practice was swallowed by a corporate entity, and he had other personal interests to pursue.
My longtime allergist left the practice, now also subsumed under a large regional umbrella. His replacement has abandoned her Maryland office and now is exclusively in DC. My eye doctor still practices, but his office is stressed; the voice mail message says they are short staffed, thanks for your understanding. But calls for prescription renewals go unreturned.
Many more restaurants and retail shops have shuttered than have opened. The yoga studio I’d attended for more than a decade tried everything to survive – zoom classes, blended zoom and in person – but has announced it must close after 15 years. That is not just the loss of a studio but of a circle of friends who met mostly during these sessions of physical renewal. Well, namaste!
Understandably, there is a great desire to return to “normal,” whatever that means in the post-covid era. But reality keeps getting in the way. As we line up for a second booster shot and wonder whether we should go maskless or continue to exercise caution, it’s hard to escape the implications of the day after. We may never return to before times, even as we watch with horror new threats to peace, democracy, and security – in Europe and at home.
So, let’s not kid ourselves. Even those who managed to remain healthy are in for long-haul Covid. The symptoms may not be physical, but they are surely emotional and just as real.
Now for some good news:
The Eugene L. Meyer Papers are available to the public! Reporters of a certain age have accumulated boxes and drawers of files, containing clippings, notes, correspondence. Looking ahead, you begin to see only two options. These archival “documents” will either wind up in a dumpster, lost of history and posterity, or… they will be donated to a worthy institution.
In my case, I have donated 35-40 boxes or file drawers to the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, the Montgomery County Historical Society, and the University of Maryland’s special collections. The last was prepared to issue a press release and a newsletter in 2020, but then the pandemic stopped the presses. Now, at last, the curating continues, and the collection will be open to the public at a date to be determined. But the other two are already there. Click on them.
Events, near past and near future
Had a nice Zoom crowd of about 50 on Tuesday night, March 22, for the Baltimore Civil War Roundtable on Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army. Zoomers came from as far away as Toronto! Nearly four years after publication, the story continues to be relevant. On May 21, I’ll be interviewing historian and author Ira Shapiro on his latest book, Betrayal: How Mitch McConnell and the Republicans Abandoned America, in person at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.