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What have we adults done to deserve them? The children. The pure, enigmatic, creative, spiritual, insightful, always hungry, and sometimes stinky little beings. The tiny humans that will grow to, hopefully, be better humans than we are. Better adults than we are. If we only gauge our behavior in accordance with how we are reflected back to ourselves through their eyes, they can teach us so much. We need to listen more to these tiny humans, or even listen more to our own childhood selves.

But who can remember anything about what it felt like to be a child? What…

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This morning, my son had a little trouble managing his emotions. Sometimes e-learning and quarantine get a little much for all of us. So we took turns writing a story together. I thought I’d share it with you here. I lightly edited his writing for grammar and clarity. The parts he wrote are in italics. I hope it makes you giggle a bit too:

Mom: Once upon a time there was a boy, a prince among ordinary men, named Alex.* He was the kind of boy that could make a bad day seem good, and by that I mean the world was a better place just because of the sheer fact he was in it. He didn’t realize this was true. He really had nothing to feel good about. In fact, sometimes he felt so bad, he just had to yell. And that’s just what he would do. (Yelling is ok, actually. …

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It’s not about you. It’s not about the people who get it and recover. It’s about those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. Those people will suffer and could potentially overwhelm the healthcare system so others won’t be able to get treatment for unrelated illnesses. It’s about PUBLIC health.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible. It makes you feel sick, but not too sick. So you continue to go to work and school. During that time, you are transmitting the disease to other people. Unlike a different corona virus called SARS. SARS made the victim very, very sick. Too sick to…

Photo of the author and her mother, circa 1974.

The day I went into the student dean’s office at my medical school to tell her I was pregnant, I felt like I needed to apologize before even walking through the door. When I told her I was not only pregnant, but pregnant with twins, her response to me was, “And who’s going to take care of these babies?” I was a grown woman at the time and married. My husband and I had been desperately trying to get pregnant for two and a half years. After one abandoned cycle of IUI (intrauterine insemination), we tried IVF (in vitro fertilization)…

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I don’t think I need to say it, but I will: this time of year sucks if you have Trumpy relatives. If you’re dreading being forced to sit at a dinner table with them, here are a few ways to understand why they think the way they do and some tips about how to attempt civil discourse with them.

In order to effectively communicate, two things need to happen:

1) a signal must be transmitted, and

2) a signal must be received.

I have found, in my own political communication with those who do not share my viewpoint, that although…

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The social movements today all are fighting for the same thing — fundamental human rights. The right to equal treatment under the law, equal pay for equal work, access to education, access to healthcare, the right to live on a planet that will persist beyond the next generation, the right to exist as a black man without being shot by police, and the right to govern what happens to your own body. It’s important that these disparate movements always see what they have in common. …

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I often think about what if we approached an emergency medical situation that could kill someone the same way we approach social policy that actually is killing people.

Say someone comes into the ER having a STEMI, the type of myocardial infarction (heart attack) that can kill you in, well, a heartbeat. Imagine if the doctor says, “Ok everyone. Let’s take our time and work with the blood clot that’s cutting off the oxygen supply to half of this guy’s heart. Maybe we can compromise.”

Just so we’re all on the same page, there’s no compromising with that blood clot…

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I saw a tweet the other morning calling on white women to renounce their dependence on white men as a way to change the power structure in this country. The tweet thread that followed purported that it was impossible for the white supremacist male hierarchy to be turned on its head when so many white women are “entrenched” in it.

I have to agree.

We can see evidence of entrenchment in white male supremacy in the fact that more white women than one would expect (the figure is around 53%) voted for Trump. They did so because it was in…

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Late-Stage Global Capitalism and the Commercial Practices of Fast Fashion and Artisanal/Small-Scale Gold Mining

Isn’t it great that here in America we have access to an endless supply of fashionable new clothes and sparkling jewelry that almost everyone can afford? Any one of us can go to our local Walmart, or Target, or Kohls and purchase not only what is necessary for survival, but also what makes us feel good. This widespread access to ‘things’ has been termed a “democratization” of commodities. Since we live in a democracy, isn’t it a good thing?

The answer to this question is a…

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Making electricity from poop at wastewater treatment plants

Today I took a tour of my local wastewater treatment facility. I recommend everyone does this. Wastewater treatment plants truly are marvels of modern engineering. And you really do need to know what happens to your poop after you flush. When I think about how far we’ve come since the 1800s — when we threw our poop out the window into the street, when our waste mixed with our drinking water, and when disease from unsanitary conditions was rampant — to now, it’s amazing how far we’ve come.

Even though no one wants to think about what happens to our…

Janette DeFelice, MD, MA

Author of “Delia Rising” and “Resistance Essays from the Heartland.” Degrees in poli sci, humanities, and medicine. Mom of twins. Doesn’t suffer fools.

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