• Dr. Kemia


Dear Everyone:

I've received a whole truckload of "whaddabout" questions over the last couple of days. There's a lot of new information out there, and I'm mentally chewing on how to best tackle it -- in fact, I'm frankly struggling to make my way through the infodemic and source what is and isn't accurate and true. In the meantime, here are some "morning musings," ending with a question to all of you. I hope you'll take a moment to post a reply - maybe it will generate some interesting, funny, poignant, thoughtful discussion and aid in everyone feeling a bit more connected as we head into the weekend.

Don't forget the basics: Hydrate. Nourish. Play. Sleep. Connect. Work. ---- You are not a binary being. I've made that statement frequently of late - both to myself and to many others. We live in reductive times that seem determined to push us into binary thinking. Everything, including us, it seems, is being pushed into "either/or." You know what I'm talking about - in politics, in parenting, in how we are processing this pandemic, you're "Either" one way "Or" you're in another. In truth, though, we're wonderfully complex. Personally, I'm a paradox wrapped in conundrum. My parentage includes a mom whose people can be traced pre-American Revolution, and a father who was a first generation immigrant. I was born and raised in a small, western town and I while I joke that redneck is my native tongue, I also am comfortable sparring with the most high-falutin academic. I have both infinite and no patience with my children. I love to teach and would be thrilled to never have to school my own ever, ever again (I mean seriously, teachers, please come collect your people). I am deeply, genuinely grateful for our personal situation in this pandemic and howl-at-the-moon desperate for it to end. I have both progressive and conservative leanings (gasp!) and friends. And I wondered: What would happen if we collectively began holding greater space for the "Yes, And." ----- I'm going to come back to this later (and I'm leaving that timeline deliberately nebulous) when we dig into where we ARE and where we're GOING next. But key to all of this will be our remembrance that 1) how things are now is not how they will always be; 2) our data and understanding of Covid19, including healthcare capacity and medical management of the acutely ill is evolving rapidly; 3) we can choose to be patient and kind, and to hold space for both/and as we collectively DO OUR BEST to find a way forward; 4) even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut... ----- In the middle of writing this, Illinois Gov. Pritzker announced that schools will remain closed through the remainder of the school year. It is a right call; one that most of us expected, and still... One of my most beloved friends is an elementary school teacher, and she sent me the following text as the announcement was made: I knew this was likely coming but my body isn’t reacting with that same awareness. 💔 I have such a deep sense of loss right now. A state of shock. A state of panic. A state of deep grief. All at once. Pain teaches us, as Fr. Richard Rohr so brilliantly posits, the most counterintuitive thing: that we must go down before we can even know what up is. That our pain can be trusted -- it is not failure, nor is it for the fixing -- is a lesson I've been forced to learn over, and over and over again in my life. Our job is not to protect one another from pain - and, most essentially, it is not to protect our children from pain. Our job is to bear witness to one another as we navigate it. To walk through the fire often enough that we finally, finally learn that we are fireproof. I spent last weekend just grieving. The path through isn't straight and narrow for any of us, and I'm trying to give myself some grace when my heart aches, or when I'm angry, or when I'm unable to sleep as I should or when I eat all my feelings in the form of that Easter candy I told y'all to throw out that, secretly, none of us did.... Grief is holy and universal. The best we can do for each other is to simply bear witness. "The pain we feel is a messenger - listen to it." ~Rumi~ ----- I warned you this post was just random morning musings. If it seems disjointed, it is only because my thought process has been interrupted 567 billion times by small people and zoom meetings. (Honestly, I'm not certain I've had a linear thought since this all started...) So here's my question: What is one thing you've learned in all this that surprised you? I'll start: My husband is an EXCELLENT teacher for our kids. The truth is this should not have surprised me in the least - I should have 100% expected him to be a superb teacher. It was, after all, his ability to distill extraordinarily complex medical information as a teaching resident that first attracted me to him as a med student. If I were a wise woman, I would have handed off responsibility for #FarmSchool to him right out of the gate. He is patient and funny in all the ways I can't manage to be right now, and he is so incredibly gifted in tying one lesson to the next and back again -- common core ought to consult him in all the things. Furthermore, he's wholly unhindered by the "right" way to teach: memorization of multiplication tables last night was accompanied by a to-the-death competition for m&ms. Whatever. It got the job done, the kids had a blast and I spent time reading a book in relative peace. ---- Tell me your best lockdown surprise. Or your worst. Share your grief. We're here for all of it. I promise I'll come back to write about any pressing medical and public health questions, but I see and hear a lot of people looking for ways to connect. Storytelling heals, and I know you have a story to share: here's your invitation. Keep being brave, generous and kind, always. More soon, K #CareInTimesofCovid #PatrioticIntroversion #Resiliency #America #Covid19


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