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COVID-19 and Doctor Kübler-Ross

COVID-19 and Doctor Kübler-Ross
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
What could Dr. Kübler-Ross's model of grief tell us about our reactions to the coronavirus pandemic?

Caring for stupid

Caring for stupid
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
The sign at the demonstration read, “We are NOT all in this together!”...the vital lesson of the current crisis is not whether certain governors went too far or not far enough, whether President Trump is a stable genius or a dithering fool...the system is inadequate and unjust...

Saying home with coronavirus

Saying home with coronavirus
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
Practical advice if you don't want to die of COVID-19 alone in an ICU.

Stock Your Pantry, Stock Your Life

Stock Your Pantry, Stock Your Life
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
I’m 65 years old and have a few chronic health conditions, so this puts me at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19...Plagues happen, people get sick and many die, this is the
fragility of life, and it has ever been so.

 

I believe in facts

I believe in facts
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
It is hard to believe that I need to say this, but I believe in facts...Developing COVID-19 testing kits will be simple compared to recovering society's trust in the information it is given.

Ash Wednesday? Celebrate!

Ash Wednesday? Celebrate!
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
Ash Wednesday: Celebrate being dust!

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me...

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me...
by Dr. Jeff Spiess

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I guess I'll go and eat some worms.
I posted it, but nobody “liked” it; I didn’t expect it to go viral, but I didn’t think it was that bad.

We'd Be Happier If We Were Crying

We'd Be Happier If We Were Crying
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
Jem Finch got it right. Jem, Atticus' Finch's son in To Kill a Mockingbird saw people he had taught to respect send an innocent man to death, saw everything he thought his world stood for collapse. And he wept. America today, like fictional Maycomb, Alabama, is angry. Anger is easy but it doesn't change anything. Crying is something healing, something we can do together.
 

Mortality and Monty Python

Mortality and Monty Python
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! The medieval English village is squalid, the undertaker’s lackey pushes a handcart through the town, amassing putrefying corpses ... an old man objects, "I'm not dead!" But what did the devastation of the Black Death add to our thinking about life and death?

Of Birthdays and Bellybuttons

Of Birthdays and Bellybuttons
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
You don’t remember it, but it happened; you were there, playing a starring role. It even happened on your birthday!

The Present of Presence

by Dr. Jeff Spiess
I have never seen a new BMW, Mercedes, or Cadillac parked in a driveway on Christmas morning with a giant red bow on top; based on the TV ads, I must be living in the wrong neighborhood. What is it that makes a gift perfect, or even good? If you were going to give yourself a present this year, what would it be?
 

We Could Be Doing So Much Better

We Could Be Doing So Much Better
by Dr. Jeff Spiess

We treat our health care system as if it were the best in the world; we embrace the idea that medicine can treat, can cure virtually any disease. We pay far more for health care than anyone else on the planet, we should expect miracles. But that fantastic idea is just that, a fantasy…

Medicare for...Me, at Least

Medicare for...Me, at Least
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
I have officially arrived at Senior Citizendom, and I’ve got the card to prove it. Turning 65 is a huge milestone in American culture. Medicare is designed for the elderly and disabled, and, since I don’t have any qualifying disability, I guess that makes me …

Because You Want to Do It Well

by Dr. Jeff Spiess
You only get to die once, so do it right!

Vacationing in Hiroshima

Vacationing in Hiroshima
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
The Hiroshima Carp play professional baseball at Mazda stadium (I recently learned from my brother-in-law that the Miata assembled there). Hiroshima is a bustling commercial and industrial city that happens to surround a park commemorating total devastation. I don’t know what else I thought I would to find. For me, and for most people, the names “Hiroshima” and “Nagasaki” meant only one thing – these are the only two places on earth where nuclear weapons were unleashed ... I have encountered few places where death and life are so starkly demarcated yet so vitally interconnected ... 

Where is your calm?

by Dr. Jeff Spiess
As I’m writing this, my wife and I are virtually confined to our hotel in Japan, awaiting the arrival of Typhoon Hagibis. Forecasters predict record setting rainfall, up to 30 inches or so, and wind gusts approaching 150 mph. So the safety of the Tokyo Hilton is a refuge, a place of safety and calm (and a really good breakfast buffet!) in the face of the howling bearing down on us...

...but I could be wrong

...but I could be wrong
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
Everybody seems so sure. Politicians and pundits and preachers proclaim their righteous opinions and postulate the depravity and corruption of their opponents. Dogmas are spouted and anathemas announced with a vigor that would make Savonarola cringe. Is everybody so convinced they are right, or are they just trying to make points, to score victory in a power struggle? Whatever the motivation, whoever “wins”, the inevitable result is increased frustration, suffering, and desperation in all of us. After decades of working with the terminally ill, I believe they might have something to teach us about this.

Cain and Abel - A Reimagining

by Dr. Jeff Spiess

If I’m encouraging us all to think about our own mortality, why would I write about murder?  

What would it feel like to be the original murderer?
They were the only two children in the world, yet they were rivals … It was unfair! He hadn’t understood the rules, but he realized that he had lost…

Today, in the first of an occasional series stemming from my interest in stories and images of death and dying as portrayed in the arts, literature, sacred texts, and popular culture, I reimagine the ancient Hebrew story of Cain and Abel (from Genesis chapter 4).

Crying in Baseball

Crying in Baseball
by Dr. Jeff Spiess
My wife calls it happy face, sad face. It is the montage of televised images that immediately follows the final out of the World Series. The victors take the field, fist-bumping, embracing, donning the championship caps, the losers sit in their dugout, often alone, heads down, and, yes, sometimes crying. Their struggle through 162 regular season games and three playoff series in October has ended in defeat. They will not hoist a trophy or be the stars of a hometown parade. They have died, perhaps valiantly, but essentially ignominiously, and that is good cause for tears.

Your Navel, Your Humanity

by Dr. Jeff Spiess
You don’t remember it, but it happened; you were there, playing a starring role...The indisputable evidence is there in that wrinkled dimple in the middle of your abdomen.