Archive for January, 2015


Jan 26 2015


by at 6:57 am

Here in Washington, a winter storm watch generally means that we watch snow fall somewhere elsewhere, unless we drive to a ski area. Now that is not always true, but it appears we are dodging a major bullet these next few days. We already got off easy earlier this weekend; Harriet and I drove up to Baltimore and Philly to visit family this weekend, and did not see a drop of snow until we crossed into Pennsylvania. Here’s hoping our good luck holds this week, as it sounds like it will be nasty up north.

My major activities during the past week were CCSG-related. I finished up my section of the non-competing renewal and edited a few more sections. I also began work on a CCSG site visit I have been asked to do; I have to read four sections (along with the Director’s Overview). I always learn a lot from these exercises, and this one is no different. I am coming away from this work with renewed respect for my colleagues at other institutions and with appreciation of the wonderful people I work with at Lombardi.

And, last week several acquaintances and friends contacted me, asking me for assistance in navigating our system to obtain cancer care. This happens almost every week, and has been a staple of my routine for many years. It has nothing to do with whether or not it is easy to access that care, but everything to do with a need to know that someone they know is looking out for them at a very scary time. I think that virtually all of my colleagues render this type of assistance from time to time. It is a privilege to be able to help, to serve, and to comfort. In many ways, even more than when I see a patient in clinic, these small but precious encounters remind me of the very reasons why I became a physician. It makes me feel good to know that I can help someone, any day and every day.

Stay warm, dry and safe – just in case the meteorologists guessed wrong!

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Jan 20 2015

A Wonderful Extended Weekend

by at 6:49 am

I hope everybody had a good extended weekend. We had a wonderful time. On Saturday, after a work-related breakfast meeting, I drove up to Baltimore with Harriet; the entire extended family descended on Elana’s and Ben’s new house to meet Aviva, our new granddaughter, and we joined in the fun. We all left in the late afternoon to give our kids some space (time to settle into their new routine!) and then drove back to DC to attend the birthday party of a friend. Then on Sunday afternoon Harriet and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a quick visit to a lovely hotel on the Eastern Shore. We returned on Monday afternoon to participate in the MLK Day “Let Freedom Ring” celebration jointly hosted by Georgetown and the Kennedy Center on the Millenium Stage; the featured guest was Natalie Cole, and it was a lovely and inspiring evening.

The preceding work week was plenty busy, as I am working with Carolyn Hurley and many others to wrap up our non-competing CCSG renewal, which will be uploaded in February. I also completed my MedStar Mandatory online education modules for FY 2015; this was a lot of work! Fortunately, I don’t have to travel this week and look forward to the chance to finish catching up on the time I missed last month due to my illness (I suspect it was influenza, looking back on things) and the holidays.

Have a great week.

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Jan 11 2015

A Seven Pound Miracle

by at 8:28 pm

Finally! After three frantic weeks of helping our daughter Elana move to her new home, including one week of near-daily false alarms, Elana, Ben and Isaac welcomed Aviva Shayla Fertig into the world at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon. Harriet was in the birthing suite with Elana and Ben, though it was a close call. Elana spent less than three hours in the hospital, and less than a half hour in active labor. Harriet stepped out into the waiting room so Elana could get her epidural and was quickly summoned and escorted back into the delivery suite because the baby was coming on like a freight train. Aviva (named in memory of her great-grandmother Arlene (Harriet’s mom) and three other family members whose names started with the letter A) is a very healthy little girl, and both she and her Mommy are doing fine. Harriet had spent the last week in Baltimore, helping out and getting the new house ready, and I went up there on Friday evening. We are thrilled to bits, of course, but were not especially sad to drive down I-95 on Sunday evening to enjoy the comforts of our own home. Mission accomplished!

A new life reaffirms everything that is good and sacred about our shared humanity and the miracles of existence that we too often take for granted. This is the best case I know of for optimism about the human condition. Poignantly, our little 7 pound miracle entered the world at the end of a news cycle focused on horrifyingly violent and senseless murderous acts in France. I hope that the outpouring of shared support and outrage expressed by the French and so many people around the world will not simply be a temporary outcry. May this be the start of a global reaffirmation of the value of all human life, starting with the miracle of birth, so that little Aviva can grow up in a kinder and gentler world.

Now it is time for me to get back to work! Have a great week.

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Jan 04 2015

Happy New Year!

by at 11:00 am

Happy New Year! See you next week.


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