Stay at home and shelter in place. These are our instructions. Dr. Anthony Fauci from the NIH has advised us to stay at home. California Governor Gavin Newsom and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered residents to shelter in place. Connecticut and Illinois have followed suit. My city, Dallas, announced it yesterday. Other places will likely soon follow. Do Americans understand what it means to practice social distancing and to shelter in place?
I am a doctor. I had to Google it.
In the mid-1980s, when I was in my late twenties, I jumped over a tennis net to congratulate my opponent, which is what tennis players did back then. My sneaker got caught, and I went sprawling. Hip aching, right leg strangely wooden, I made an appointment with an orthopedist. The doctor asked me to walk around in my johnnie, presumably so he could observe my gait.
“You want my diagnosis?” he said. “Nice legs.”
Over the next few years, my symptoms worsened. By now, I was married, and my husband’s insurance allowed me to see one of the most respected…
A year ago, around Christmas, I noticed a red rash on my right breast. I was nursing my six-month-old, who liked to sink his fingernails into the flesh of my breast as he ate. On this occasion, he had left a series of tiny cuts, like paper cuts, but they quickly grew red and itchy, and the patch spread. I thought the cuts were infected, and then I wondered if I had been bitten by bedbugs or fleas.
Predictably enough, I Googled “itchy red rash on breast.” The first result, boxed off in an authoritative square at the top of…
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