The Urban Resident Local Doc on the Block


Two years

I was recently shopping in the local grocery store and overheard:

“Look on the bright side, we don’t have to wear masks any more!”

I was wearing one and almost stopped walking to mull over that comment. Two years prior, I stood in the exact same grocery store and overheard a different sort of conversation:

“This virus is all about the hype and a way for the media and drug companies to make money. Remember H1N1, SARS, Zika, bird flu? Ain’t nothing going to come of it.”

Two years. My oh my how grocery store small talk has changed.



“Is THIS a crisis?” I find myself asking this question everyday, ever since the hospital said it was so. Was it a crisis when she died last week? Or was it last month? We thought we brought her back but it didn’t work, not for long, and I can still...


Action at a Distance

By an unfortunate artifact of scheduling, I worked 18 shifts in the last 22 days. Not all my patients had Covid but quite a few did. And in trying to think about what to write here, I am realizing that there is simply nothing left to say. It is like...



I went to pick up a disposable blue gown today as I have countless times this week, month, year, decade. In doing such a mindless and ordinary task, this time for “ordinary” diseases, I was suddenly hit by a series of flashbacks: delicately laying masks on a single paper towel, triple checking my gown ties and face shield before entering a room, standing watch outside patient rooms to coach staff in donning and doffing…

I froze in place for a few seconds and felt my pulse race. A few seconds of deep breathing and of anticipating the chest tightness… and the feeling of being overwhelmed slowly faded away, leaving only the usual alarms and beeping and dinging that characterize any typical hospital floor. It was brief and silent and I went on with my work day.


Compassion Fatigue

What does compassion fatigue feel like?

“I am just getting through the day,” I tell myself. “I will do my job and do it well and go home to my family. On time.”…


God Only Knows

I grew up steeped in a very specific religious tradition, namely a Chinese-American-contemporary-evangelical-Christian-neo-Calvinism, and so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the algorithms of Netflix and Facebook led me to watch “A Week Away”, a fairly superficial teen drama musical about (of all things) a summer Christian camp. While many...


A bottle of Coke

I used to love drinking Coke. It has been my favorite soft drink since an off handed conversation with a new classmate & friend​​ during orientation to college, in which he so enthusiastically described being from Atlanta “and of course I’m loyal to Coke” which got me thinking for the...


Covid, Community, and Me

…the experiences of this past year have changed me profoundly and in ways I still do not yet understand. It means some days I can feel my brain nod along to the evidence and statistics that, through immunization, my risk of getting it again and becoming severely ill are virtually nil, and yet still reflexively reach for the mask and sanitizer in my pocket. It means some days I am happy to shake your hand and others I may involuntarily pause or stand a few feet further than I need to, frozen by an anxiety that is often unpredictable and bewildering. It means some days I am all smiles and laughter and some days I am expressionless and tired. It means some days I am overwhelmed by painful memories and some days I am seeking to create new and joyful ones. It means that I am sorry if there are times my actions and mood catch you by surprise; I am usually more surprised than you…