Physician Outlook

Artist: Ekta Shah, M.D., Residency Candidate

Summer Sunflower Soliloquy

Some Random Thoughts From The Publisher

I usually am never at a loss for words...I have so much to say and write that the editors have to put my pieces on the chopping block to whittle my thoughts into a cohesive readable article that makes sense to someone who doesn’t know me. But of late I have felt trapped, stuck, blocked.  I blame the pandemic “new normal” for often not  knowing what day it is, what month we are in, what time it is...and I sometimes find myself yearning for the routine that I used to resent. Overnight our vocabulary became peppered with new phrases, a new language. I hate it.


Lockdown. Social distance. Isolate. Stay safe. Quarantine. Be safe. Contact trace. Maintain a 6 foot distance. Don’t shake hands. Don’t hug. Mask. Homeschool. Zoom meet. FaceTime. Use hand sanitizer. Work from home. Wash your hands. Don’t work from home if you are essential. Wear PPE.  Reuse PPE because there’s a shortage. Sign up for vaccine trials. Donate plasma. Take Zinc, C, D. Don’t take elderberry. Be careful with ibuprofen. Beware the cytokine storm. Take hydroxychloroquine early if exposed. It’s a game changer. Take HCQ as prophylaxis. Drink tonic water. Take azithromycin. Use doxycycline. Don’t use a nebulizer. Look at drugs which are zinc ionophores. Consider ivermectin. Give budesonide via nebulizer. Don’t hoard meds. Ask for remdesivir. Stay home. Consider ECMO. Don’t take HCQ. Beware of drugs that  prolong the qT interval. See your doctor via telemedicine. Get tested. Expect immunity passports. Get swabbed by scheduling a parking lot visit. Don’t go to the ER. Be wary of the happy hypoxemic patient. Put on CPAP. Place in prone position. Avoid intubation. Flatten the curve. Don’t be a mask-hole.


The unrelenting, monotonous routine and lexicon that COVID19 has cast upon our collective world has clearly left an indelible impression and is taking its toll. My solution? Forget it is happening. Live in the present. Take time to enjoy the scenery, the family time, the board game, the puzzle. Make pretend COVID19 doesn’t exist.


I hunt like a scavenger through social media to find new material, new art, new points of view and I choose things that bring me joy and inner peace.


This month I chose sunflowers. Sunflowers bloom during the summer and often last into the fall.  For many parts of the country, they represent the end of summer, the change in seasons. It felt à propos to adorn the covers of this late summer issue of Physician Outlook with the beautiful photography of physician artist Dr. Ekta Shah. Dr. Shah has been an avid PO fan from the start, and has introduced me to the larger world of physician artistry I did not know existed.  She is a member of a group called “Feral Physician Artists” and feral they are.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers some very provocative synonyms for the word “feral,” and they are all fitting -their work is savage, unbroken, undomesticated, untamed, wild. The sunflowers that grace this month’s covers are beautiful.


Forget that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Be still. Be with yourself. Become one with nature. Take that mask off (even if just for a little while). Take time to smell the fragrant flowers, and change your outlook. Enjoy the beauty imparted by the happy, bright, tall yellow sunflowers before the dark winter is once again upon us. 

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