Coronavirus – Why is it so contagious?

So much has happened since my last blog (which was over a year ago), but this pandemic virus has brought practically the world to its knees!

Sooner or later, the REAL truth will come out as to the sudden and quick spread of this virus, which has been around since the 1960s, although this particular strain, COVID-19, of the virus is new.

Where did coronavirus originate

The coronavirus first originated in the 1960s as an infectious bronchitis in chickens where it then developed in two humans. Other coronaviruses are SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2012. Fast forward, this newest strain, COVID-19, began in Wuhan, China, first reported on December 31, 2019.

Is COVID-19 highly contagious

According to some articles I’ve read, it is not as contagious as the SARS virus. I’m no doctor and it does not take a rocket scientist to see how quickly COVID-19 has spread!!! This has been my burning question in my mind as to WHY is this virus so contagious? This virus is spreading like a wild fire…. literally! Countries literally closing for weeks at a time. This is why I said earlier that eventually, probably 10-20 years from now, the truth will come out because either someone is lying, trying to cover up something or there are a lot of scientists, clinicians, etc that wasted their years by going to medical school, because they have learned nothing!

Uncharted territory

As of this writing, the entire world has reached unchartered territory, times we’ve never seen before. So far this date, the virus has infected more than 150,000 people worldwide, and killed over 5,600. All we can do is take heed to the necessary precautions that have been placed to prevent ourselves from getting the virus. My hats and heart really goes out to ALL those working in healthcare who are working the front lines of this pandemic, ie., phlebotomists, nurses, aides, lab techs (having to do the testing of the virus) and all healthcare workers dealing directly with patients who do have the virus, as well as law enforcement having to deal with those who are panicking or just taking advantage of a very vulnerable situation. Instead of every man for himself, let’s try and care for one another and create ways to HELP those that ARE working the front lines of this virus.

I’m Back!

It’s been 10 long months since I’ve blogged! I’ve missed ya’ll and hope you missed me.  My other laptop crashed, so I am now back in business.

A lot has taken place in these last 10 months in the health world, so I will more than likely do a recap of 2018 in the coming week or so.  In the meantime, you can look forward to more content blogging from me,  more facts about health – the good, the bad and the challenges we all face regarding our health!  

Black History Month 2018

I get excited during the month of February as here at, I get to share with you Black History Month, focusing on the many accomplishments as it relates to health and medicine throughout the generations.

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee:  Born in 1942 in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee was the oldest of six children.  She is the sister of well-known entertainer, Diana Ross.  As her many siblings pursued their careers in music and entertainment, Ross-Lee also had an interest in show business, but soon turned her focus to medicine.  A graduate of Wayne State University in Michigan in 1965, Ross-Lee later went to Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine where she later opened up a family practice in 1973.  

In 1993, Ross-Lee was named dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University.  She was the first African American woman to be dean of a medical school and one of only a handful of female deans in the country. After a notable career in Ohio, Ross-Lee was appointed vice president for health sciences and medical affairs at the New York Institute of Technology in 2001 and one year later, she became dean of the school’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Richard N. Scott, M.D.:  Dr. Scott is a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, and professor of surgery. He was the first African American surgical intern at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

During his career he was appointed senior research associate at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.  In 1974 with his associates, he developed a new stapling technique for bronchial stump closure following a total lung resection. This technique is now recognized as a standard of care.

Dr. Scott was an associate professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine and is a lecturer in the School of Public Health at Morgan State University. He currently holds the position of professor of surgery and physiology at The All Saints University School of Medicine in Aruba. Dr. Scott continues to actively promote screening and prevention of cardiovascular disease among medically challenged communities and mentors minority students for careers in academic surgery.


Welcome 2018

While we reflect on life in 2017, we also want to strive for new ideas, new adventures for 2018.   I know for me, 2017 brought many, many new things – some that were unexpected or unplanned – many new adjustments and challenges.  I uprooted my life of 28 years in Atlanta, Georgia and made the decision to move back to Jackson, Mississippi to assist in the care of my aging mother.  In order to deal with many of Mississippi’s hardships and challenges (coming from a ‘big progressive city’, it was a real adjustment to moving to a smaller town whose people and its culture lack the progressiveness, motivation, education and seems almost stuck in time of the late 1980s), God did bless me with a decent job!  That too was another huge adjustment in my life I had to get back used to as I had been working at home/remotely since 1994!  Working at home had many, many great benefits to it.  The only drawback I encountered from working at home was social isolation.  If you’re a people person, working at home is NOT for you!  Plus, I must admit, I need some type of structure in my life.  For the first 3-4 years of working at home, I was pretty disciplined, but after that, the self-discipline went down the drain. So, coming to Mississippi did help me to get some structure back in working a ‘real job’, being around thousands of people 5 days a week, dealing with all types of personalities; it is quite interesting to say the least!  Now, I can appreciate having worked at home as punching that time clock and some other things seem so robotic now – working at home or for yourself gives one so much freedom – something I’ll never take for granted again!

Caring for an aging relative or person period brings on all new challenges as well.  It’s one that I embrace though, it is not a burden or a chore because that is my passion – always have been – since a little child.  I look forward to finally fulfilling my passion at some point in 2018.

December 2017 brought some sudden, very unexpected tragedies to some special loved ones I’ve known.  I know that we all must die of something – our day is inevitable for sure, but it’s extremely hard when it’s unexpected.

Though as a woman, a natural nurterer, and one who focuses on caring for others, I must continue to keep my own health intact.  Though I do not know the history of the two precious angels that recently suddenly and unexpectedly passed (no health issues that I’m aware of) this certainly was a wake-up call for me to get back on track to living a healthier life – especially with my many health issues.

Thank you 2017, it overall has been good, but I’m expecting and looking forward to some exciting things for 2018.  My #1 focus will be to remain healthy, hoping to actually completely get rid of some of my health challenges as well has looking forward to a prosperous 2018!

Starting Over…and Over Again – How to Stay Prepared When Disaster Strikes

It’s been quite a while ya’ll – lots of changes going on with me – so I apologize to you all that  I haven’t blogged in a few months.  Sometimes change is good – it definitely makes your spirit stronger!

So I’ve uprooted my life from living 27-1/2 years in Georgia to moving and residing in Mississippi – I came here to spend time with my mother and to assist her with the things she can no longer do for herself.  She’s doing great – especially to be 95-1/2 years old (has a birthday this month).  I’m settling in and getting use to my “new normal.”

I can definitely relate to the victims of Houston, TX and it’s devastating Hurricane Harvey.  When your life is disrupted suddenly and you have to make sudden moves it always  pays to be ready and prepared as best as can be.  Yes, there are things you’re going to miss – people you will miss – things we’ve all come accustomed to doing and way of living – but in today’s society and all of the turmoil that’s going on all over the world, we must start getting a mindset of preparedness.

We must all learn to start having a plan B, C and possibly D when plan A does not work out.  Especially when it comes to our health, medications, important documents, etc.  Way before disasters every strike, we can start by asking questions to our elderly neighbors (those who have no one to come and check on them), family members, neighbors and people with disabilities – asking them what types of medications are you taking and the dosages, asking and knowing where their Living Wills are kept.  In cases like Hurricane Harvey, lots of hospitals in Texas have had to evacuate patients and relocate them  to hospitals in other states!  Doing those types of small tasks will go a long way in assisting others when it comes to disasters – especially weather-related disasters.

I’ve only experienced being stuck inside – (“Snowmageddon” in Georgia a few years ago),  blizzards many, many years ago in my teenage years, tornadoes striking within a 1-2 mile radius of residence, hostage situation when SWAT team had to come for 4+ hours, but never have I experienced  disasters where I’ve had to immediately leave or evacuate such as floods, hurricanes nor a fire disaster.  I HAVE learned, though by watching situations like hurricane Katrina and hurricane Harvey and the fires in California that you must be prepared ahead of time for any disaster.  Your routine that you’ve come so accustomed of living for  years and years has suddenly become disrupted and you are at risk of losing everything!  This is why I emphasize to all who will listen to me that if you’re able-bodied and can work, please get yourself some type of employment where you can save your $$$!   This is why I work so hard (and will continue to work hard and save money as long as I can) because it seems as though when disaster strikes, and you’re already without money or a vehicle you have NOTHING to get you out of that disaster!  Thank GOD for places like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, nurses, doctors and the kindness of even strangers to help those who cannot help themselves!

Below are just a few items I feel are important for everyone to have and things you can do to keep yourself prepared – weeks, days months ahead of any weather-related disaster:

  • Names of all family members and their phone numbers
  • Important documents such as life insurance, burial insurance, homeowners and/or renters insurance info
  • Cell phones, portable chargers and regular wall chargers. Use your ‘notepad’ or ‘memo pad’ in your phone to keep an electronic record of your family members’ numbers, health information, etc.
  • Blankets, jackets, a few days’ worth of clothes
  • Canned ready-made, easy-open food
  • A copy of your health records, dental records, an updated list of medications and their dosages, knowledge of what chronic illnesses you may have
  • A gas can as well as a full tank of gas way in advance BEFORE disaster strikes
  • Prepare in advance to have your vehicle in tip-top condition, i.e. oil change and oil filters changed, tires rotated and aired up.
  • Its important that ALL of us – no matter what our status in life is – have some type of bank card/debit card (with some money on it!) At least if you have to move hundreds of miles from your residence, you can STILL use it anywhere.
  • Vehicle information and its insurance information
  • Enough money to get a bus ticket if you are without a vehicle (5-7 days’ ahead of time)
  • Water, water, water and more water as well as some Gatorade (to keep the electrolytes in your body

I also would suggest that if crisis should strike/affect you, always seek out counseling either through a place like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, a church whose doors are open to everyone or some type of crisis  hotline because all disasters are life-changing and can be a very traumatic experience for anyone to go through – especially for children.

My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey – in all of Texas as well as Louisiana – and I pray that this upcoming hurricane, Hurricane Irma will not affect the US, Barbados, Bahamas or anywhere. Stay safe everyone!

This Week in Black History:

dr-_aaron_shirley_courtesy_t670Originally from Gluckstadt, Mississippi, the late Dr. Aaron Shirley was a graduate of both Tougaloo College as well as Meharry Medical College. He set his sights on a pediatric residency out of state, but was invited to apply for a training position at the University of Mississippi Medical Center by then chair of pediatrics, Dr. Blair E. Batson. After much consideration, he accepted, becoming the first African-American resident — and the first black learner in any program — at UMC in 1965. He was the first African American to accomplish this feat. For a long time, Shirley was the only black pediatrician in the state of Mississippi.

He went on to serve as a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics for more than 40 years. His career highlights include co-founding the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, which became a model for federally funded community health centers nationwide. Dr. Aaron Shirley is the founder and Chairman of the Board for the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. The Jackson Mall, formerly a retail mall in the 1970s and 1980s, Shirley saw the deterioration of that area and mall, so decided to become committed to reviving it. In 1995, his concept soon became a reality now known as the Jackson Medical Mall, a one-stop shop health care facility for the underserved. The Jackson Medical Mall is acclaimed as one of the nation’s most unique community health care endeavors.


(I had the great opportunity and honor to meet Dr. Shirley many, many years ago as a former resident of Jackson, Mississippi, not realizing what kind of trailblazing person he would become. It’s so good to actually know someone who has made such a difference in a community as well as establishing a strong foundation, leaving a wonderful legacy for others to follow)!  Thank you Dr. Aaron Shirley.


This Week in Black History 

Dr. Charles Epps, Jr. was a medical pioneer and educator. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 24, 1930. Epps graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a BS degree in chemistry from Howard University and received his MD degree with honors in 1955.

epps_charles_wmAt 33 years of age, Epps was appointed chief of the  Division of Orthopedic Surgery at Howard. During his tenure as professor and chief, Epps trained more African American men and women in orthopedic surgery than anyone in the world.

After Epps retired in 2001, he also served in a variety of professional organizations, including the American Orthopedic Association, where he was its first African American member.

black history month4

For the remaining weeks in February 2017, each week I will feature a bit of history as well as celebrating many African Americans who made history and are continuing to make history in the field of medicine and healthcare. You can also reach back and read my previous blogs for many great trail-blazers who paved the way for freedom, hope, change, and encouragement:


LaSalle D. Lefall, Jr. was born in 1930 in Tallahassee, Florida and grew up in Quincy, Florida. He graduated high school at the age of 15 in 1945. At the age of 22, he earned his M.D. degree from Howard University.

Dr. Leffall is an American surgeon and oncologist as well as one of the most prominent public health leaders in the fight against cancer. President George W. Bush appointed him as chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel and Dr. Leffall also led the National Dialogue on Cancer.

He was the first black president of the American Cancer Society (1978), as well as the first black president of the American College of Surgeons (1995). He served as chairman of the board of directors for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation from 2002 to 2007.

Not only is Dr. Lefall a surgeon and an oncologist, he also was a medical educator, having taught over 4,500 medical students and trained at least 250 general surgery residents.

The State of Health Insurance for 2017 – is That Prescription Medically Necessary?

A lot has happened since my last blog….which was December 2016.  Lots of ‘new’ things have taken place so far in 2017 – a new President of the United States, a new health insurance as well as a new primary care physician for me, a new Superbowl champion (well, they’re not new to champions for Superbowl, but because it’s a new year, yes a new champion for 2017).  And nevermind my opinions regarding a couple of the above-stated ‘new’ things….some things are just better left unsaid.

I am still covered by the AHA (a/k/a/ Affordable Healthcare Act and/or Obamacare) with an insurance called Ambetter. At first I was a bit skeptical about having this insurance, thinking I would not get the same quality health care as previous insurances or whether I’d keep the same physicians, but so far, so good!  My monthly premium went down which is a plus for me – going from $251/month to now $94/month plus $20/month for dental!!!  Whoo hooo!! But the best part about this so far is the prescription medications.  Folks, you won’t believe how excited I am about this. money-1270332_1280

So in years’ past, I have been taking Crestor (rosuvastatin) for my high cholesterol. I have been tried on all of the other ‘statin’ medications used for high cholesterol and they have either not did the job of bringing the cholesterol levels down or there were awful side effects that I could not deal with, so Crestor has been the only one that has cut my cholesterol levels in half and with no side effects.  Problem was that Crestor/rosuvastatin was the most expensive medication I’ve ever had to purchase.  I have paid up to $185-200 for a 30-day supply of Crestor – and that was with using GoodRx (the free prescription-saving coupons available to use when purchasing prescription medications) as well as my insurance. Last week, though I had to go through some finagling through my new primary care – or what is called in the healthcare world as medical necessity – and through my new health insurance I am only paying $1 for the rosuvastatin!  Yep, I said $1, and that goes for all of my generic-named prescriptions I’ve been using.

A portion of medical necessity in short means this: Whether it’s a prescription medication, an x-ray/MRI or cancer treatment and beyond, one must get authorization from your physician, whether primary care or specialty physician to state that it is medically necessary for the use of that medication and/or procedure.  In my case, a prescription needed to be filled and the insurance would not pay for it (many medications are not being paid through the insurance company for 2017), so then you have to go through either your primary care physician or specialty physician and have them to authorize the use of that medication. Therefore, the battle begins between the insurance company, pharmaceutical companies and the physician making the order. The insurance company wanted to know WHY I could not use the other statin medications (in which they would pay for) and my primary care reviewed my medical history and clinical documentations and explained to them that ‘she was tried on all other previous statin medications and to no avail were they effective; therefore it is medically necessary for my patient to take the rosuvastatin.’ That’s all it took – a little bickering, an authorization by my physician and a signature – and so for now – for 2017’s health insurance – I can now pay only $1 for my generic medications!

This is why I blog folks, so that I can inform you about the challenges we have in healthcare/health insurance these days and be to become proactive – empower yourself in saving yourself money and time as well as remaining healthy. I cannot speak for all health insurances, but I believe this is true for a majority of the health insurance companies. Whenever your insurance company will NOT pay for a particular prescription medication or pay for medically necessary procedure, it doesn’t hurt to ask your primary care or your specialty physician to get them to authorize what may be medically necessary, whether a particular medication or a procedure by digging deeper into your medical history.

The repealing of Obamacare for 2017? I’m not worried about it this year. It’s in place for now and since there is no new replacement healthcare plan in place as we speak, it would take months to  repeal it.  Plus there are too many people – 20,000,000 to be exact – that would be affected by it, and I’m pretty confident 20,000,000 will go kicking and screaming to the White House to keep this from happening……We shall see!


Boy, has 2016 been some kind of year! It’s been the year of political changes, more than time-811026_1920the country’s share of celebrity death’s, personal health issues for me as well as within my family – so ready for a MUCH better 2017!

2016 for me started out the 1st day of January with the news that my mom suffered a ‘mini-stroke’, so of course my natural instincts led me to literally stop what I was doing here and drive 6-1/2 hours to where she resides to care for her and get her well. I eventually ended up staying there through March, 2016. Thankfully she quickly recovered from that and is doing just fine. Because I cared for her 10 hours per day as well as me trying to continue to work my job as a transcriptionist, that in turn caused stress to my body which created a new diagnosis (along with my other health issues) called PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) or heart flutters.  That is a very unnerving feeling when you literally feel your heart beating so fast, as though it is wanting to ‘leap’ out of your chest! Thanks to my wonderful cardiologists here at Emory that they were able to pinpoint which type of heart flutters (not severe) I was experiencing and how to alleviate it. Along with the heart flutters/palpitations and further inquiry into my condition, it was discovered (according to the docs) that I suffered from anxiety…… another diagnosis to be added to my many issues.  I do have to admit that because I’m older, have experienced menopause and other life stressors, I do believe I was a bit anxious.  That diagnosis in turn subjected me to take an antianxiety medication called sertraline. In the past, I was very adamant about taking any type of anxiety/depression medications because of their side effects, but after some convincing by my primary care physician, I reluctantly decided to take it. Surprisingly, it worked very well for me!  Things that got me very uptight, didn’t even seem to matter. I actually was more alert, especially with paying attention to detail (my job as a transcriptionist) and other domestic things.  Only thing though, through my research, I discovered on my own that taking any SSRI/antianxiety medication was extremely detrimental to my glaucoma. Needless to say, I had no choice but to stop taking sertraline. (sigh)

Now by this time, it’s 6 months into 2016 and here we go with several celebrities just literally suddenly dying, either by way of heart issues, drug overdoses or something, as well as all the political hype/news of electing a new POTUS. The post-election outcome? Well, let’s just say it was startling to most in this country. It too led to people literally becoming sick, having to seek care at a hospital and/or doctor’s office!

Because I love the body’s anatomy so much, how things work in the body, the heart as well as other organs, I had taken part in a cardiac research study (which is still ongoing). One of the things I truly learned from that study was a technique in learning different types of relaxation – breathing techniques and heart relaxation.  This has been key for me in relieving the anxiety, no need for any antianxiety medication!  It is a technique I can utilize every day, 5-6 times per day. Who would’ve thought that a cardiac research study – a study of how your heart reacts to situations post a heart attack – would relieve a problem with anxiety?  That’s one of the reasons I love medicine!

It’s the eve of New Year’s Eve at the writing of this blog – praying that these last 48 hours of 2016 will just be quiet, calm and go away without any more shocking news headlines.

2017 here I come!!! I’m so looking forward to you! I’ve already made just a few small changes going into 2017 – new place of worship, change of mindset, taking measures to becoming educated and working in a new career change (still in healthcare) despite my many diagnoses – it’s all in that change of mindset and believing for better health as well as looking forward to new things as I feel I still have so much more to contribute in this world in making a difference! I’m looking forward to more peace, less drama, believing in better health and more happiness and laughter in 2017!