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A Useful Book I Hope You Never Need

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I just finished reading AfterShock: What to do When Your Doctor Gives You–or Someone You Love–A Devastating Diagnosis and am so glad someone has written this much-needed book.

Jessie Gruman, PhD, founder of The Center for the Advancement of Health, a health policy institute in Washington, D.C., approached this painful topic from a great deal of personal experience. She herself had Hodgkin’s disease at twenty, and later on cervical cancer and colon cancer. Obviously she’s had her share of coping with life-threatening illness and our very challenging health care system.

If you ever receive bad health news, you’ll need help. Even if the overall outcome is a good one, you’ll look back on that moment knowing something life-altering occurred.

AfterShock offers a step-by-step approach to what you’ll need if and when that moment occurs. The book includes information about:

• The best ways to learn about your disease and its treatment.
• How to tell others about your diagnosis and ask family and friends for help.
• How to find the right doctor and the right hospital.
• How to communicate with your doctor.
• What happens when you need a specialist.
• Whether and how to seek second opinions.
• How to schedule appointments.
• Whether and how to discuss your diagnosis at work.
• Using your health care and disability benefits.
• How to pay for care.

AfterShock concludes with a realistic and optimistic look at how serious illness can change your life. What people most often report is that they feel a loss of control, and that dozens of other factors beyond the illness itself–such as health caregivers and insurance company employees–now seem to be running their lives.

The system is manageable and not insurmountable. You can get excellent care, good insurance coverage, and set up a great support system. I hope you’ll never need AfterShock, but it’s definitely worthwhile to know it’s there.

To learn more about the book, visit www.aftershockbook.com.


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DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

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