Health Advice



Debra-Lynn B. Hook: The power of human presence in an age of 'Don't touch me, you might have COVID'

By Debra-Lynn B. Hook, Tribune News Service on

Published in Health & Fitness

We can't visit each other in our homes. We can't hug. We can't get together for dinner or go to baseball games or movies or play sports.

But there is a mainstay that, some might say, is showing up with greater intentionality, no matter the distance.


I felt this recently as I prepared for an important appointment with a new doctor to discuss the complicated blood disorder I'd had for a decade. While I'd heard this doctor was one who listens to her patients, this was not my experience with previous physicians. Bracing for yet another hard-ball conversation that would leave me feeling deflated and more afraid, I got my power voice on, my facts straight and my lab work in order. Still, the morning of the appointment, I was apprehensive.

And then, as I headed out the door, I thought to utter my fears out loud on my social-media page.

The response was more than I bargained for, as before I even got in the car, I began to receive not just praying hands and heart emoticons, but an avalanche of meaningful words that made me feel like people were right here with me.


"I am walking in front of you into the appointment," said one friend.

"I hope you feel me holding you," said another.

"I will think of you right at the moment of your appointment," said another.

Comments continued to come in like a torrent, as I drove to my appointment and waited for the doctor, through the appointment and then after. It was as if all the pent-up red alerts and yellow alerts and this state has to quarantine and that state doesn't and people are alone in nursing homes and children are flipping out at home and career women are quitting their jobs because once again, they can't have it all, came down to a moment of caring.


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(c)2020 Debra-Lynn B. Hook, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.