Some friends of ours tell this story from the earlier years of their marriage this way: 

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Dear Doctor: I heard about a place in Australia where there’s suddenly a whole bunch of cases of flesh-eating bacteria. What kind of bacteria is this? Can something like that happen here in the United States?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 25 years old, and I just finished my master’s degree. I want to start my own businesses from home. I’ve begun an online closet, and I am studying to receive my real estate license. I still live at home with my family and pay a majority of the bills because I happen to be…

Albert Einstein said, “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution”. We all know people who have a problem for every solution. This is what can oftentimes kill a community’s efforts to move forward. Just as perfect can be the enemy of great, at times it is wise to …

COVID-19 dominates the news and our lives. In the U.S., more than 4.6 million people have tested positive for the virus and 155,000 have died. Worldwide 700,000 have died and 18 million have been infected. From 1917-1920, the Spanish Flu pandemic resulted in 50 million dead, with 675,000 dea…

Dear Doctor: Our city requires face masks now, and we’re not sure what’s the best kind for our kids. Our teen wears an adult mask, but we have a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old as well. Do you have any advice?

DEAR HARRIETTE: It is so hot in my house right now that I can hardly bear it. It is impossible to get on a Zoom call for work and look professional when all I’m doing is sweating all day. I feel bad about this, but it’s true. I have not turned the camera on for a few days. I’m hoping that th…

In everyone’s life, there are groups that we feel especially connected to — school organizations, alumni groups, civic clubs, bridge clubs, church groups. Each one fulfills a certain need in our lives. No other group has impacted my adult life like the Birthday Club.

Do you remember the tale of the fellow who was walking down the road in front of his farmhouse one bitterly cold morning? He came across a small half-frozen poisonous snake lying in the grass nearby. Calling out in a weak voice the reptile asked for help, “Please sir, I am almost frozen to d…

Dear Doctor: I had a coronavirus test, and it was negative. Then I had the antibody test, and I was surprised when it came back positive because I hadn’t been sick. How do these coronavirus tests work? Are they accurate?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a dream of writing a book, and in 2014 I rented a house on the beach and spent five weeks writing. I made good progress and was happy with the fruits of my labor. When I got home, I did not continue. How do I make it a priority to finish it? It seems that when I am home…

Dear Doctor: What’s the connection between the novel coronavirus and the thymus gland? A friend of ours who is a doctor says it’s probably what keeps young kids from getting so sick. I’ve never even heard of the thymus. What does it have to do with coronavirus?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been insecure about my nose since I was a little girl. From the beginning of my teen years, I thought about how nice it would be to get a nose job. Now that I am an established working person, I am realizing that this would be completely financially viable for me, and …

On Monday, the State of Oklahoma saw a record high of 1,401 new cases of COVID-19 reported by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. With the surging numbers and impending return to school of many students, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is urging everyone to take caution and pr…

Last week, Congress made significant progress on critical legislation that supports our common defense and ensures protection of U.S. interests around the world. While much work remains in the days and weeks ahead, I am proud that lawmakers in both chambers are one step closer to completing …

Dear Doctor: I’m 44 years old, and after wearing high heels to work for the last 20 years, I’ve lost flexibility in my feet. It also seems to be affecting my balance. Can you recommend foot exercises that can help?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been looking to hire a part-time assistant to help me get a project off the ground. Considering how many people are out of work, I figured if I posted the position on my social media, I would get a few candidates. I did, and a few people responded, but nobody seemed ea…

In the National Archives and Records Administration’s 1999 Annual Report, National Archivist John W. Carlin wrote:

DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor’s dog just died. She was very close to it, so close she decided to have a funeral for the dog. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, but I feel like this is a bit much. But since we live very close to each other and we can’t really go anywhere, she wants me to come to …

During the first couple weeks of July, the House Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, met for a marathon of legislative markups. Specifically, we worked through the 12 annual bills that fund the federal government. While I am always encouraged to see this critical process moving forwa…

DEAR HARRIETTE: I still have crazy debt that I cannot pay because I haven’t worked since March due to the coronavirus. I am scared to call my creditors because I don’t have anything new to say to them. I interview all the time, and I just haven’t found anything yet. What should I say or do n…

Dear Doctor: My 36-year-old son has recently been diagnosed with primary lymphedema. He has developed open wounds on both of his legs and is in a lot of pain. The condition limits his movement, and he has become depressed. Can you provide information about treatment, and where to seek it?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just had a big argument with my boss over what I felt was an injustice done to me during a conference call with a client. I am the one who did all the work on this project, and my boss interrupted me as I was making a presentation and basically took over and acted like it w…

Dear Doctor: My husband and I ate more junk food than usual during the coronavirus lockdown, and we both gained a few pounds. We’re trying for a healthier diet, with more fresh fruit and vegetables, but now I’m getting bloated after meals. What causes that? How can I make it stop?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am living with someone who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms. While we are taking the necessary precautions — giving her food in her room, having her wear a mask in shared spaces and talking to her from 6 feet away with a mask — how do we ensure we keep her ment…

The city councils in many Oklahoma cities and towns, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa, have mandated citizens wear masks in public settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The action has been controversial, with some taking to social media to condemn what they describe as ‘government…

Dear Doctor: Would you please consider doing a recap about the coronavirus -- especially about how it spreads? There’s a lot of information floating around, and it’s getting hard to sort through the noise.

Enshrined in Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution is the mandate that the nation’s population get counted every 10 years. Since 1790, this undertaking, known as the U.S. Census, has occurred at the start of every decade. Though the process has evolved and been streamlined o…

Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” To change a community, how might we learn from Mother Teresa and “Maslow’s - Hierarchy of Needs”? Can this quote and Maslow apply equally to a community just as it mig…

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am doing things at work that are not part of my job description, and I’m not getting paid for them. I’m well respected at my job, which is why people trust me with these tasks, and while I don’t mind doing favors once in a while, I’m not getting paid for these favors. It’s …

Dear Doctor: I saw my doctor because my heart was beating funny and I was losing weight even though I wasn’t dieting. She did a blood test, and it turns out to be Graves’ disease. Why did I get that? Is there a cure?

Last week, in McGirt vs. Oklahoma, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that as pertaining to the Major Crimes Act, much of the eastern part of Oklahoma remains Native American reservations of the Five Civilized Tribes. They ruled the reservations were never disestablished by Congress as part of…

DEAR HARRIETTE: My elderly parents are struggling with being alone during quarantine. They don’t get out normally, and now it’s even worse. They don’t have many friends, and they are afraid to go outside because they don’t want to get sick. I’m working full time, so I don’t want to get them …

Dear Doctor: I’ve heard that there’s finally a test for Alzheimer’s disease, and that it has to do with your eyes. What is it, and how does it work?

DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents are getting divorced. They announced it to me, their only child, after we were already hunkered down at their house during quarantine. Now I’m faced with a decision I don’t need right now. My dad is moving out of our family home and into his own house. I love both …

Dear Doctor: I got bitten by a tick, and my doctor said it might make me allergic to meat. That was a few months ago, and I can still eat a hamburger and not get sick. How long does it take for the allergy to start? Will it ever go away?

Nia Peeples once said, “Life is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfection is in fact, constant transformation.” Every community needs constant transformation, especially now. Pretty much every local media company has taken their lumps during the past f…

On June 9, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on his popular show: “No child is born evil and sin cannot be inherited.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi once said the same thing. Both are wrong. Man is born a sinner. He doesn’t become a sinner by sinning- he sins because he is a sinner. The …

Dear Doctor: Our older sister has become a hoarder. The halls in her house are filling up with junk, and you can’t even get into her kitchen anymore. My brother and I worry she’s not safe. Why does a hoarding disorder happen? How do we help her?

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a mother of two spending quarantine with my husband. My daughters are college-aged and living on their own. We have a large extended family that is used to seeing each other often throughout the year. We’re trying to spend time together as a family during quarantine thro…

There are very few science-related articles I will turn down.

When I was a junior in high school, my French teacher had our class read the satire “Candide”. There is a lot I don’t remember about the book, but one idea has stuck with me ever since: Candide tells his friend Pangloss that the only worthwhile thing for people to do is to cultivate their gardens.

This year, Independence Day came at a time of great crisis and unrest for our country. But while the events of our day are troubling, remember that our nation was first born out of and found its footing in crisis. 

Dear Doctor: Our dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and will be getting chemo and radiation. I’m not really sure how they work, or why he has to have both. 

DEAR READERS: Clearly, I hit a nerve with the discussion about videoconferencing from home and whether you should turn your camera on. Because so many of you continue to write in about this, I have chosen two more letters to share with you. Working from home and navigating professional engag…

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