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Doctor Curmudgeon® Even Bats Do It!

By Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAP Doctor Eisman, is in Family Practice in Aventura, Florida with her partner, Dr. Eugene Eisman, an internist/cardiologist

Galahad, the Siberian Husky, who is Doctor Curmudgeon’s cousin and insures that the household does not fall apart (between his other positions, including one on an important think tank) entered his primary physician’s office.

He was quite well, but it was time for his annual physical, flu vaccine and third COVID vaccine.

Settling himself into a comfortable chair, Galahad opened the latest issue of Foreign Affairs.

As he finished reading the first article, he became aware of somebody joining him two chairs away.

“Gally, it’s so good to see you”

Turning his head, the husky saw Mattie, a Labradoodle and close friend.

“Haven’t seen you in far too long” said Galahad. “We have to resume our monthly lunch dates now that we are both fully vaccinated. Texting and Facetime are great, but so good to sniff you in person.”

“Indeed, I agree. Are you all well? Anything new?”

Galahad shook his head. “The Doctors Curmudgeon have reopened their office on a limited basis, only to those who are fully vaccinated. And I can do my work with Facetime and webinars. We only go out for important things, like our medical appointments. And we always wear our masks outside. Not too comfortable over my muzzle…but it is what it is.”

“I hear you, “agreed Mattie.

“You’ve heard me talk about my college classmate, Chloe…you remember, the pug who works at the New York Academy of Sciences editorial board?”

Galahad nodded his head.

“Well, let me tell you about an interesting piece they published recently. It was in the April issue of their Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

“They studied bats and social distancing,” continued Mattie.

“It seems that when bats are sick, they simply isolate themselves from the rest of the group cluster. This is very rare for them, because they like to stay together.

“Mayra Weinberg, a doctoral candidate, Dr. Kelsey Moreno and Professor Yossi Yovel at Tel Aviv University studied Egyptian fruit bats. These bats are very social and live together congenially in communities.

“They found that sick bats are very protective of their colony and voluntarily isolate themselves from the rest as soon as they fall ill. A sick bat just backs away from the others and does not rejoin the community until that bat recovers.”

“I had no idea,” said Galahad. Even people don’t always do this.”

“Indeed,” nodded Mattie. “And it was surprising to the researcher, because bats are so highly social. Sick bats just choose to stay away from others.

“I am aware that other wild animals try to hide their sickness, in an attempt to avoid looking defenseless and frail,” said Galahad

Mattie continued “And their behavior had nothing to do with a response from the healthy members of their cohort. It was not that the well bats avoided the sick ones. The sick bats just moved away and perched alone, separating themselves.”

“Wow! That is really fascinating behavior. And seeing you, my friend is such a treat. Let’s plan on dinner or lunch soon with our families since we’re all vaccinated with three doses, “said Galahad.

“Sounds great, answered Mattie. “I’ll talk with Mom and we’ll get that arranged.”

The door to the waiting room was opened. A nurse poked his head out and said, “Galahad? Dr. Dolittle will see you now.”

Dr. Curmudgeon suggests “Bitter Medicine”, Dr. Eugene Eisman’s story of his experiences–from the humorous to the intense—as a young army doctor serving in the Vietnam War.

Bitter Medicine by Eugene H. Eisman, M.D. –on Amazon

Doctor Curmudgeon® is Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D., a physician-satirist. This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors.

SERMO www.sermo.com “talk real world medicine”

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