MLK: The Drum Major Instinct

FeaturedMLK: The Drum Major Instinct

Fifty-four years ago Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a prophetic sermon he called the The Drum Major Instinct. He riffed off a passage in the New Testament where Jesus’ disciples got mad at him because they wanted to be credentialed leaders, to be praised for their importance, the “drum major instinct”.  In the 1940s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, wrote in the Twelve Steps that this desire for an important place in society, the “social” instinct, is necessary for community survival. Both men cautioned that this natural god-given instinct, unbridled, can turn on us, become an obsession for power and supremacy and eventually distort our personalities. 

I know a bit about the desire for attention. During these pandemic shutdown months, online Zoom meetings have become the stage and meeting room for events. Last year I was the featured speaker in one square among nearly three hundred muted souls on Zoom. At the end all I heard was thank you from the host. People wrote kindly in the Chat but I still wish I had heard that applause. My book, In That Number, was published in October 2020 and the enthusiasm I needed to promote it waned, due to—you got it—no applause.

Donald Trump heard a lot of applause throughout his entire presidency, even during the months most of us were silent following the stay-at-home orders of Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force leaders. Whew! Trump’s drum-major instinct rampaged so out of control that he still says the Democrats stole the election he lost to Joe Biden.

MLK:  “… the final great tragedy of the distorted personality is that when one fails to harness this instinct, he ends up trying to push others down in order to push himself up…by spreading evil, vicious, lying gossip on people…”

Trump spread evil, vicious lies to his duped white followers continually until they finally exploded into a blood-and-guts frenzy on January 6, 2021. They sacked the US Capitol in an effort to thwart the official declaration of the election results. People died. Martin Luther King, Jr. nailed this aberrant behavior in a prescient accusation: his drum-major instinct makes him think he is somebody big because he is white. 

MLK and Bill Wilson remind us we all have the drum-major instinct. We all want the admiration of others. They caution us to keep it in check, to watch out we don’t let our drum-major emotions go awry, that we don’t act superior to others. I confess I do feel and act superior to the insurrectionists, the white fundamentalists, the angry male mob who sieged the Capitol. I condemn them in conversation, even post condemnations on social media. Experience tells me if I don’t stop, I’ll soon be in a full blown mire of self-loathing, questioning how I got there. King and Wilson both offer an ancient solution to keep my own potential soul-sick personality at bay. Love and service. Be a drum major for love. Help others.

I’m open to it. That’s the best I can do today.

(originally published MLK Jr. Day 2021)


The Drum Major Instinct,” Sermon Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King, Jr., February 4, 1968, Atlanta, Ga. Listen Here:

Without Being Contagious to Others

Without Being Contagious to Others

Uh-oh. When I home-tested positive for Covid after a few casual lunches with different friends over the holidays, I knew I had to tell them about my infection. 

I had accumulated four Covid home tests to use between Christmas and New Years and self-tested before each gathering of five to seven people—not exactly a crowd, but I worried. After a rousing lunch of laughs and stories at the History Museum atrium Cafe, I went home and used my last home test. Gulp. Positive.

Immobilization glued me to my bed. What do I do? The slight cough and runny nose I’d had for a few days was seasonal allergies, according to the doctor. One friend told me the self-tests are not accurate. Really? Is she right? Is the CDC wrong?  How do I report it? Do I tell people? Will they panic? Am I responsible if they get it? Will they blame me? 

Fortunately I wasn’t with the friends who panic, blame, and generally indulge in open disapproval and silent scorn. That crowd is busy interrogating their other friends with positive Covid tests: Where did you get it? Who were you with? Were they wearing masks? Were you? Were they boostered? 

There are so many cases of Covid now that it’s impossible to trace the source of who, what, where, how, when. Last week people talked about their friends and relatives having Covid. This week they’re talking about themselves having it. 

Henry, Social Distancing

My course of action was 1) text Mark with the news and ask if he’d walk the dog for two days. Two days. That’s what I gave myself to be symptom-free. I was right. And really, how much dog-walking can you ask of your friends in the first snowstorm of the winter? 2) Turn on the kitchen exhaust fan to move the Covid air out. 3) Wipe all the surfaces with bleach, and 4) close myself off in the bedroom with Tylenol, electrolytes and Kleenex. Mark ran in and out with Henry. No lingering. No chit-chat.

The Northwestern Medicine patient portal has no apparent section for reporting Covid. I wrote my doctor through the online messaging system (who reads those?). “I tested positive for Covid. What should I do?” Twenty-four hours later my symptoms had subsided.  I’d read the CDC stuff and thought I knew all I had to know. But no. Northwestern has a lengthy standard reply, some of which surprised me:

Retesting is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because you may continue to test positive for three months or more without being contagious to others.

What? For the first time in almost two years, the weight I didn’t know was so heavy, lifted from my mind, body and soul! No more frantically scouring shelves for Covid tests? No more fear of infection, the ER, hospital, death? No more worry that I might give it to you!

It’s like June 2021!

An Inauspicious Birth

An Inauspicious Birth

Until late 1944, my father had been a Navy pilot headquartered in Key West where he patrolled the Florida Straits for German submarines. After the war, as a new law school graduate, he reported for duty to the military court at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, as ordered.

Two of my sisters and I were born in the Naval Academy Hospital. On the day I was born, my father was in the middle of a complicated trial. All my life I’d heard that my father asked for a pause in the trial to visit my mother and me in the hospital. My birth was announced in the newspaper as part of the daily coverage of the court proceedings. When I was old enough to ask, I heard from my mother and him that he defended Navy personnel for stealing food from the Officers’ Mess. It sounded admirable. I fabricated stories about men he defended—petty officers sending necessities home to their poor families— and bragged about him to my friends.

In my fifties I went to Annapolis to search the archives for the article announcing my birth. Before I started rolling through microfiche, I called my father and asked for some common names and dates to look for besides my birth date.

“I can’t remember,” he said. “Call me when you get home.”

Newspaper articles from 1946 report details of my father’s part in the trial. In the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG), he worked not as a defender of the disadvantaged but as a prosecutor.

The day my arrival interrupted the trial, June 13, 1946, my father was about to call an important witness to testify against former Chief Steward Walter W. Rollins. Rollins, “a Negro”, was accused of throwing an all-night party in his basement quarters of the Officers’ Mess with five white people. The day after my birth, the witness would testify they played penny-ante poker from 1:30 am until 9:30 am, but no money changed hands. The charges against Rollins included adultery with a white woman, a morals offense, gambling, embezzlement, misconduct and theft. He apparently took a jug of whiskey from the Officers’ Mess. Rollins was sentenced to two years in federal prison. After twenty-seven years of service to the Navy, he was demoted to First Mate and received a bad conduct discharge.

No wonder my father evaded his history at Annapolis. He had just been commissioned a Lieutenant Commander, had flown the prestigious Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers in the elite Air Corps. He’d been a scholarship student at Georgetown University and Law School. And yet, for years, he secretly funded all extracurriculars with money he earned at all-night high-stakes bridge games. He’d been arrested for drunken brawls and flown illegal rum and cigars home from Cuba. A much worse law-breaker than Rollins, my father tried to blot out his part in the Rollins’ trial.

He never served as a trial lawyer again.

And I never told him what I knew.

Seeing Jesus

Seeing Jesus

In 1949 the Soviet Union started the Cold War by detonating its first atomic bomb, blockading Berlin, and pushing its way into Poland and Eastern Europe. The voices I heard swirling above my head at cocktail hour in our Washington home implied the Russians were coming for us. Everyone acted like this was the worst thing that could ever happen. 

Air raid drills were concocted by the federal government through the National Civil Defense Administration to protect people from incoming A-bombs. Common folk-wisdom said only cockroaches would survive a nuclear attack. Nevertheless teachers were required to conduct impromptu air raid drills. They shouted, Drop!—a signal for us to jump out of our seats, crawl under our desks, fall over our knees and cover our heads. The nuns added the instruction to recite Hail Marys aloud while on the floor. 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

At seven, I didn’t understand the difference between a drill and the real event. I went to my death every time I huddled under that desk. I feared the A-Bomb was the worst thing that could ever happen. But, I was not. afraid. to die. 

This is it, I’d pray. This is the day I’m going to see Jesus.

I believed Mother Mary would grab me in her arms like she did baby Jesus and take me to heaven. Why did we practice to avoid such ecstasy? 

By the time third grade rolled around, I got used to not dying under the desk. Images of children who lived after their exposure to the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki appeared on our small black and white television. I saw that there were worse things than death. 

Our Catholic school teachers taught that Communists who ruled Mother Russia prohibited the celebration of  the Mass. The clergy declared this was the worst thing that could ever happen. We prayed for Catholic Russia.

At home, my two sisters and I made our own breakfasts and school lunches because my mother’s alcohol intake rendered her unconscious in the mornings. We often gathered around her bed trying to figure out if she was alive. Holy Mary, Mother of God. One of us would place a finger under her nostrils to feel her breath until, with one exhale, she’d confirm that the worst that could’ve happen, hadn’t—and we’d be off to knock on neighbors’ doors scrounging rides to school. 

Those early almost-worst-that-could-happen memories have inoculated me against the mau-mauing of present-day alarmists, naysayers and fear-mongers who sermonize about the death of our democracy. Yeah-but’ers and tsk-tsk’ers want us to heed their cynical creed that our country is hopelessly overrun with insurrectionists, sexual predators, corrupt politicians and gun-toting scofflaws.

And what if these are apocalyptic times? So what? So were the 1950’s. I’ve been here before. 

Mother Mary may be out of commission these days, but I still dream of seeing Jesus.

IRL (In Real Life)

IRL (In Real Life)

One of the first gifts I received from my grandson, CJ, was his framed eighth grade self-portrait. He filled the center of a twelve by sixteen inch paper canvas with his life-size face, neck and shoulders, probably as instructed by his teacher. The background is a collage of his own black & white photos, trees and fences, angled every which way. The drawing portrays what he looked like at thirteen years old. 

Except he painted himself cobalt blue. 

This painting hangs from a hook on the wall-to-wall bookcase in my living room. CJ is fair-skinned with reddish-blonde hair. I’ve never asked him why he painted himself cobalt blue. As far as I know, he wasn’t imitating Picasso’s blue period. No one knew about the blue people of Kentucky until the 2019 publication “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.” After hearing so many ads for Blue Man Group on TV, CJ expressed interest in seeing them live on stage. But it was an interest, not an obsession.

Cobalt blue, used for centuries by the Chinese for their blue and white pottery, is the epitome of coolness; dark, deep, and mysterious. It’s the color of the evening sky in winter, clear twilight boosted by the unseen sun from below the horizon. CJ’s not the only creative to fancy cobalt. J. M. W. Turner, Renoir, Claude Monet, and van Gogh all favored its compatibility with other colors. Remember Maxfield Parrish’s famous Daybreak? He used cobalt blue mixtures for the skyscape. 

Public opinion polls show blue as the favorite color of both men and women. And yet, a case of the blues refers to feelings of sadness. My parents used the term, the blues, to announce their alcoholic hangovers. 

Thanks to old African American traditions, the blues generally signify sadness without despair. Pastor Otis Moss III of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago preaches about a blue note faith, one that’s rooted in letting dark times exist side-by-side with hope. Moss teaches his congregation to let these dark moody blues move around them while they practice dancing in the dark. This practice keeps the blues from turning to hopelessness and death by despair.

For the past ten years CJ’s self-portrait has hung where I see it everyday. He’s melded into my unconscious seeing. He looks the same to me. But as I write this and inspect him further, I see the cobalt blue has faded to dark teal. Teal is a modern color, one not seen in art before the twentieth century. It has no meaning really, except a lot of European TV shows use teal interiors and costumes. It makes the actors look better. 

In real life, CJ’s hair has turned brown, but I still think of him as reddish blonde, just as his self-portrait will always be cobalt blue. We don’t see each other often in these isolating covid days. He’s in those perilous twenties where the blues start taking root.

I hope he’s dancing in the dark.

Saved By Eloise

Saved By Eloise

When friends announced their newborn’s name, Eloise, memories of New York’s Plaza Hotel stiffened my spine. I’d erased all memories of the palatial turn-of-the-century landmark after Donald Trump bought her in the late 1980’s. I even dumped my co-memories of Eloise, an early literary heroine who lived in the Plaza without her parents.

In the early 1950’s, my mother took my sisters and me to live for a while in her childhood home in North Jersey. One day, we took a train to Penn Station, then a cab ride to the Plaza at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. We drank coca-colas, went to the powder room and backtracked home.

The book Eloise was published in 1955, a few years after that memorable first trip to the Plaza. The protagonist is a precocious six-year old, though the book was written for adults. After its publication, my mother gossiped about author Kay Thompson as if she were the next-door neighbor. On the phone with each of her sisters, she’d giggle at Eloise cartoon antics. They all grew up in the shadow of New York, mocking spoiled high society children similar to Thompson’s Eloise.

Kay Thompson lived at the Plaza and wrote the idiosyncrasies of other residents into Eloise stories. Plaza kibitzers tittered about a wealthy widow who had her hair done cheaper in the men’s barber shop rather than the women’s salon. Thompson had Eloise get her haircut in the barbershop too. Eloise picks ribbons from the garbage in the service elevator, mimicking a reclusive countess who was known to pilfer through hotel trash bins. 

Talk of the Plaza Hotel wafted through my childhood. I imagined myself living in the Plaza with my dog and turtle, like Eloise, getting into all sorts of fiendish exploits. My charlatan father often stayed there, or pretended he stayed there. I overheard him arranging to meet other business contacts in the Palm Court or the “coffee shop in the lobby,” as he satirically called it. When I was a teenager I lived with my father for a time in Manhattan. The Plaza was in the vicinity of my walk home and I’d often stop to use the powder room or meet friends in the coffee shop.

Once when I was around nineteen, I came out of an alcoholic blackout at 3:00 a.m. on the powder room floor in the Plaza. I had no purse, no money and was far from my New Jersey home. The bellman allowed me to use a phone in a small back office. I called Bernadette, a high school friend in the Bronx whom I hadn’t contacted in four years. She knew the bellman.

“Ask him for money and take a cab to my place.”

When I arrived, she made up a bed on her couch, gave me homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk. I tried to tell her what happened.

“No explanation necessary. It’s the home of Eloise after all. Anything can happen.”

The Veterans

The Veterans

At a memorial service in downtown Chicago on Veterans Day eve, campaign veteran David Axelrod eulogized Adlai Stevenson III. In 1986 Adlai had reluctantly enlisted Axelrod as a consultant to steer the ship of his campaign for Illinois governor. Adlai had nothing against Axelrod. He just didn’t understand why he needed a consultant to do what he thought the campaign staff should do. Axelrod recounted how Adlai fought, like the Marine he had once been, for higher principles—“utterly immune to pressures of organized money, politicians and public opinion”.

He reminded us of how the press derided Adlai as “professorial” and out of touch with voters. But Nancy Stevenson could light any room with grace and warmth, insulating her husband from criticisms of being cold and aloof. They both always appreciated the sacrifices of campaign staffers. On that night, at a party to mark her husband’s death, she offered us one final salute from her and her “Ad”. 

Nancy was the last to speak. With a cavalcade of children and grandchildren surrounding her, she chronicled each of the Stevenson campaigns. Treasurer. Senator. Governor. I looked around the room full of campaign veterans and wondered how she deployed so many of us so fast. 

Small units clustered together after the formalities, telling favorite Adlai yarns, as if he was the childhood uncle. There’s a familial coziness in campaign storytelling. I gravitated toward the governor-campaign crew, some of the funniest people I’ve ever known.There’s no doubt we all respected him for the valor conveyed by Axelrod. But as a candidate, Adlai gave us a lot of stand-up comedy material.

In 1985 the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl. At a campaign event, an enthusiastic  supporter yelled out, “Hey Adlai, you’re the Mike Ditka of politics!”

“Who’s Mike Ditka?” Adlai asked a campaign staffer in the car afterwards. The staffer explained that the ’85 Chicago Bears was being touted as the greatest NFL team of all time. Adlai said, “Oh, I thought NFL stood for some new terrorist group.”

In the early days of the 1986 campaign, I was the driver waiting for Adlai and the press secretary outside the Chicago Tribune. When the two got in the car, we headed down the Dan Ryan to a campaign event on the far south side. The press secretary and I were looking forward to the drive time to review the long-term schedule with Adlai. But Adlai, always prepared,  hopped in the front seat, tuned in WFMT and pulled sheet music out of his briefcase. We were mum as he followed along to the tinny car radio ringing out Bach’s Mass in B Minor all the way to Calumet City. 

Adlai once accused his opponent, incumbent Governor Jim Thompson, of implying he was “some kind of wimp.″ Thompson sounded off, “I never called Adlai a wimp”. The label stuck and at the conclusion of every one of Nancy Stevenson’s speeches after that, she smiled, winked, and affirmed, “Ad…is no wimp.”

RIP. Adlai Stevenson III. October 10, 1930 – September 6, 2021

Scammers and Fear Mongers

Scammers and Fear Mongers

Comcast/Xfinity notified me this week of a $100 charge for in-home service. Combing their website I found the “contact-us” link at the hairline of the fine print. I cleared my schedule, settled in for an extended tussle and sent an inquiry: “Isn’t in-home service free as part of your recent upgrade to my high-rise?”

Within five minutes the reply came: “$100 will be credited to your account.” The response crimped my escalating ire. Restitution was enough. I didn’t look for, nor did I need an apology.

When I recounted this good fortune to a friend, she said, “They were hoping you wouldn’t notice and just pay it.” Really? I suggested she was a bit more cynical than me, that I prefer to think of it as a mistake.

My initial reaction is that a human error occurred, like a beautician accidentally snipping off too much. On second thought, conditioned by my friend, I later suspected that a programmer set a computer to scam thousands of customers, expecting a certain percentage would pay without question. Teased by a subconscious groupthink, I reckoned Comcast/Xfinity, Big Pharma, Medicare, IRS, Social Security, banks, mortgage servicers, insurance companies, condo associations and Amazon not only make mistakes but misbehave. Experience has shown me that correcting mis-charges in all these organizations requires pull-my-hair-out patience. To make matters worse, AARP informs me every week to be over-vigilant to incoming email, text messages, phone calls, and snail mail. Apparently, thousands of scammers are out to shear my bank account.

Accepting the idea of a corporate crime wave is easier when in the thick of a crisis. A few years ago I sat with a tattooed, mohawked alcoholic who was detoxing in the hallway of an emergency room. A nearby social worker overheard me phoning his family with the news that their insurance denied coverage for inpatient treatment. She pulled me aside and offered: “They always reject you on the first try. Their business model counts on you giving up. Tell them you know it’s against the law to deny him.”

The father of the patient wigged out at the shamelessness of the blameless insurance counselor. I say blameless, because what kind of mullethead would take a job where the requirements would be to lie to the customers? Insurance eventually accepted the sufferer’s claim. He lasted two weeks in rehab before cutting out, but that’s another story.

86922a4b282276bf1fe4cf8fc1f67411When the devils throw blow-out parties, they wave around essential-fatty-acid credentials weaving stories that depict the decolorization of human goodness. They bob around spewing certainties on the demise of the Democratic Party and the catastrophe of melting polar ice caps. Then they buzz cut what’s left of our serenity pronouncing Trump will be the next president. 

How do I foil hair-on-fire incoming?  By upsweeping the good. I stick every 100 dollar refund on the beehive and wait for the honey.

Ageism and Activism

Ageism and Activism

From the Board of Directors of Skyline Village Chicago reprinted from the November-December 2021 Newsletter
Age-related shaming can occur anywhere—the shove in the street, the cold shoulder at the cosmetics counter, the deaf ear at community meetings, and the big one—the obtuseness of the health care system.
Activism-Against-Ageism-2Ageism and age discrimination are different. Age discrimination raises its ugly head in institutions, corporations and housing. Experts often refer to ageism as complex and subtle. It is subtle, but not that complex. When someone addresses us as “young lady”, the implication is that young is good, old is bad. If we act flattered, we’re perpetuating the stigma. The expression “senior moment” aims to joke about aging memory loss as if it is an embarrassment rather than a normal part of getting old. One of our neighbors is often called “young at heart”. She’s an eighty year old woke grandmother who likes Chance the Rapper and marches in anti-racism demonstrations. “Young at heart” diminishes the lifelong experiences that have brought her to her own reckonings. Yes, ageism is subtle, but really, it’s not so complicated.
People in power have implicit or unconscious biases, baked-in at birth, passed down from generations like old recipes. Their unrealized thoughts are that people much older can be ignored because they are close to death, or they have had “full lives,” or they no longer care to survive. These never-expressed sentiments influence and often determine public policy.
Acquiring awareness of our own ageism warrants self-education and introspection. When we experience ageism from without, we tend to think “this is my problem,” rather than, “this is OUR problem.” Dismantling ageist thinking and behavior requires collective action, just like movements against racism, sexism and ableism. 
Anti-ageism activism is turning intimate suffering into public grievance. “In our society, there is this endless drumbeat of youth. We need to challenge the underlying message that age decreases your value,” says Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism and a blog called Yo, Is This Ageist?
Recently two members of Skyline Village challenged ageism by writing letters to the editor. Nancie Thompson and Regan Burke assure us they have been lifelong submitters of letters to editors. They had no expectations their letters would be published and yet, there they were—in the same week! 
Let’s keep it up. Write your own letters to the editor the next time you hear, see or read ageism. 
The links below will take you to contacts for your own submittals of letters to the editor.
While you’re at it, email us examples of ageism you’ve experienced: We’re compiling a list for Skyline’s advocacy work. Don’t worry! If we use your example it will be anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.
Thank you for your contribution to this important effort.
Skyline Village Chicago Board of Directors
Phyllis Mitzen, Sandra Herman, Evelyn Shaevel, D Clancy and Regan Burke

Eight Things I Learned in the E.R.

<strong>Eight Things I Learned in the E.R.</strong>

A doctor I’d never seen peeked around the curtain of my Emergency Room cubby hole and softly announced I have clots in my lungs.

My entire joyless face broke into an involuntary smile.

“That’s great news,” I said.

The doctor pulled his head back, turtle-like, as if he’d delivered the news to the wrong patient.

“There’s a simple solution, right? No surgery? Just pills?”

“That’s right,” he said.

In the thirty-six hours I’d been in the E.R. I’d learned a few things.

First of all, most hospital employees say “E.D.”, as in emergency department, rather then E.R. I was in the E.R. because I couldn’t catch my breath. A few hours of oxygen fixed that. Nurses and doctors kept saying, “it’s good you came to the “E.D.” Everytime I heard it, I thought of those commercials for little blue pills. On the other hand, when I hear E.R., I think of George Clooney.

Second, a nurse asked me if I wanted to be admitted. Was that my decision? My friend Kristina, who came to rescue me from fear and confusion reminded me that we have to say “I want to be admitted”, to satisfy Medicare. If you hesitate in making that declaration, you’ll be farther down on the waitlist for a bed upstairs. And let’s face it, if you’re seventy-five years old and find yourself in the E.R. with tubes in your nose, you’re going to end up admitted upstairs.

Three: There are no beds, no blankets and no extra pillows. The board you lie on is a padded gurney. The E.R. is a whistle-stop on the way either back home or upstairs. No need for frills.

Four: The E.R .does not have food service. You may find out about the secret stash of turkey sandwiches, graham crackers and apple juice. But no one’s in a hurry to get you food. If you toss it, well, there’s the clean-up. 

Five: The call button for the nurse is like an emotional support dog. It’s a comfort lying next to you, but won’t answer your call for help if you need to drag your tubes and drips to the bathroom down the hall. 

Six: The E.R. has all the equipment for all the tests. It’s designed to get results fast. When someone says, “you can have a CAT scan here or you can have it upstairs”, get it done in the E.R. The upstairs equipment is for the entire hospital and there is a long wait, even for someone with clots in the lungs.

Seven: Watch for clues. When a doctor says we want you to take Eliquis but it’s expensive, that’s your clue to call your friend and find out what online Canadian pharmacy she uses. And yes, buying drugs from Canada is legal.

Eight: There are a lot of doctors, nurses and technicians coming and going using words you’ve rarely heard. Call in a savvy friend like Kristina, to rehash the diagnosis and the prognosis. 

Most important of all: take a breath and let them take care of you.