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For many years I kept the postcard above, depicting The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, taped to my bathroom mirror. Painted by Pierre-Jacques Volaire in 1777, it depicts the cataclysmic day in 79 A.D. when the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was buried under a thick carpet of volcanic ash. Within the span of 24 hours, a sophisticated culture with running water, toilets, saunas, and spectacularly decorated homes was completely destroyed.

I would look at that painting every day as I got ready for work, because my daughter had become desperately ill and I felt as though my world had ended. That picture gave me perspective about my troubles. Recently I’ve been looking for that old postcard, because I think I need to put it on the mirror again.

I’ve been fighting the COVID-19 blues and I need to maintain perspective. About 4 months into the pandemic, I called my 95-year-old mother, who was quarantined in her house. I asked her if what we were going through was like the hardships of World War II. I thought she would say that our present struggles were nothing compared to those of the past. Instead, she said, “No, I think this is harder because back then, we had each other…”

You can read the rest of my editorial, just posted in “Today’s Wound Clinic” here:


Dr. Fife sees patients at the CHI St. Luke's Hospital Wound Clinic in The Woodlands, Texas. For an appointment call (936) 266-2150.



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