Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dr. Mel is gone, and clouds are blocking the sun

I was just starting to think of Dr. Mel as more than a newsmaker and celebrity but as a friend when I got the devastating news today that he had died.

Just this Monday, Angi and I went to his house to visit with him and Arlene and talk about starting a blog on the Register's Community Media Lab! Since last year, I (and colleague Joe Amarante) had written several stories about his health issues, his retirement from News 8 and Tropical Storm Irene. We did a live-streamed chat just before the storm.

Recently, he called to tell me he was in Connecticut Hospice because he was aspirating liquids, which had caused pneumonia. But he said his cancer was under control and praised Dr. Joseph Andrews and the Hospice staff -- especially the cooks! -- for the care he was receiving. Last week, he returned home. “I’m doing pretty well, not 100 percent, but feeling as well as I’ve felt in over a year, so I’m really, really happy about it,” he said.

We had talked about him starting a weather blog and he was really excited. His computer wasn't working, so he dictated his first essay to Arlene. It's probably the last thing he wrote, and you can read it below.

Angi and I went to his house to pick it up, to talk about the blog and to bring him a get-well card someone had sent. He was definitely not as perky as he had been before, but he had had a reaction to thickener he had to put in his liquids, and I hoped he was just having a bad day.

I don't believe Dr. Mel thought he was near death. Maybe he was keeping the truth from us; maybe he was keeping it from himself. I really thought we'd soon be introducing his blog in our Community Media Lab. I know it would have been really popular.

There are a lot of people who are in the public eye -- and many who are not -- who put on a mask for the public, who are in it for themselves, who want to talk to a reporter in order to aggrandize themselves. Some are friendly in public, but not in private. Ego and cynicism are rampant.

Dr. Mel was none of these things. He was genuine and unassuming. There are hundreds of people, especially cancer patients, who can talk about his kindness, his good works, his support for them in their time of need. He was loved by his co-workers and his public.

Whenever I left him, I felt happier, which is reason enough to spend time with someone. Today I feel sad, but blessed that he let me into his life.

Weather and Winter Health

By Dr. Mel Goldstein

If you can't stand the cold, should you stay out of the kitchen? The cold and flu season is upon us, and so, too, is that desert-dry air that drains all that helpful moisture out of the air. And can we suffer!

The relative humidity becomes so low that a major strain on our respiratory tract takes place. Infections set in, bronchitis develops and pneumonia of various strains appears -- take it from one who has
just been there. I have had every form of pneumonia you could imagine since last March — double, aspiration, the list goes on and on.

Frequent hand-washing helps, but trying to keep your office or indoor rooms at a reasonable temperature and humidity will go a longer way. Humidity of 40 to 60 percent is healthful.

So if we are going to pin the blame on the weather -- we have to look at the humidity -- just to make it stick.


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January 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM 

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