We now have to deal with a shortage of hydroxychloroquine, the drug that has been keeping me alive for more than two decades.

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When Should Parents Let Children Advocate for Their Own Health Care?

“Tell me what’s happening, sweetie,” the pediatric rheumatologist instructed my 10-year-old daughter Isa. Her pen was in hand, ready to take notes.

“My fingers swelled up after I hit my head and got a concussion. It hurts to open and close my hand,” she replied, nervous, sandwiched in between the doctor and me.

“She’s been—” I started to say, but the doctor cut me off and continued to ask my daughter questions as if I weren’t in the room.

My cheeks burned red. I was her mother after all—I did not like to be ignored by healthcare professionals. As a Latina, I had been failed by nurses and doctors for being a woman of color. One experience left me in a coma and permanently brain-damaged. After that, I changed careers from attorney to narrative medicine advocate.

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Living with lupus in the time of Trump

I felt my heart stop when I saw the news alert come across my phone: Donald Trump says he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine, supposedly to prevent himself from coming down with serious COVID-19 symptoms in the event he’s exposed to the coronavirus. He’s disregarding the warnings by his own FDA that the drug could have serious side effects.

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New York Daily News: Judicial bias crimes in New Jersey: Rapes excused, seemingly on the basis of race

When I read about the recent appellate ruling in the case of a drunken 16-year-old boy who had forced himself onto an intoxicated 16-year-old girl in a basement in New Jersey, it brought me back to my years as a public defender. I was one of the original eight attorneys who opened the Bronx Defenders back in 1997. My clients were poor African Americans and Latinos who couldn’t afford an attorney, so I was appointed to their cases.

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AM New York: MTA must do the right thing

Advocates for the disabled feel vindicated after a state Supreme Court justice recently allowed a class-action lawsuit to proceed against the MTA over inaccessible subway stations. As a disabled subway rider, I, too, feel abandoned by the MTA. There are no elevators in the station closest to my home in Midtown East, and the stairs can be impossible to navigate after my disability.

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My Mami and Abuela Have Been Teaching Me to Accessorize the Latinx Way For the Last 30 Years

When people ask me about mi familia, many emotions pop up, but the images that come to mind are always full of colors and jewelry from Colombia. We were very cultural regarding food, music, and attire. I started looking enviously at my mami and abuela’s shiny, beautiful gold jewelry at a very young age. Right after taking a shower, their earrings were on, and the rings for the day were chosen.

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The Pressure to Find a Husband Started When I Was a Kid, but the Cycle Stops With My Daughter

In the hit TV show Jane the Virgin, the American adaptation of a telenovela, Jane is expected to remain celibate until she finds her perfect man and marries. I received similar directives growing up, except my chastity wasn’t as important to my family. It was essential to find a husband.

When I was in elementary school, my Colombian mami, Ana, said, “Be on the lookout for a potential good boyfriend.” My abuela Olga, whom I was named after, would add, “Good suitors can be molded into good husbands.” I stared blankly at them as they spoke and then performed endless wedding ceremonies on my Barbies.

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How I Overcame Illness to Become an Advocate, Survivor, and Mother

“Education is the only way out of poverty” was the mantra my Latinx family instilled in me as a young child. My abuela had no formal schooling. My Colombian Mami attended convent, and my Puerto Rican Papi entered the military as a teenager. It was up to me to break this generational cycle and lift my family’s status. Luckily, I was smart and had a strong work ethic, so I was able to place into a “gifted and talented” program offered in the public school system in Queens, New York. I skipped seventh grade and was on track to become a first-generation Latina living the “American Dream” when one day my body mysteriously stopped working.

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How I Learned to Love Myself Again After Surviving a Brain Injury

It was a late summer day when I made the not-so-brilliant decision to eat the last piece of Jamaican jerk chicken from a food cart for lunch. It looked and even tasted delicious, but not surprisingly, I got food poisoning. Bad food poising. Life-changing food poisoning. Within hours, I was admitted to a Manhattan hospital for severe dehydration and given hypertonic saline, which has much more sodium than a typical IV bag.

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How Latina Friendships Turn Into Sisterhoods

Growing up, I looked up to Mami’s closest friends. They were full of interesting stories about escapades from their respective native countries. All of them somehow managed to work, take care of their families, and send something back to family members who hadn’t immigrated. Some of them were even entrepreneurs, starting businesses at home, selling Avon products or empanadas. I looked up to these women. I called them tías or titis, and they showered me with affection. I could count on them giving me an extra serving of dessert, and as I got older, they offered advice on things I was embarrassed to ask my mom.

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Why Creating a Medical Résumé Was the Best Way I Could Take Care of My Family Members, and Myself

As a first-generation Latina, I’m used to having to translate for my Spanish-speaking family members when I accompany them to their doctors’ appointments. In fact, I was the one who most often took my Abuela to the doctor. Despite writing down all of her medications, the dose she took, and why she took them on a piece of paper, my Abuela insisted on carrying all of her pills in a shopping bag when she went to see the doctor.

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Growing Up Colombian and Puerto Rican — Which One Was I?

When you’re born to parents from different countries (or in my case, one country and one US territory), who are you? My Puerto Rican father was proud of his heritage, and my Colombian mother spoke of the beautiful country she left behind to migrate to the US. All my cousins were fully one nationality or the other. I was the lone wolf. Although I spoke Spanish until I learned English in public school in Queens, I felt like the gringa who didn’t fit in.

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