Franklin D. Roosevelt, at his inauguration on Saturday, March 4, 1933 said, “… let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is… fear itself… “

In a sense that is so very obvious. The events of life are simply events with no particular meaning of their own. If we are afraid of anything, it is of our own making. That being said, when I’m afraid I’m very uncomfortable and logic rarely comes to my rescue.

I’ve been aware of fear and the anxiety associated with it quite a bit this week. My wife, Dianne, came down with a case of pneumonia and it is seriously impeding her ability to breathe. She has been very anxious, and rightly so, when finding herself unable to take a deep breath or wheezing after just talking with a visitor.

I think we need to be sensitive to when people, who are our patients or our family, are feeling fearful. Logic will not help. Listening does. Prayer does. Appropriate medication will help. Finally, being mindful and caring is the best response.

A colleague and I made a film a few years back that illustrates what can happen when we find ourselves short of breath.


I have referred to this film twice is earlier postings: and Obviously it touches on a nerve for me.


Join us for a real-time discussion about questions raised by this essay on Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. See Discussion and SL tabs above for details. Link to the virtual meeting room:

Rodger Marion, Ph.D. is UTMB Distinguished Teaching Professor and Senior Fellow in the Sealy Center on Aging. Those with time on their hands might want to follow his current film project at