On The Path

The staff at Bethesda is truly remarkable.

When I entered the hospital with a positive Covid test and double pneumonia in July, I tried to think about how I could shed light on the virus and maybe help others by raising awareness.

I hoped that by sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of my experience I could —in a small way—serve my community.
I thought by sharing my specific experience, others might find something they could connect with.
My Facebook posts and now my blog were greeted with generous displays of love and caring. I’ve heard from many of you and your comments have given me strength and boosted my spirits. But more importantly, I’ve heard from several of you that my story made you stop and think about the virus and the safety of your loved ones.  For that and more, I thank you.
That’s the good.
The bad is the virus itself.
It’s dangerous.
It’s scary.
And it’s potentially lethal.
It’s important that we know that and respect that fact. It is not a flu and it is not a hoax.
It’s also not going away the day after the election.
I wish it would. But as we experience yet another surge in America and across a good swath of the world, it’s becoming apparent that we are up against a dangerous hydra that will alter our lives for the foreseeable future.
The ugly of this virus can be put into two buckets. The political aspect and the long lasting effects that some will experience.
The politics of this pandemic can be frustrating.
  I will probably be attacked for pointing out the seriousness of the virus because some believe that Covid is an overblown hoax. That’s OK, bring it.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but not their own facts. I just don’t share those views. I trust in science. Not that science gets everything right, especially on its first pass, but eventually our best and brightest scientific minds figure things out.
The other bucket relates to the potential long haul of this disease.
For some, even when you recover, there are lingering issues to deal with.
When I decided to write about my experience I committed to telling the truth even if that truth is well…ugly.
So let me say that while I feel much, much better I’m still struggling.
My breathing is improving but still not quite back to normal. I remain very sore, my physical strength is returning but is vastly diminished and I suffer from horrible stabbing pains in my left leg and steady pain in my right arm.  I have daily headaches and have experienced Covid related hair loss.
All of that is bearable—even the leg. And it sure beats the alternative. I know I’m very fortunate.
But there’s an emotional aspect to this virus as well.
So here’s my confession—I’m a little off these days.
I get sad a few times a day.
It comes in waves triggered by stories I hear about people who have lost their lives during the pandemic or songs that just get to me. I get restless at night, have some trouble sleeping and feel anxious for no reason.
I’m really worried about my family and friends. I’m really worried about our community and the world itself.
I think about kids missing out on a normal social life and about senior citizens who are at risk and unable to enjoy their lives —cut off from grandchildren and others who enrich their lives.
I worry about small business owners and the unemployed and I think about the families of the more than one million people who have died worldwide in the pandemic.
I also worry about our medical workers, teachers, first responders and essential workers who fear for their health every time they leave for work.
I’ve been told that the flood of emotions I’m experiencing is to be expected.
Last week, I learned about a concept called “survivors guilt.”
Readers of this blog may remember the name Skip Brown.
Skip is a friend, a retired Delray police officer and a Vietnam veteran. I had the honor of pinning the Bronze Star he earned in combat to his chest a few years back. It was one of the great thrills of my life.
Skip has taught me a lot over the years and he explained the concept of survivors guilt, the idea that you feel pressure and question why you survived while others died.
We spoke on my way to a pulmonologist appointment I had last week. When I walked into the doctor’s office I was told of other patients who died and how lucky I was to have made it considering the violence of my pneumonia and the damage the virus did to my lungs.
Hearing the stories of those who didn’t make it, leveled me. It just leveled me.
It’s important that I share that because you may know someone who gets this virus and it’s important that we be there for them not just with medical care but with spiritual and emotional support as well.
I believe I was spared for a reason. I’m not sure why, but I’m searching for answers.
I’ve been wrestling with what to do with my second chance.
I’ve been told by people I love and respect that the answers will come and I believe they will.
I’m on a path and I have to trust.
So far, several people have come to my rescue. And I believe that there may be some divine intervention involved.
The call from Skip came at just the right time.
A call from Max Weinberg, yes that Max Weinberg, which inspired me and pointed me toward a book I need to read.
Two calls with friends who recommended psalms that are relevant to my experience.
A conversation at work about grace, healing, love and faith.
At the height of my illness, so many people sent messages of love and kindness.
I was overwhelmed; grateful for each and every message of hope. Thankful for every prayer.
I vowed then that I would share my story because I wanted to let people know not only about the virus, but about doctors and nurses, family and friends, prayer and hope, love and friendship.
I experienced the power of community in the midst of a period in our history where we are angry and estranged.
I feel compelled to tell you that love and community feels a lot better than anger and division.
I honestly don’t know what I will do with my second chance.
I’m going to trust in the path laid out for me.
So when the darkness washes over me, when the waves hit, I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to keep working. I’m going to keep breathing—for as long as I can.


  1. Robert J Wieder says

    Great read mayor…
    And, as always:

    Bobby Delray

  2. Thank you for your blog, Jeff. You’ve been an inspiration to me and so many for a long while now.

    You went through a trauma and it sounds like it is very much still with you. Thanks for being vulnerable, personal and real.

    Wishing you no guilt, no pain and full recovery of your lungs, hair, and a sense of grounded “okay-ness”.

    Please keep us informed if your good days and bad, showing us all what it is to be a COVID survivor and a “Mensch”

  3. J Reeve Bright says

    We need love community and respect for all
    Thanks Jeff What psalms were suggested?

  4. David Reeves says

    Thanks for your example, Jeff.

  5. Marie Speed says

    I am glad you have embraced the responsibility to speak out about this. It ain’t over—and it’s not over with you. Or any of us. It is real and we need to stay vigilant and careful and respectful of science and each other. Thank you. Keep it coming. And know you will get better and better.

  6. Ellie Lowery says

    Jeff, I am so pleased to see your blog. I was hoping you would feel well enough to post a blog soon after you felt better. I feel we all have a purpose for being here You will find that this blog has helped many of those who have experienced the same as you, or their families.
    May God bless you with good health and much happiness. Keep on blogging, you have a mission.

    Many blessings, Ellie

  7. Kathleen Daley Bochicchio says

    Please keep sharing. I speak and think of you often. I have shared your posts with people who truly believe covid will end after the election. My best friend in NY still has pulmonary issues after surviving covid and has been told she probably always will. Your posts bring truth, hope and sense at a time when we all need it. Thank you. Be well!

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Kathy thanks for sharing my posts. I hope your best friend finds peace and relief. It’s a tough road. But there is hope. Always hope. Miss you.

  8. Jacqueline Lorber says

    The way I see it, your survival is a gift. You are blessed with a special gift. The ability to take words and paint a picture for all to see. Words that only you can express having been through this experience. You have no doubt opened eyes and saved lives by writing about the serious nature of this disease 🤗

  9. Christine Hohlbaum says

    You are a fighter and an inspiration. Although you and I have never met, your story has touched me in ways you could never imagine. Thank you for giving us all the strength to keep going, even in the darkest of times. Blessings to you and your family, Jeff.

  10. Elaine Morris says

    God bless you and your family! Your message to all of us is so special in these difficult times. Stay well!♥️♥️♥️

  11. Randy appel says

    Jeff – your words are so inspiring. You are blessed with a gift to help so many with those words. I am so happy that you are doing well. May good health continue to come your way. All the very best always

  12. Jeff, you are an inspiration to all of us! Thanks for your honesty and sharing your experience.
    Recovery is a long way, but you will succeed!

  13. Mary Morgan says

    Jeff Pearlman! You are amazing for sharing your journey and your feelings. Thank you. Yes, this is a scary world in which we are all living. I can’t sleep at night. I have panic attacks. I’m the middle of the night. I’m worried, concerned about the effects this has on my two grandsons. What are they thinking of all these adults wearing masking and people dying?

  14. Jeff, your story has most certainly had an impact on my actions and those with whom I’ve shared your posts. So, thank you. As to second acts, I’m sure you’ll make the most of it. Stay strong – and vulnerable (though not to Covid). Rest assured you are making a difference.

  15. Stephanie Molyneux says

    Your honesty is so refreshing. In a time when people are unsure as to what to believe about this virus, you bring reality and wisdom to light. It’s refreshing because you’re not doing it to scare people~ you’re doing it to help, and your generous heart shines through. I think you are already walking a path that shows why it is so important that you are still here. Your voice resonates with people of all walks. Your message is gentle, yet crystal clear that it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with your genuine concern for your fellow man. Keep going, Jeff. You and your thoughtful message are so needed. ❤️

    • Jeff Perlman says

      Stephanie, when I look back at those who helped me in my time of need your name is at the top of the list. Your encouragement, kindness and care helped more than I can ever say.

  16. Thank you for sharing. As you contemplate your next chapter, remember that you may already be finding your purpose … sharing your story, your experience to help others understand what many go through. And that small things like a kind word, open mind and being willing to listen also may have a big impact on others’. lives. These are things you have always done and have always touched others in a positive way.

  17. Jeff— I admire your strength, spirit and ability to convey your thoughts. So happy that you’re on the mend👍

  18. Jeff…I was unaware of your illness until I read this post today on LinkedIn. Thank God you are telling your story and for your strength, perseverance and clarity of thought. Here’s hoping the best for you and your family as you continue to recover and get back to the pillar you have always been in our community!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.