On the afternoon of Monday, May 4 2020, I was in clinic – well, pandemic clinic. I was sitting at my home desk talking to a patient via Zoom on my smartphone while charting into our electronic medical record on my computer. Suddenly, a flurry of emails and other alerts flashed on the upper right of my computer screen and texts began appearing on my phone.

I registered this as: unusual.

Because we are in the midst of pandemic, although I would not normally stray from the patient visit, I thought I should check to make sure there wasn’t a local, national or international event that both my patient and I should know about.

I clicked on a message. It was a note of congratulations from someone I hadn’t heard from in years.

I scanned my email. Lots of congratulations.

I registered this as: mysterious.

I finished the patient visit, satisfied that whatever it was both could and should wait.

Between patients I checked my feeds. I went through a few messages until I happened upon a clue: Pulitzer

I thought: no way.

I became aware of my pulse and then I saw another word: Finalist.

Holy %$#^, I thought. I opened my “writer’s” email and there it was: Elderhood was one of 4 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

I called my spouse. I called my mother. I liked a few tweets, and then I “admitted” my next patient to my Zoom exam room. I had 4 more patients to see.I love my clinic and soon I was immersed in the work that inspired Elderhood.

That seemed just the right way to celebrate.