I’m not sure how you have been dealing with the COVID-19 quarantine, but I have been watching Star Trek. I mean A LOT of Star Trek. I grew up watching reruns of the original Star Trek. Spock, the Vulcan Science Officer, spoke to me. Even then, the action scenes were corny and the alien world settings unrealistic – but the storylines and the pseudophilosophical delvings into space and time and logic, touched something in my teenage heart. Then Star Trek the Next Generation ran 1987-1994, right during my middle school and high school years, I watched that too. I became a big fan of Captain Jean Luc Picard and his Shakepearan take on a Starship Captain. But there was not a great Vulcan on the show, so I have always been more of an Original Star Trek fan and of course Spock.
It is almost the end of May and the third calendar month that we have been #shelteringinplace and #stay(ing)home. I talked to my sister yesterday and as a nonmedical person she gets frustrated that her neighbors are slowly breaking down those physical barriers, and may increase the spread of COVID-19. A friend traveling to a vacation area. Families now meeting in the backyard. While she holds the line because she has to make sure some important people remain protected. I’m the older sister who is a pediatrician, and I advised her to do what she knows is right. The world will do what it is doing, and we can’t stop the world from going what is it going through – but we should not accelerate it.
CNN and the major news outlets do not stress me out as much anymore. What is happening now in California is what we expected. We closed down early, and our rate of infections was slow. But now sandwhiched between the crazies in Orange County that are going to beaches without masks and our less medically equipped Southern neighbor Tijuana, of course our community will see an uptick in cases. We had thought through various prediction models and I think the Pediatric Infecitous Disease head had said also during one of the weekly lectures, that we should expect things to peak mid June. So here we are, rising slowly and peaking but slowly. We are not the travesty of New York City. But then people will get together like they did undoubtably like this last Memorial Day weekend, and there will be another peak. The second wave will come, and we are all just playing our bit parts.
It has been three years since I transitioned to physician middle management. This weekend was our three year anniversary of our six year term. I texted our group congratulations and reminded them that three years is a long time to do anything. Each of us have earned almost a bachelors degree worth of physician leadership, and another three years to go. Six years would be equivalent to a doctorate. At the three year mark in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can honestly say I would never have traded this leadership experience for anything. It has been a challenging three years, and we’ve had adventure after adventure – but it’s forced me to grow professionally and personally. Sometimes painfully but always worthwhile. I have accomplished and been part of projects I never thought possible, and have been pushed out of my comfort zone and forced to grow as a sentient emphathic person.
Last night our daughter wanted to have a special evening. She is in that inbetween age of tweendom https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-plastic-pickers-thoughts-the-age-of-in-betweenness/. She is a more gregarious person that I ever was, eventhough she is quieter in person. I am very loud-mouthed in person, but truly an introvert. I would rather blog and be home and not see anyone, which is the greatest of ironies because I see patients and parents all day. I actually enjoy work and patient-care and productive meetings, but I think I enjoy those actions because I know I am being paid to do them and like the feeling of competence and progression. If I am not getting paid or accomplishing something that is moving our organization forward, I’d rather be by myself or with my family. Weird I know. I hate socializing for work, and only enjoy our department parties if I get to man the check-in desk which is an odd place for a physician middle-manager.
I strained my hip flexors on Saturday morning. It was a semi-embarassing injury because the mechanism was relatively benign. I was getting ready for a quick plastic picking session at the beach, and was trying to leave early to avoid the COVID-19 crowds. But I sat down too quickly onto the hard concrete step and strained my left hip flexors. A weekend of rest and motrin helped, but it is still somewhat achy on the left. I’m not sure if I will need to use a cane today.
Wouldn’t that be the greatest irony? I’ve talked about sacrifice and being ready to jump into the COVID-19 fray. I’ve posted pictures on my personal facebook with me looking serious in an N95 and facemask and full PPE, and then I get sidelined due to a middle-aged musculoskeletal injury. Mr. Plastic Picker strained his back around the same time. At least we are injured together, and it actually keeps us more home-bound and less likely to get COVID-19. There is always a bright side of things. I am making us seem more middle-aged then we really are! Part of the character I create, but based on reality of course. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are thinking of starting a home yoga program together. I remember buying a DVD years ago from Costco, so will try to find it.
But it is Wednesday, and I was not sure if I would have any items for a Hopeful Wednesday post. I had thought I had skipped an entire month because hope has been rare these days. But looking back on the blogroll, I actually did write a Hopeful Wednesday post two weeks ago https://drplasticpicker.com/5-6-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/. That was very reassuring. I am generally a happy person and it would worry me if I was feeling that hopeless for more than two weeks.
Dr. Plastic Picker is similar to other pediatricians. We tend to be a more liberal minded democratic leaning demographic. We tend to vote for children-centric issues, which means more funding for education and more funding for social services. I do believe in the social determinants of health, and that large structural inequities need to be addressed. And of course Dr. Plastic Picker thinks Big Oil and Big Plastic need to be reined in to prevent the plastic pollution assault on our oceans.
But I also believe in free will and responsibility. I was raised in a very different definitely more conservative Republican leaning family and community. I remember going off to Boston for college, and a close family friend had predicted that moving to Cambridge would change my political leanings which it did. I became more liberal. But in Cambridge, being a Democrat in local politics was actually the most conservative option and there were actually communist on the ballot which I found very disturbing.
by drplasticpicker (with daughter Plastic Picker’s help)
Parents are cooking more meals for their children during COVID-19 quarantine. We have continued to do well child visits for kids that require vaccines, and several parents in my practice asked me for breakfast ideas. I think the combination of more inactivity due to quarantine and more screen time, has worsened the pediatric constipation crisis and widenened the pediatric fiber deficit. In addition, when we are scared to browse through the grocery store – I think parents are falling back on more processed foods and that as you know leads to Taste-Bud Dysfunctionhttps://drplasticpicker.com/taste-bud-dysfunction-lets-dial-down-the-salt-and-sugar-in-snacks/.
Nothing profound this morning. It’s 552AM on a Saturday, and I am grateful for my fresh cup of coffee. The Upcycled Presidential Bird House is still bringing us great joy and the birds are singing outside https://drplasticpicker.com/five-plastic-free-things-that-weve-accomplished-during-stayhome-covid-19-quarantine/. I’m beginning to identify the different species and their bird songs are distinct. I never realized hummingbirds have different songs. I thought they didn’t have a song since they always seen pre-COVID-19 busy franatically beating their wings. But during this quarantine I’ve seen a hummingbird rest on a tree and I have learned to identify their distinct singing.
Today is a big day for our family. Our oldest is in ninth grade and taking his AP Computer Science exam today. The picture above is a silly collage of screenshots I took last night, while he was relaxing downstairs in his room. I was playing with our puppy but more to distract myself from worrying about our son. His exam is at 1pm today, and Mr. Plastic Picker is working from home to make sure our son logs in on time and everything goes as planned despite the abbreviated exam due to COVID-19 quarantine. The exam is an hour long and online, which is different than other AP exams in years past. But despite the abbreviated nature of the exam, it is a big day for our family.
Mr. Plastic Picker and I met in collage and proceeded to live an idyllic life of students in love. We were always very frugal and were raised with similar values, so we would go out once a week to the same Korean restaurant for over 10 years at the same table with the same waitress and ordering the same dish. Otherwise we mostly just ate simple dinners in the University Dining Hall and would take walks around Boston. We watched a lot of movies. And then at some point, it was time to have kids and we had our oldest when I was in between Intern and Junior year of pediatric residency also still in Boston. I remember sitting with the Chief of Pediatrics, this lauded figure in academic medicine who had published many front-page articles in Nature, and he asked me to be Chief Resident – and I was honored and accepted but also told him I was pregnant.
I was sitting on a giant Snorlax waiting for my daughter to finish her nightly routine, and for me to tuck her in. She is taller than me now, and I was half asleep petting our fluffy black small dog. My daughter came out and laid on the floor, and watched me pet our dog who is really her dog. And I woke up and looked at her and I said, “If I had known you when I was twelve, I’m not sure if I would have been your friend?” My daughter looked a bit taken aback. I continued, “I think I would have been jealous of you. You are so nice, so smart and pretty and I think I would have only been your friend if you liked Star Trek.” My daughter smiled and said, “That doesn’t make sense because I’m half you.” She is used to my nonsensical comments here and I had had a tiring and frustrating day at work. She proceeded to tell me about her day. She is generally a much quieter person than I was at the same age.