April 2020 – Page 2 – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Month: April 2020

Gardening is a great way to establish a sense of progression.

It is the 5th week of essential lock-down for our family. We started social distancing prior to the general order in California and our city. I had been following the COVID-19 MD Facebook groups closely. Before most were social distancing, we had cancelled our early March vacation and cancelled Mr. Plastic Picker’s parents trip to New York. Thank goodness, as New York is now the epicenter of COVID-19. California has done remarkably well, but even with hundres of thousands of cases averted and thousands of deaths prevented – we have many dissenters. Probably there are not many, but they are taking up a sizeable share of the blogsphere. I had a high school friend post on facebook COVID-19 misinformation. I replied but didn’t have the energy to have a prolonged facebook discussion. I ended it with let’s just be grateful that we in California are doing okay.

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Lettuce watered by collected rain water.

April 12, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It has been a wet spring in Southern California, and our rain barrels have been overflowing. The country is still under COVID-19 quarantine orders, but I have been gratified that this blog has seen an uptick in traffic – hopefully providing everyone with some entertainment. This has motivated me to keep on writing. Anyway, our rain barrel makeshift collection system caught 395 gallons of water yesterday. My mother-in-law will use it over the course of the next few weeks to water her garden. Her garden is truly a work of wonder where in the normal sized front yard she is able to yield enormous amounts of lettuce, kale, onions, tomatoes, lemons, and different varieties of squash.

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Kitchen of our new likely rental home.

April 11, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I’ll be blunt here. Physicians are not for the large part good stewards of their own money. Physicians often think other fields are easier than our own work. I hear this a lot. Some of my colleagues think there is easy money in real estate investing, yet rarely do those same people have actual real estate outside of their primary home. It’s kind of a minor insult to true real estate professionals, just like a parent telling you they could drain an abscess better than you could with a sewing needle and exacto knife.

To actually support a middle-class or upper-middle-class family solely through the real estate boom and bust cycles of the market is not easy. Like performinig surgery, real estate investing requires a very specific skill set. It requires negotiating, managerial skills interacting with skilled laborers and tenants, having good accounting skills and being able to take on financial risks. You need to know about the specific tax laws, termite inspections, cost by the square footage of decking material and on and on. It also requires time and focus and attention to detail.

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This was something really to be hopeful about.

April 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

There is much to be hopeful for Wednesday. In the end we will never know what the death toll would have been if we had not #flattenthecurve and #stayhome. But as an outpatient MD following along, I do believe it would have been in the order of 500,000 to 1,000,000 lives lost. We still have at least a month left of mandatory quarantine, but we should recognize that the community accomplished many hundreds of thousands of lives saved by pulling together already. I thank our state and local leadership for putting in shelter in place orders early. It has been a remarkable thing to see how well California has done. Still a lot of work to do, but this Golden State, that embraced our immigrant family even before my birth and formed me as a person, has made me so proud. I have always and continue to be even more so proud to be from California!

With that, there is hopeful news for the environment. I wanted to highlight today how the practice of medicine can be more sustainable after COVID-19. We have learned that we can practice effective medicine and environmental stewardship. I apologize for skipping last week’s Hopeful Wednesday post. I was feeling down last Wednesday, but today I am happy.

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Our kids repurposed old socks and did a puppet show for us. They are taller than us and teenagers, which makes this even more remarkable. Their grandmother’s old bandanas were such an elegant backdrop.

April 6, 2020

by drplasticpicker

This blog series is monthly. This month I am 5 days late. Forgive me as there is this thing called a pandemic going on. But in all seriousness, I am so happy to be forced to write a non-COVID19 post. When I started this blog called Dr. Plastic Picker, I really wanted it to be more about Plastic Picker – but it’s become more about Dr these days. I try to deny it, but I am one and am doing my due dilligence these days to be a competent one. In fact, I held the On-Call COVID Pediatric walkie-talkie for our large outpatient building today. I decided my code name is Dr. Spock and I asked the nursing manager to call me that when she needed me. This is why this series is so important, because it keeps my tangential brain on earth and not in outerspace. This series keeps me accountable for making real changes in our lives that are good for the environment. I am responsible for reporting out monthly 15 changes that I have made in our daily lives that help the environment.

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I think my friend Chris would have thought this picture really funny.

April 5, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Chris was my anatomy lab partner during our first year of medical school. We had the right side of the cadaver of a 90-something-year-old woman, and across from us was Felipe and Andrew. Felipe was the son of a Nobel Prize winning chemist. He was always a more morose soul, and would disappear after class. He made it through and I believe is an internist in New York. Andrew was very slim and handsome, and dated a fellow student who was beautiful and smart. They broke up before the Residency Match as they were applying in very competitive fields. I believe the beautiful girlfriend is an ophthalmologist now. Andrew stayed at one of the teaching hospitals as an academic specialist. It is ironic because he used to talk about the stock market and money a lot.

Even before medical school, Mr. Plastic Picker and I were already together and had been dating for 3 years in college. We were planning our lives together. I studied harder in the last few years of college so I could attend the same medical school as Mr. Plastic Picker. Life worked out. He was initially a year ahead of me at school, and when I was starting my first year of medical school – he purposefully took an extra year of research so that we could be in sync during our training. He was having a relatively relaxed time driving around putting on event monitors on volunteer study subjects with varying Bostonian accents. His lab was studying the effects of air pollution on cardiovascular events. He was there to support me, and talk me through the first year.

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Beautiful Tree. Art by our daughter.

April 4, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It is good to have a rhythm to the month, and blogging has given me this structure in life. There is a world-wide pandemic going on, but let’s leave that somewhere else for a bit. I did pick up ocean bound plastic at the beginning of the month so at least I have something to report out for March. Now that I am reviewing my notes, I was really doing a lot of litter picking at the beginning of March – and I’m glad I did because for various reasons that everyone knows, there was not much litter picking or beach cleaning from mid month. I expect April to be really nothing since the beaches are closed. I think I could do it safely, but I don’t want to set a bad example and someone copies me and doesn’t wear the right protection and then gets sick. Dr. Dear Friend https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-goes-to-the-aap-national-conference-in-new-orleans-and-tries-to-use-less-plastic/ is cleaning her office, which is a great idea for April. I’m thankful for this blog series, because I’m accountable to report out to our readers even if the total is 0. This is the entire purpose of this blog! I have to be accountable to you and the environment.

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