FISE stands for Financial Independence Save the Earth. I coined this phrase on New Year’s Eve 2019 https://drplasticpicker.com/fise-financial-indepedence-and-save-the-earth/. Since then I’ve written almost twenty blogs with this term. Maybe if I blog about it enough, it will become mainstream. Did you know that I am technically a Physician Personal Finance Blogger? I am included on Crispy Doc’s blogroll and the requirement is to have at least one new blog regarding personal finance every 3 months https://drplasticpicker.com/the-road-to-fise-financial-independence-to-save-the-earth/. This is an easy requirement for me. Since I am the daughter of an accountant and Financially Independent myself, I think of the world in terms of fiscal responsibility and dollars and cents. It’s just how I am wired.
Today is Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday today! I feel like celebrating more than my real birthday. The day I came into the world, it was really my mom doing all the work. Dr. Plastic Picker’s birthday was my creation. Since I have been keeping track and declared that I am “Fighting Ocean Plastic Pollution One Piece of Plastic At a Time,” I have picked up 272 bags of ocean bound trash and salvagaed 1003 items.
I did not realize what a big deal last night’s climate win was. Solana Beach, a small northern coastal city, passed unanimously a Climate Emegency Declaration yesterday. The Solana Beach’s Climate Action Committee lead Dr. Mary Yang had been working on this with the city council members for months and maybe years. They had reached out to us as healthcare professionals to give comment. Yesterday, I called in with as one of four members of our Public Health Advisory Council for Climate Action Campaigns and gave public testiomy as a pediatrician.
This Wednesday kind of crept up on me. Since we went on a short trip to Palm Springs and returned on Monday, Tuesday seemed like Monday and Wednesday seemed like Tuesday. But the reality is that it is Wednesday. I realized that yesterday and knowing I needed to write this Hopeful Wednesday post lifted my spirits. My spirit is generally good these days, but the California Wildfires and the annoyance of the RNC nominating convention that I’m trying to actively ignore depresses my spirits a bit. But then one of our pediatric nurses sent this image to me of an upcycled trash art piece “Rainbow Fish” that she completed with her daughter. It is indeed beautiful and trash art gives me hope. Because through Trash Art, I have learned to look at the world a little bit differently.
I really wanted to blog about my “new to me” sewing machine. My sister handed it down to me last Christmas. We had a magical family vacation up in Park City, Utah where we were able to be together for a long time. Especially now that our home state and Utah are being scorched by wildfires and I haven’t seen my sister since Christmas, it was a magical snowy memory https://drplasticpicker.com/how-did-our-greener-christmas-go-10-ways-we-changed/. We snow-shoed through Utah’s Aspen forest, and I learned how Aspen forest are one living organism connected through their roots. The forest talked to me that day.
It’s our last morning here in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Forest to mark our small escape from the COVID-19 quarantine. It has been six months and we went for a short 3-day 2-night reprieve to renew ourselves yet at the same time trying to keep safe with social distancing, masked and plenty of hand washing. The desert was pretty empty – Mr. Plastic Picker and I agreed that we unlikely caught COVID-19 here.
We are settled in our first night of a short likely two night stay in Palm Springs. Like most of the world, travel plans the last six months due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic had to be changed. It was the first time in six months we have left the confines of our Southern California county. I felt slightly embarassed about needing to leave, but mentally I felt the entire family spiralling into irritability. Pre COVID-19, we had planned on visiting my sister in Northern Virginia. Our traveling compared to our same-income cohorts in the US is very limited and we spend considerably less just hearing what my friends tell me anecdotally. We usually visit family in New York and Virginia and then stay with them a few nights and drive a few nights somewhere else. We usually take one western US domestic trip as well and maybe every other year one big international trip. But even that amount of traveling is not sustainable for the world. I’ve always bought carbon offsets the last five years, but even that – does it even make a difference?
But we are here now in Palm Springs, an easy 2.5 hour drive from our hom We drove our trusty Prius that gets 50 MPG. I never truly appreciated this area growing up. Being from Coastal Southern California, I wanted trees and history. I preferred Yosemite, San Francisco, and the East Coast. This is probably why I lived in Boston for 15 years. But with age comes wisdom. And I’ve come to love Palm Springs.
It’s 515AM and everything is always better in the early morning. Work has been overwhelming of late. I had this very rare case series of an odd physical finding and I posted it on the COVID-19 Pediatrician Facebook group. I’ve referred these patients to the specialist. If it ends up being anything, I’ll probably try to write it up as a case report for fun. We have three interns now for our AAP Climate Change and Health Committee. I need to find them projects to work on. If it pans out to be anything, I’ll offer one of them to help me write it up. A case series is pretty easy to write up. I’m sure it will get accepted somewhere. At the least, I’ll publish it on this blog and have them do a presentation for my friends. But there are so many little journals out there looking for content, and Dr. Plastic Picker the imaginary eco-warrior me and the real world pediatrician me has a lot of content!
A lot of the “content” in my head or at least the things I’ve been thinking of late has been clean air, or lack of it. A bunch of my colleagues and I advocated for AB345 gas and oil drilling setbacks bill which unfortunately did not pass the Senate Committee. I did learn a lot about the political process https://drplasticpicker.com/ab-345-did-not-fail-politicians-failed-but-pediatricians-are-quick-learners-and-we-rise-up/. There is a lack of advocacy right now for clean air from pediatricians. Although I am the AAP Climate Change and Health Committee Co-Chair and HMO Assistant Boss, I cannot just say whatever I want on behalf of these organizations. The problem with big organizations like those is that we have to be non-partisan. Rightly so, everything needs to go through a vetting process. Those organizations while big and important, are under scrutiny. But as an individual and part of a organic network of friends who are pediatricians who care about the air, we want to move quickly and be able to be able to speak up.
I’m tired this morning. I finished a Middle-Management Power Point Update I have to deliver at 730AM. I worked on it during the weekend, most of Tuesday, and finished it yesterday and practiced. I also worked like everyone else with a full day of clinic. I had an abnormal orthopedic MRI result in and I’m a bit frustrated. I had been up all night worrying about this particular patient and had sent them in for emergent care and specialty consult weeks ago. Now my suspected diagnosis is being considered weeks after the fact. The story is still unfolding, but it’s still frustrating. I texted several people yesterday to put my patient forefront in their minds. Sometimes as a primary care pediatrician that is what we have to do, just remind other people that our patients are important.
Kristin Urquiza gave one of speeches at the Democratic National Convention. Her speech spoke her reality and her truth, that her father died from COVID-19 partially due to the national mismanagement of the COVID-19 response. Her words were powerful and simple. Her words gave me hope because I already knew Kristin Urquiza’s story before it made the stage of the Democratic National Convention.