October 2020 – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Month: October 2020

Making Huckleberry/Blackberry Pie Bars helped me think through my presentation.

October 22, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Two unicorn-like things happened yesterday. I made Huckleberry/Blackberry Pie Bars from scratch, and I convinced fellow middle and upper managers to provide flu and HPV vaccines at our “flu tables.”

When I was in 8th grade in Junior High, we took US History and for some reason I was assigned the project of making a colonial-era dish with huckleberries. My partner for this project was also a fellow student from a immigrant-nonEuropean background. We had no idea what huckleberries were. This was well before the internet. We used blueberries. The dish did not turn out quite what we expected. I always had this nagging question, what were huckleberries? I stored it in the back of my subconscious for the next three decades. I honestly thought the recipe probably didn’t work out because huckleberries were likely more like a cranberries, or maybe they were more of “nutty” or a savory berry.

And then one of my close highschool friends now lives in Montana, and placed on facebook a picture of his huckleberry bush and I was amazed! There was the unicorn ingredient that I had always wondered about. There was the mythical food that separated me from being truly American, and understanding colonial history. My friend dropped off a tupperware with about 1 1/2 cups of huckleberries and sent a recipe via Facebook of a suggested recipe. His wife is a nutritionist, so I take his food recipe suggestions seriously.

A few days passed, and I kept on thinking about the huckleberries. Presentations. Work emails. COVID-19 Pandeimc. There are things that get in the way of the things we want to do it life. But yesterday morning I had a pressing presentation on HPV vaccination efforts in our HMO, and needed to convince power-brokers outside of pediatrics to lend me some resources. I had slept on the presentation a few nights and visualized all sorts of storylines for my presentation. Sleeping I thought about it. Plogging I thought about it. I talked about it with Mr. Plastic Picker a few times. RN Plastic Picker had already done her part of the presentation, and I had about 7 minutes to fill. I had the right audience that was virtually captive, and I needed to make it worth their while.

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AOC playing Among Us live streamed on Twitch, reaching over 400K youth including some voting age. My kids were so excited that a young charismatic congresswomen was in their space and talking to their generation.

October 21, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I was feeling pretty good last night as I was going to bed. I even started this Hopeful Wednesday post early. I wasn’t sure if I would need the Hope. But I got up this morning and checked CNN, and there are historic floods in the country of my ancestors. People have died. Crops have been submerged and ruined. There will be hunger. The village where my mother’s family has lived at least dating back to the 1400s if not longer, will be submerged with sea level rise. Our village is vulnerable to climate change. Further thousands of miles upstream, China threatens to damn a mighty river, and that will result in catastrophic environmental disaster as fish will die and the river will begin dying. This river is as mightly as the Mississippi. And multinational corporations are dredging already the river banks for the high quality sand that they use to make concrete.

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Huckleberries from a dear friend. All the way from Montana!

October 19, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Did I really get into a vaccine debate on Facebook with the COVID-19 Pediatric Group? Yes I did. I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut. I left my comments there because they are actually really important. Someone was complaining about pharmacies giving out flu shots to kids, and I disagreed. I think kids should get their flu shot wherever they are available, and I think they should get other vaccines as well. Sometimes when I shoot my mouth off, I’ll go back and delete comments. But I left these up despite the controversy. And those that feel the same way as I do and are looking at the “big picture” in terms of vaccine rates need to see the comment. But I MUTED a bunch of the repliers. Wow, gotta love Facebook that you can MUTE people. The crux of the issue is that some pediatricians want vaccines only given in their office. I get it. They are actually reimbursed quite a bit for vaccines and well child visits and vaccines are 60% of pediatric outpatient volume. I work in an integrated healthcare system and I don’t need to think about my reimbursements and patient volume. I’m always busy. I do procedures. If pharmacies and dental offices and others give out vaccines, what are pediatricians going to do? It threatens their livelihood and is an existential threat to some of their identity. They believe they are dispensing wonderful advice and care during well child visits. Kids should 100% come in for well child visits. But the truth is they are not coming in for vaccines right now, and they need their vaccines. My take on things is that it’s about the patient. We need to admit when we are supposedly painting things as “for the patient” when it’s really “for us.” I don’t believe it. Then see sick kids! You can start siphoning off work from the urgent cars and EDs. We can start seeing up to 21 years of age. Or stop referring to dermatology or all the specialist, and learn to work up patients more thoroughly for bread and butter stuff. Oh, open up a Headache Clinic! Start training to do bread and butter mental health issues, as we don’t have enough pediatric psychiatrist. Put in implantable birth control. Or go pick up some trash. Trust me, there is enough work for everyone. Their business and livelihood is not my problem. I’m looking at the big picture which is increasing plummeting vaccine rates in the country. It felt so good to MUTE the said person. Flu Vaccines absolutely should be given at pharmacies and I believe HPV should as well, and maybe even dental offices. Why not? If pediatrics can’t survive without vaccines, than what are we? I’m pretty sure we are smart enough and versatile enough to pivot.

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October 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

An Original Poem

Large black plastic shards of a collision

Corner of Law and Mission Blvd, #1 intersection of violent crime

Cleaned and turned over, the plastic a dull grey

Scratches like the markings of a shark or wounds from an encounter

Green Hindfoot is the deep green of a large durable piece

The rat’s foot burned in the beach blaze, the sand welded into the plastic – forever

Red bottle cap eyes

Hello, Dr. Plastic Picker I am your #plastic-rat, plastic creature of your nightmares

I will follow you around the garden wall, under the leaves of your mother-in-laws squash

No one believes you Dr. Plastic Picker. No one follows you Dr. Plastic Picker. Who are you to save the earth?

You made me Dr. Plastic Picker. Plastic Rat of your Nightmares.

Fancy glass container we rediscovered in our kitchen. Will use for the vinegar.

October 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Today’s title is pretty good. Sometimes I even surprise myself! But seriously. This is advice for all my children, patients, premed interns and young physicians that I mentor – don’t do shady stuff. This is more a reaction to other people I have to interact with as an HMO Middle Manager. It’s a challenging role. Sometimes I look around and realize it’s been 3 1/2 years now. 2 1/2 more years that I’ve committed to my term. But I’ve also committed 9 years to helping stop climate change. Now middle manager work is easier because I sleep more and more things are “fixed” like the physician schedule. Plus I’ve realized I can help save the earth in my middle-manager role (I got to early on cancel all our plastic water bottle orders!). I can’t step aside until a group of really wonderful young pediatricians is ready to take over. They are all with young children now, so I’ll keep the seat warm for a few years.

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My almost vegan banana walnut muffin. It was DELICIOUS! Appropriate portion size. Mostly organic. Food waste project as the bananas were overripe! Would have been $3.15 at Starbucks. Plus avoided plastic trash.

October 16, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s Friday and 550AM. It’s still pitch dark outside. My circadian rhythm is definitely in tune with the sun and moon, because I had noticed I had been up at 4am recently. I realized that the time change is coming, and the clocks will reset and it will be 5am again when I now wake up at “4am.” So I’ve really been getting up at the same “time.” Maybe the world should just set the clocks according to my sleep schedule? LOL. Whatever the real time is, it’s in the early morning and the best time of the day.

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A practically new lego set that went to where it belongs. This will make our daughter so so so happy that it is being loved by someone the right age. She had simply been too old when we purchased it. And it sat there practically new for 3-4 years in front of our TV.

October 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

My father is an accountant. When I was growing up I used to count cash all the time, as we totalled things for the family business. I used to come home from college and roll quarters from the laundry machines at the rental properties for fun. I was taught to think of the world in terms of dollars and sense, and efficiency and hardwork and return for investments. I also went to protests for democratic and religious freedoms. I learned early on how to hold placards and march, and use my voice. I learned to love my native country and culture, as it has blended in with this chaotic beautiful country of ours. This is probably why I am who I am today, Dr. Plastic Picker – a pediatrician with some extra discretionary income because I’m fundamentally frugal who loves fighting for the side of righteousness through targeted effective donations. It all kind of makes sense now. We are all products of the unique circumstances of our upbringing. I had a gloriously enriching and stimulating one!

It’s mid-month already and I finally did our family’s monthly donations. The kids are very busy at school with their various projects and activities, so we did not discuss too mcuh at dinner time. They needed time to talk about their thoughts and projects, and Dr. Plastic Picker is my project – and not the focus of their lives. This is how it should be. They have other causes that they care about. They both volunteer with our Children’s Arts Council. But my son is starting to volunteer for a tutoring program for underserved youth on-line. It’s founded by one of his friends and he wants to support him, and he is learning important skills. Our tween daughter is emeshed in a new book series, and have five thick novels to get through. She is in high heaven. She is also in the middle school ASB and going to be responsible for weekly announcements soon, and she has been practicing her public speaking skills in her room. Mr. Plastic Picker is living in his middle-management more upper management now bubble. Dealing with somewhat interesting things but sometimes mundane things that are annoying, but he is happy. I always check in and see how he is doing. And then there is me, chugging away at what I think is important – stopping climate change.

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This are needs compost! But it’s public land so I can’t put it there without getting arrested. I just pick up the trash there for now. I’m going to blow dandelions there later. I think that’s legal?

October 14, 2020

by drplasticpicker

The Aerobin 400 composter is still out of stock at Costco! It retails on other sites for $370, but at Costco it is $299. There is currently a coupon for $75 but it is out of stock. I’m checking every day and I’d rather get it for $225. But I think after the rebate expires, I’ll be able to get it for $299. If I have patience, I’ll save $75 at least. I almost bought it for $325 on amazon yesterday, but Dr. Young-Ho Yoon told me to check the costco site again. The aerobin 400 was available for a hot second, and then the “OUT OF STOCK” image came back on. Anyway, I’ll keep on checking back. It’s providing me some amusement as I want to snag it for a good price. I want to compost but I also know that it’s not good to waste $75 just being impatient. Amazon is a really tricky platform. It made me think I needed $15 compost starter and also a $20 snazy kitchen compost container that looked so eco-cool and stores about 1L of food scraps. So it would have been almost $400. But Young-Ho told me he didn’t get the compost starter and we have plenty of plastic tubs that can hold a days worth of food scraps, so I don’t need that kitchen scrap compost container. This is why I don’t like shopping on amazon. They always make me think I need things that I don’t!

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October 13, 2020

by drplasticpicker

One of my favorite bloggers is LenPenzo. He’s one of the original personal finance bloggers and sometimes writes nonsense and talks a lot about the gold standard. He’s from Southern California as well, and represents a conservative financial and political outlook that I’m very comfortable. I grew up in that kind of culture, although I am more politically left now. It’s hard not to be when you take care of children as a pediatrician in an underserved area. But LenPenzo has been blogging forever and he’s still my internet hero. I stop by his blog now and again, and leave comments. Len’s dad passed away recently and he left a short post on his blog https://lenpenzo.com/blog/id63332-black-coffee-10-oct-2020.html.

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This was the month our daughter and I started container gardening!

October 12, 2020

by drplasticpicker

This post is almost two weeks overdue. I was not really moved to write this post earlier because the secondary environmental net positives were flowing this month. Every action I took this month, seemed to just lead to less clutter in our house, something upcycled or a change that became organically emeshed with my psyche – that I didn’t even feel the need to list it on my iPhone. This blog has alwys been about keeping motivated to make changes for the earth and September I needed very little motivation.

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