It’s been 6-8 weeks of Korean-drama binge watching on Netflix and the “Asian Crush” app. Yes, I have been in Korean-drama land. The Korean dramas I watched just to name a few were “Crash Landing on You,” “Hometown Cha Cha Cha,” “K2” (that one is so good but there is a scene I would be a little bit embarassed to watch with my kids), “Revolutionary Love,” just to name a few. I honestly know for me this binge-watching was not unlike my previous periods where I was really into an author and binge read certain genres. There was my George Eliot period when I read Middlemarch almost in one sitting in 8th grade. I then proceeded to read everything she wrote. There was the more whimsical Jane Austen period, which I went through at the same time with one of my high school friends. I think Pride and Prejudice back then was $1 on the scholastic book order form? And then was the Clan of the Cave Bear series, where again I would read the new release and then I remember not eating for almost a day and almost passed out when I finally stood up after reading one of the novels. These were thick tombs over 600 pages long.
We all live in our own personal vortexes of pain, grief and suffering. We all have different fears, worries and anguish. It’s hard to be a doctor and it’s hard to be a pediatrician. We live within not only our own vortex, but the emotionally vortexes of our patients – some of whom are very sick. And then there is the planetary vortex of air pollution, changing climate and species extinction.
I’m still plugging along on the climate work. Met with policy people at Children’s Now, which is a California based advocacy group. https://www.childrennow.org/ I had never heard of them before, but was asked to meet with them on behalf of the AAP California State Government Affairs Committee on Climate Change. I was tired and I had no idea who these people were, but I learned a lot. They seem to have a lot of money and resources, and now want to work in the climate and health space. I’m sure I sounded at times inarticulate but I told them about the climate and health space I am coming from, and most importantly I showed up.
Rewild Mission Bay work is continuing and I sent an organizing email out to our friends to get organized because it’s happening in a week. I think we’ll be okay. I talked about this work at the meeting with Children’s Now, and I know it probably seemed unrelated – but it’s about getting projects done. I can only do what I can do from where I am. They have a lot of money and people. I probably expressed some of my frustration. I don’t know what the answer is, but certainly they are part of the answer and I hope they step up. For physicians, we tend to be goal oriented and like to do things. The endless talking gets tiresome.
But talking is important and I know it’s impactful. My talking with the two policy people from Children’s Now was not as impactful. It’s hard when you don’t have a connection with someone and you are meeting on Zoom for the first time. But they are going to start talking to a lot of other climate people. Hopefully something happens. I’m sure they will be in there with the rest of us soon.
But mostly today I’m here on the blog to remember that I have a friend who is really sick. I’m sad. My family is trying to help however we can. This friend loves the earth and is fighting for life. How do you heal? For this friend, it’s through food, love, the earth and believe in miracles. And that is true for the earth as well.
I’m up at my regular blogging time now. It’s been a while. It’s pitch dark outside and the house is quiet. I have my matcha green tea soy latte in a Yeti Tumbler, a gift from the former regional chief of pediatrics for participating in a gun safety pilot program. It’s a long weekend for the kids and they have Monday off, and I somehow managed to remember to take that day off too. The Yeti Tumbler keeps my morning matcha green tea at the right temperature for longer, and there is some sweetness with some sugar – but much less than I used to drink with coffee.
Last night was the first night I did not binge watch K-dramas for the first time. I had spent most of yesterday on and off prepping a climate talk with two of our other green-team MD friends. We had the opportunity to talk to nursing leadership, and since nurses are the most trusted profession in the country and these are decision makers with influence – we needed to show up in their space. We’ve given similar talks in the past but honestly it has to be geared to the right audience, and in the end it’s about recruiting more people into this space of helping with the climate and health work. Making healthcare more sustainable is a big part of what I can do.
It was a tough audience. It’s the middle of the pandemic and the end of a Wednesday, after these managers had already likely put in long days of work. Our country’s nurses and also their nursing leadership have bourne so much of the brunt of this COVID pandemic. The time slot was 4-5pm. I had talked to some of my nursing leadership friends and they had advised, try to inspire us and tell us the why and don’t give us another thing “to do.”
One of my families gifted me with this beautiful orchid yesterday. The clinical circumstances around the gifting and the family identities are obviously personal and protected, but let’s just say it was what is supposed to happen. In our HMO and our country, we should expect to meet at the first visit when you have a newborn baby to meet the pediatrician you will have for most of your child’s childhood. We should expect to respect eachother, and listen to eachother and care about eachother. We should expect you to be concerned and have worries, and bring your own identities to your journey as a parent. We should expect that I am not always in, and that other pediatricians are caring as well. You should expect that in those rare times when you are very worried about this child we share together, that we together will worry together and keep that child safe. And I should expect myself to look at a child, and know them well enough to know that when they have that look on their face that I’ve never seen before and their smile is gone and your smile is gone, that in my gut I know something is wrong. I should expect that I need to know you and your family and your child over years, and that knowing over the years and making sure we formed a relationship helps in those times when someone is really sick. And then we should expect that we make the right decision when that sickness occurs.
It has a huge climate day yesterday. I didn’t expect it to be a huge climate day, but it was. I’ve been doing this long enough to realize that serendipity is so much about climate work. And you have to spark something in someone who has some sphere of influence, and then you can change the world. And that is what happened yesterday in all honestly. I had just shot off a bunch of emails introducing some medical students who are interesting in single-use plastic reduction to our HMO higher-ups. And their California Medical Association resolution draft and their presence and their identities was enough to inspire some more senior doctors. And now the ball is rolling and single-use plastic reduction efforts are happening now in earnest in our organization. I honestly just shot off a few emails and cc’ed some people, and then just prodded to make sure we had at least one student there. Prepared a few power point slides and was there excited about waste audits and actual plastic reduction, and then the power brokers talked and the influencers influenced and the pieces of the plastic reduction puzzle are coming together.
Please forgive me dear reader because I did not meet the monthly bag picking total this month. I usually set out to do at least 20 bags but this month picked up 12 bags. It was December and my need to get outside and reconnect was less this month, because I was reconnecting with the Broca and Wernicke’s area of my brain that controls the Korean language part. I pretty much binge-watched all the relevant Korean dramas on netflix and I’m done now. Yes, I can be a bit obsessive. But I think it’s because my Broca and Wernicke’s area of my brain were on fire. I was even picking up some North Korean words from “Crash Landing On You.” Really good drama, Korean or otherwise, by the way. If you love good love stories without the gratuitious stuff and more of the emotional scaffolidng and traditional values, I highly recommend it. Plus the North Korean captain who multiple time sacrifices everything for the South Korean cosmetic CEO who mistakenly lands over on the North Korean side of the DMZ zone via a freak Wizard of Oz-esque toronado during a paragliding trip is really handsome. Just a big sigh when you think about him, and her, and their entire improbable romance.