August 2022 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Month: August 2022

Can hardly see their faces, so I think this picture is ok?

August 12, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Yes! I’m blogging while taking the PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) Pre Course Assessment. It’s an every 2 year course that most pediatricians take, and all trainees take. Since it’s been almost 19 years since I graduated medical school – this must be the 9th time right?

I’m right now on Section 3 on question 8/29. Since it’s the pre-course assessment, I can toggle back and forth between blogging and answering questions. So far so good.

But I really wanted to take this morning while I’m on my PALS journey again for the 9th time, to use a play on words and think of the real PALS in life. This week has been one of self-reflection. I’ve been asked and asked myself, what if I was asked to lead again? And the honest answer is, there has been a silence from the other side and I now realize that it was meant to be. I think initially I was a bit hurt, but now I know it came from a place of love. I was honest and open about my burn out, and why I chose an alternate path. I’ve blogged about it at least 700 times. I realize now that when I articulated my hurt, that I was listened to. And those that were higher than me with responsibilities, understood and have left me alone. Sitting here taking PALS for the 9th time. I truly appreciate it.

I was with my daughter at her physical yesterday morning, and I chatted with her doctor and my friend. My daughter’s pediatrician is the remnant of my Assistant Boss times, the one that I’ll keep in contact with. We talked about my daughter, and in general my family’s health and I had a stark realization yesterday. The kids are healthier since I voluntarily stepped down from Assistant Boss. I’m healthier. And I think as evidence from this blog, the earth is healthier. I took time for myself yesterday and visited my brother’s family, and laughed with my nephews and my sister-in-law. We ate carbohydrates and knew that was part of a our healthy life, because we were creating food memories yesterday. And I didn’t do that before. The way I’m wired at work, is that when I commit to something I commit with my whole heart. And honestly 90 fractious pediatricians to love with my whole heart, was breaking it. I couldn’t understand why sometimes when my whole goal was just to make everyone’s life a little bit better by reducing after hours shifts and managing the part-time doctors and trying to find the perfect schedule for everyone, that sometimes folks would lash out. Or at least I felt they were lashing out at me. Those comments still hurt, and I’ve dealt with it and just put distance between myself and them. Now that I have no official position, it’s easier.


one of the possible slides.

August 6, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

There was an important lunchtime regional meeting I needed to be at. I had to mentor the family practice residents and was mentoring also one of our premed Eco-America interns on our climate and art project. I was a good doctor in the morning, listening to my patients – some of them I have known since birth. In my new office in the new hallway of the clinic I have worked essentially my entire general pediatrics career, I’m allowing myself time to practice the way I think pediatrics should be practiced. I want to fundamentally heal children and families and that means taking time. The residents too take time. They deserve teaching and my consideration, as does my premed student.

But the only one I can control is myself, and my own time and my own efforts. This is partly why I’m satisfied to have finished my 5 years as Assistant Boss and not be beholden to anyone outside of my clinical duties, which I’m paid for. But in that balancing act and trying to get patients in, I didn’t finish into well into lunch. The regional meeting I wanted to present the #fightfor1point5 divestment talk finished early. I did get the opportunity to talk to our regional leads and review some of my thoughts.

My confusion today and yesterday is – will it really be just one slide? Will one slide or 5 slides be enough? I can put the rest of the slides in an appendix for sure, but is it really going to be that easy? I actually think it might be, because that is sometimes how great change happens. It’s the tide of history and the arc of collective human thought that bends toward justice, toward right – and I just happen to be within this tide this arc of history. It feels like the world knows what it needs to do. I don’t mind being the one to bring the proposal up. Everyone has leant forth some advice and basically said these big decision makers have just a few minutes to hear us, and keep it short and your request simple. But is divesting from fossil fuels really that simple? My request is simple, but it’s huge.

But perhaps it’s because they’ve been thinking about it too. This has been brought up before and in a more contentious way. I realized now I did dodge a big bullet by doing it my way. My son calls it weaponizing cuteness and working within the system. You can’t burn the entire institution down, and it’s not in my collaborative nature anyway.

So I’m here this morning and going to proceed with other projects and I need to do our taxes and be a volleyball mom this weekend. But I’m still confused but oddly think that this is meant to be. It’s probably going to take just one slide and the weeks I spent on my thought process and talking and preparing, was probably meant for my own growth and not to be showboated in front of others. That would be the greatest irony, because I was ready to talk and to change hearts. But the hearts were always there. And that is the beautiful thing about being open to nature, to emotions and to love – you see those hearts and can recognize it in others.

I still think I’m going to include this slide though. I just love it.

My opening slide.

August 5, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m choosing to be brave today. My eco-avatar me and the real me, that holds a position and a job. I have been working on this powerpoint for the last 2 weeks. It was mostly me sorting through my emails and messages from others, and collating my thoughts and furthering my understanding about fossil fuels and the importance of divestment.

My body was tired yesterday, but I realized after reflecting how much I had grown in my understanding of fossil fuel divestment and how involved I’ve been in this at the state level and nationally. My emotional fatigue and brain fatigue was well earned. I shut it off last night, and found a new sweet (but not too addictive) early 2010 K drama to watch. I slept deeply last night. When I do real impactful earthwork, that it what happens.

I posted around social media and the Facebook groups about the talk that I am giving. It’s more for me to remind myself to be brave in this work.

On our internal MD Facebook group, I was open and honest. And the positivity is real. The camaderie is real.


the slide that was funny.

August 1, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m still trying to process it all. It was such a beautiful day yesterday. Michael Tran who was our leader back in our undergraduate days was the Co-President of the Harvard Vietnamese Association and Director of RYSE, Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment. Mr. Plastic Picker and I had been involved with BRYE, Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment. Both had largely served the Boston Vietnamese refugee community back then. Dr. Michael Tran organized a reunion for Harvard Vietnamese Association alumni in California. A lot of people came. I mean A LOT!