4-8-2020: Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
April 8, 2020
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.
Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
- Giant Pandas at the Hong Kong Zoo finally get busy! Yes, you heard it right! Two giant pandas living at the Hong Kong Zoo finally did their evolutionary duty and mated. Zoo Keepers had been trying for 10 years to get these two together but they were not interested. Captive Giant Pandas are usually bred via artificial insemination, but the natural way results in much healthier offspring. Finally in the emptiness of the COVID-19 quarantine, those two creatures did something. One of our pediatrician friends who absolutely loves pandas, texted me back “perhaps they had performance anxiety?” My own sister said, “perhaps they were bored.” Whatever the reason, hopefully a few cute baby pandas will result. They will be the true Coronials! https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/pandas-mate-ocean-park-trnd/index.html
- Reusable Protective Equipment: Due to the shortgage of PPE, there has been many innovations with reusing and disinfecting PPE. Aerosolized hydrogen peroxide, UV light, and also the plain old oven in rigorous protocols from Stanford and Duke have been shown to prolong the life of these “disposables.” Perhaps the problem all along was relying on disposable PPE? I was lucky enough to get to talk to Hewlett Packard about resusable face-shields. I hope this will become the norm and not an exception in healthcare. Our litter-picking community about 600 instagram accounts strong has seen disposable facemasks littered everywhere. I’m not surprised, people bag their dog’s poop all the time and leave those bags everywhere.
- Telemedicine: Hopefully healthcare reshapes and is no longer about overconsumption of “needless healthcare” and we can deliver “appropriate care.” This is why I share my wisdom in tongue-in-cheek blog format under Pediatric Advice https://drplasticpicker.com/pediatric-advice/. We would save so much is greenhouse gases if we were able to continue to provide appropriate telemedicine. Eczema, acne, developmental concerns – so much can be done virtually. There is less need for concrete buildings, car trips, and utlization of the earth’s resources. Health care costs were already balooning yet objective health outcomes were not improving. At least more families is our system are signed up for mail-order pharmacy and virtual patient portal.
- Middle-Managers: I am a middle-manager but not truly. I have a middle management role, but fundamentally I am still a front-line pediatrician who works outpatient. It is so important for “administration” and “leadership” to be accountable to those that do the day in and day out work of an organization. I have been proud of our managers and my group, as we have tried to empathetically lead with physician/nurse wellness in mind and overall patient wellness. But the chorus of physician voices in America are angry at their for-profit hospitals and CEOs and managers who have not done a good job during this pandemic. That anger is a good thing. The rise in middle-management has been astronomical and balooned health care costs. As a country we need to look at the bottom line, and rein those costs in. Some of it has to do with too many managers. I think our organization has the right amount. Trust me, I get paid very very little to be a physician middle manager. I would make more if I returned back to clinic. Maybe that is the way it should be. I’m just doing my service for my 6-year-term and then it’s someone else’s turn! Then I can spend more time on the beach. That is my dream.
- Gardening as Medicine: There has been an explosion of gardening. Since the beach and many of the nature parks are off-limits, I have noticed so my litter-picking friends are gardening. On the rare-walk outside, Mr. Plastic Picker and I have noticed our neighbor’s yards are looking spectacular. I have hope as there is more thought that time in the Garden can be preventative for disordered eating/eating disorders. Wouldn’t that be more effective? Have every school have gardening as part of their curriculum? I need to mull this over. But this dovetails with environmental stewardship and childhood wellbeing.
Thank you for following along this Hopeful Wednesday. I apologize for being in a funk last week and missing that post. But this Wednesday I am super hopeful. I am typing at 537AM and it is still dark, but with a nice still full cup of coffee and an hour to continue writing – I am content. I would love to be able to jog to the beach and walk along the shore, but the beach is closed due to COVID-19. But I am content with the writing and the coffee right now. Later today, I will try to meditate with the succulents that I’m propogating with our daughter. Check out the cool new social media icon! I’m adding some plug-ins and sprucing up the site.
Click on here to read the next post in this series and on tax day nonetheless! https://drplasticpicker.com/4-15-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/