Dr Plastic Picker – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Author: Dr Plastic Picker

Number of nursing leaders reached in discussing climate and health.

January 13, 2022

by drplasticpicker

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.”

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Thank you to Family B.

January 8, 2022

by drplasticpicker

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.

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We have multiple bunkers spread throughout the country. Our Virginia bunker. At least there is water.

January 5, 2022

by drplasticpicker

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.

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Bag 608 and 609!!!

January 3, 2021

by drplasticpicker

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.

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New coffee (no I mean matcha green team soy latte!) table for my rooftop urban succulent garden.

December 29, 2021

I was a bit worried about my total plastic pollution bags total, but I’ve caught up. I’m at 9 bags today, and still a few days left. I’ll easily be able to get at least 15 if not 20 bags. But of course you are not really here to hear about my plastic pollution bag totals, right? I’m at bag 584 by the way. You are likely here because of my provocative title?

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My Plastic Picker bought it for me.

December 27, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’ve been in a cultural, linguistic and time warp. Lets just say I was in an alternate universe that was absolutely beautiful. But I’m back. Mr. Plastic Picker really loves me and really loves that I loved the K-dramas. My conversational Korean is definitely much better after so many hours of Korean-TV. I realized that as a young immigrant to this country, Mr. Plastic Picker is so Korean, and I’m definitely more what we call a 1.5 generation. He used to do and still does so many of the things that the characters in the K-dramas do. The way we used to sit on the floor of our medical storm to eat dinner with a small table. I thought it was so odd that my Korean boyfriend/fiance had these multiple containers of pickled dishes and go-chu-chang. But now I realize that so many of those things that he did and still does (like all the side dishes we have in the frdige) are indications of how rooted he is in his culture and traditions. I knew those traditions and we mostly follow them, but because I’m not Korean – I thought some of them were quirks of his family. I have always adored my husband but now he’s my living Korean-drama boyfriend!

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Rooftop garden is blooming with succulents and unexpected.

December 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Merry Christmas to the blog’s readership. My brain has literally been exploding because I’ve been immersed in Korean dramas. I’m taking a break right now but honestly I think it was really good for me. Language function is located in the left hemisphere of the brain mostly, Broca’s area which is associated with speech production and articulation and Wernicke’s area which associated with comprehension. My Broca and Wernicke areas are exploding like the leaves of my succulent rooftop garden after the much needed rrain. I think the Korean part pushed out the Spanish part, and I need to let it dry out for a bit before watching any more dramas. If you need something great to watch, definitely check out “Hospital Playlist” which was recommended to me by my brother. It’s really good. I’m rooting for the pediatric surgeon and his love interest, the general surgery resident to make it long term.

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My mother-in-law planted this a few years ago.

December 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s the week before Christmas. I’ve honestly been in a Korean-drama haze. I’m watching a lot of dramas but at the same time I’m learning so much more Korean and also reliving moments in my life as a daughter-in-law to a Korean family. I’ve tried to be a dutiful daughter-in-law and it has not been always easy, but watching the dramas and seeing the echoes of our own lives in the traditions that are explained is helpful to me. My children and my mother and everyone thinks I’m in drama overconsumption mode, but honestly this is something I need to do for myself to deprogram some of my thought processess that I had over the last two decades. I affirms many of my values that I’ve held close to my heart, but are continually questioned by others around me. I’m happy and it’s keeping me off social media mostly anyway.

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Just a gift from the HMO for Mr. Plastic Picker.

December 19, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m not sure why I am sad this morning. I had a very nice and easy Friday staggered evening pediatric urgent care shift, and got home by 8pm. I used to get in by 10pm with the schedule from the old days. I had the morning to live my life, and got to see the kids and Mr. Plastic Picker off on Friday morning then start work at 1030am. I appreciate that time for whatever you call it, work-life balance, having breakfast, being able to think, self-care. This weekend I’ve been watching Korean dramas still, but I’m done with the last series which was really good. I’m kind of an intense person at times and when I really get into something, I really get into it. Case in point, my 19 year marriage 24 year relationship with my husband, almost at 600 bags of trash collected, acculumating accolades for a resume I don’t need. That intensity I think is important and a reflection of mental health and a soul that is strong.

And I’m not sure why but those intense feelings I’m having are intense saddness still at the middle management meeting we had last week as we were discussing schedules and mundane things. I’ve chosen to be true to myself, and to seek self-awareness and in that awareness I realize how scarred we all are. Senior physicians at meetings saying “we are getting through it, “it’s okay” and platitudes upon platitudes – when all of us know our back stories. A family that was deferred. Relationships and marriages shattered. Meals that were missed. Time. We loss time with family. Many of us didn’t get to see key moments when are children were growing up. And in that loss we all suffered from a medical staffing system that was broken, we weren’t able to be aware of the answers. We weren’t able to see beneath the source of all this scheduling cr@p that was one rogue idea that should have never left the gate. Another true manager that is not a physician or someone with power over our lives that is not one of us, telling us what to do. Why are physicians so scared? Why do people not listen to eachother at meetings? Am I guilty of that too? Did you hear people’s pain? Did you hear the replies that essentially were non-replies?

And most of my saddness were a few phrases that keep on playing back in my mind. I wish this particular meeting was recorded and the replies could be replayed and we could listen again to our back and forth. Perhaps meeting transcripts should be analyzed like Shakpearean verses or passages in hallowed tomes. I think if we dissected our phrases and replies, we’d understand more about why physician burn-out is still a real problem. Why physicians disproportionately get divorced and commit suicide, and why our own children sometimes don’t do well in life because we sometimes work in unbearable conditions. Words make such a difference.

Thank you for continuing to hear my ramblings about life. Here is the beautiful roots of a beautiful gift a neighbor gave to my in-laws. During my now two year foray into gardening, I’ve learned one important fact. The roots of any plant/system have to be healthy. You have to regenerate the soil to grow the roots, and only then will you get beautiful fragrant flowers. That’s the management metaphor I’ll leave you with today. Still at it. So fundamentally well and joyous. Wishing for everyoen the same, and hoping we can heal our profession and the earth at the same time.

Screen-shot of a meeting on oil and gas setbacks yesterday.

December 17, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Sometimes when I go to bed, my mind is confused. It lived through the day and reorganizing things. Too much caffeine today? Too little nature? Did I help the earth? Climate gathering in person or another organizational meeting virtual that also has to do with climate? The day is filled with choices. I chose to speak up at a middle management meeting yesterday. I said my piece which is my truth, and I let it land. Whatever happens may happen, but I was proud of that moment. It was interesting people’s responses to those comments. But I have to speak up for physician wellness and I have a crystal clear understanding of my place in the world, and who I am. I wish that clarity for everyone.

The mornings are clear. The Christmas tree lights are twinkling in our living room. It’s a thrice handed down plastic tree that we love. Nothing new here. All the ornaments we’ve collected through the years, and they are mostly hand-made by the kids when they were younger. We have enough. I have a beautiful tin of cookies someone dropped off yesterday and I am so excited to eat each cookie. They were made with love and the beautiful reusable box with the cheerfull santas I will cherish forever.

And yesterday, I chose my family yesterday and I chose the earth. I chose my family when I spoke up about my displeasure regarding changes in our schedules. Most of the things that are wrong with the world are actually due to inaction or fear. Folks didn’t care enough or were too afraid to speak up to correct it. I have neither. What is there to fear when we have the code red for humanity due to climate change looming? And I have always chosen to act rather than inertia, even when I was at my saddest. I chose to walk toward the beach and I chose to start picking up plastic. I can chose to become a truffle farmer at any time.

And yesterday I chose the earth. There are only so many hours in the day and I thought to myself with all the competing demands on time, where should I go? I chose to attend the AAP San Diego Chapter Advisory Committee as I need to make sure the other pediatric leaders are on board as the climate change and health committee continues on our way. My co-chair is out on maternity leave and it’s important for at least one person to be there. I chose to show up at a virtual lunch meeting with Dr. Marnie Granados, who is co-chair with me of our new AAP California State Government Affairs Expert Section on Environmental Health and Climate Change. We met to discuss AAP California’s further support of oil and gas setbacks. Most of the organization and planning had been done by Drs. Marnie Granados and Amanda Millstein. But I try to document our journey and I am just amazed at how intense we look.