Butterfly Garden: I have to plant the seeds now
September 7, 2020
Last night I had an irritating interaction regarding my finances. I will deal with it and the person today, and it will be fine. I am very detail oriented and for various reasons the interaction was the utmost annoyance. But the power of exercise and good deeds is amazing. After that irritating interaction, I joined the family for the National Parks Trekking game, still irritated. I went to sleep last night, still irritated. Woke up this morning, still irritated. Edited some older blogposts while drinking coffee and started this weeks Hopeful Wednesday post early, mildly less irritated. And then I went for an epic plogging run and picked up two bags of plastic pollution and I feel great! I finally ran to a barren area that is mostly gopher holes (which is good because we need gophers right?) and cleaned that area. I also spread a packet of wildflower seeds that are supposed to “Bring Home the Butterflies.”
I’ve been thinking about butterflies lately. My patients, my children, our AAP premed interns, and really everyone – I think of everyone as butterlies. What can I do to save the butterlies? I know it seems nonsensical, but I’m been scattering metaphorical and literal seeds everywhere in order to save the butterlies or at least have a more livable planet. Here are some seeds I planted recently.
- Supported A Girl Scout Gold Award Project: This month I donated $50 to a friend’s daughter who is working on her Girl Scouts Gold Award project on reusable cloth masks with donated old clothing. It’s really an upcycle project. Given that it takes 2,700 liters of waterto produce a single cotton T-shirt, cotton masks provide sufficient protection for the general population from COVID-19 and there has been an explosion of disposable PPE, I felt very good about donating to her project. More importantly I gave her some of my time. She was having a difficult time getting her Girl Scouts Council to approve the project. I sent her several articles on Reusable PPE from Physicians for a Sustainable Future Facebook group. I am hoping she will write up the project later and we can cross-post on the blog. Giving a bit of my time yesterday and $50 to a motivated Girl Scout was a seed that I planted yesterday. Most of the credit belongs to her parents who are close friends, and raising great kids.
- Immunotherapy Foundation. We were approached by this non-profit at work. They want to partner with our HMO to increase HPV vaccination rates nationally. HPV vaccination is a no-brainer. It prevents cancer. I was discussing with the non-profit director ways we could increase the visibility of our joint efforts, and she mentioned free give-aways like sunglasses. I told her honestly that the last thing we needed was more plastic sunglasses. Please remember the sunglasses I found on the beach last fall. https://drplasticpicker.com/drplasticpicker-seeks-your-old-sunglasses-and-prescription-glasses-lets-help-our-patient-breath/ What would make lasting change would be a butterfly garden!!! I planted that seed of a joint environmental project on our HMO grounds. I’d like to come to work everyday and see butterflies.
- Three Premedical Interns. I need to spend today getting each of the three students onto their next phase of their projects. One is working on San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air, and we need to put together a montage video to advocate for Hiring of Environmental Justice Staff for San Diego County. We are cosigners on a petition and working with Mothers out Front. We have five in our group that signed on to be part of the video montage. Pediatricians are very busy so I just need to nag them today to record their video portion. I need to do mine today as well. I may do a dramatic piece where I film the orange haze from my house and talk about clean air and environmental justice. Let me send those emails now to my friends. [pause] Back now, see this blogging is so helpful. I actually looked at the digital amplification toolkit email I got carefully. Pediatricians want to help, but my friends needed a little bit of nudging – so I sent them sample scripts of what they could record. This decreases the mental load for them, and they can concentrate on giving an excellent delivery. I need to do mine as well. I also need to start the email chain regarding the Plant-Based Journal Club that the other premed intern is going to work on.
- My Own Children. Yes there are part of this project, and why I started panicking about the existential threat of climate change. I’m in a good rhythm balancing the environmental work with clinical work, but I was reminded last week that I need to mother my own children. Our daughter is wanting to redecorate her room. We are actually swapping furniture with my mom, and it will end up being better for everyone without hopefully purchasing anything new. We will change over her lightbulbs so they don’t look so yellow. She wants to have regular language lessons with me, as I am teaching her my mother tongue. It’s the one thing that is easy for me to do, and I haven’t fully done it. But we have restarted and she is happy. We also restarted her piano lessons. That was a big moment yesterday because our teacher passed away several months ago. The kids weren’t ready to start with someone new, but we reconnected with our teacher’s former student. She had wanted us to continue with him, and they had their first lesson yesterday. It was a healing day for all of us.
And that is it. Just a quick post that helped me put in perspective what has been going on in my own mind the last few days. Thanks for helping me order my thinking and also working out my frustrations about the previous non-blog interaction. It’s amazing how good it feels to do good while exercising (plogging), and that erases the unpleasantness of other interactions. In addition to spreading the butterfly garden wildflower seeds, I also picked up 2 bags of litter. But of course I did, because I am Dr. Plastic Picker!