Hopeful Wednesdays – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Hopeful Wednesdays

My happy place.
I love love our house in Northern Virginia. Really nice pavers.

May 27, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It is almost the end of May and the third calendar month that we have been #shelteringinplace and #stay(ing)home. I talked to my sister yesterday and as a nonmedical person she gets frustrated that her neighbors are slowly breaking down those physical barriers, and may increase the spread of COVID-19. A friend traveling to a vacation area. Families now meeting in the backyard. While she holds the line because she has to make sure some important people remain protected. I’m the older sister who is a pediatrician, and I advised her to do what she knows is right. The world will do what it is doing, and we can’t stop the world from going what is it going through – but we should not accelerate it.

CNN and the major news outlets do not stress me out as much anymore. What is happening now in California is what we expected. We closed down early, and our rate of infections was slow. But now sandwhiched between the crazies in Orange County that are going to beaches without masks and our less medically equipped Southern neighbor Tijuana, of course our community will see an uptick in cases. We had thought through various prediction models and I think the Pediatric Infecitous Disease head had said also during one of the weekly lectures, that we should expect things to peak mid June. So here we are, rising slowly and peaking but slowly. We are not the travesty of New York City. But then people will get together like they did undoubtably like this last Memorial Day weekend, and there will be another peak. The second wave will come, and we are all just playing our bit parts.

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Bag #193!!! Recycled a can too. Can #249!

May 20, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I strained my hip flexors on Saturday morning. It was a semi-embarassing injury because the mechanism was relatively benign. I was getting ready for a quick plastic picking session at the beach, and was trying to leave early to avoid the COVID-19 crowds. But I sat down too quickly onto the hard concrete step and strained my left hip flexors. A weekend of rest and motrin helped, but it is still somewhat achy on the left. I’m not sure if I will need to use a cane today.

Wouldn’t that be the greatest irony? I’ve talked about sacrifice and being ready to jump into the COVID-19 fray. I’ve posted pictures on my personal facebook with me looking serious in an N95 and facemask and full PPE, and then I get sidelined due to a middle-aged musculoskeletal injury. Mr. Plastic Picker strained his back around the same time. At least we are injured together, and it actually keeps us more home-bound and less likely to get COVID-19. There is always a bright side of things. I am making us seem more middle-aged then we really are! Part of the character I create, but based on reality of course. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are thinking of starting a home yoga program together. I remember buying a DVD years ago from Costco, so will try to find it.

But it is Wednesday, and I was not sure if I would have any items for a Hopeful Wednesday post. I had thought I had skipped an entire month because hope has been rare these days. But looking back on the blogroll, I actually did write a Hopeful Wednesday post two weeks ago https://drplasticpicker.com/5-6-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/. That was very reassuring. I am generally a happy person and it would worry me if I was feeling that hopeless for more than two weeks.

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Mr. Plastic Picker wanted to spell Jettygland. We did not give it to him. Our beloved Scrabble Board, we will likely keep forever now.

May 6, 2020

by drplasticpicker

We are almost 2 months into COVID-19 quarantine, and there is positive news for the environment. Flamingos blanket the mudflats of Mumbai and turtles are nesting freely on empty beaches. Initially I thought these reports were overblown, but I’ve seen the increasing number of backyard birds and my sister describes deer and racoons taking over her Virginia neighborhood. Dr. Plastic Picker has to be careful with these posts, because hope for the environment has to be balanced with compassion for the human lives loss due to COVID-19 and repercussions of the downspiraling economy. So rather than celebrating the financial losses of the cruise and airline industries, I focus on the secondary environmental benefits of all of us living through a time of scarcity.

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Did you know there is an app that can identify plants???!!! This is a cabbage!

April 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

We are in the middle of unprecedented times, when much of the world is in quarantine and COVID-19 is a menacing danger. I am sitting at home in Southern California, and most of my department are not doing any heroics. Most outpatient pediatrics is doing virtual visits. As Dr. Plastic Picker, I don’t know when I can return to the beach to start picking up plastic again. As Pediatricians, we don’t know when we will return to seeing face to face patients or what medicine will be like after this is all over. We are blessed that for the most part children are doing okay. Rates of respiratory illnesses are down because kids are not swapping germs anymore, a side effect of quarantining. Even with New York City still in the midst of a true crisis and the rest of the country is anxiously watching to see if the curve truly flattening – I still have hope.

It’s easy for me to have hope, because I have not been asked to do much. I have tried to help as much as I can but it seems woefully inadequate in comparison to the sacrifice others are making. I have helped distribute a few thousand masks, tried to make sure my little corner of the medical world is flattening the curve, and continued to have the environment on my mind. But I have hope because from great hardship the world can change. It sometimes takes momentous challenges for us to reach our true potential. Personally for me, the greatest times of personal growth have been after great personal and professional failures. So I am hopeful that we will make a better world post COVID-19.

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This was something really to be hopeful about.

April 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

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.

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Peach Tree with beautiful blossoms. Hopefully after COVID-19 there will be delicious fruits to enjoy.

March 18, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Wow. I just finally sat down at about 340pm and starting this Hopeful Wednesday post late. I usually have this series ready to go by Tuesday night but it has been busy, to say the least. I only worked this morning and saw mostly virtual patients (which means telephone appointments). Then I got home, ate lunch and took a nap. Mr. Plastic Picker is still toiling away at the hospital.

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French Press coffee. We can change. No more single-use Keurig coffee pods.

March 11, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I start these Hopeful Wednesday posts usually a few days earlier, and add bits and pieces of good environmental news that I see over the week. I never know what the actual Wednesday will bring. This Wednesday morning I had thought we were going to be hiking in the Grand Canyon and having coffee at a local lodge there. Instead, COVID-19 happened and I was able to get an almost full refund on Hotels.com and I’m pretty sure Razelle who was behind hotels.com chat box is now an Instagram friend https://drplasticpicker.com/covid-19-and-curtailing-travel-razelle-m-from-hotels-com-helped-us-save-over-345/. Instead this morning, I am sitting at home and Mr. Plastic Picker is making his first coffee with a new small French Press that is plastic-free and sharing a cup with his mother. We will go on a hike this morning when the kids wake up.

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Our Squeezy Gear Model is still using the Squeezy Gears! She is so cute and her mother is one of our young pediatricians.

March 4, 2020

by drplasticpicker

What a night! Last night was Super Tuesday and the Democratic primaries were super exciting. This is a nonpartisan blog, and trust me I have close family and friends all over the political spectrum and I heart them all. But I posted a picture of Mr. Plastic Picker and myself on Facebook from a recent wedding last night with the “I Voted” Facebook Frame. We looked like the well groomed law-abiding fiscally conservative but socially liberal couple with the caption, “We voted! Mailed in our ballot. Voted for the earth and against sprawl and for a Democratic party that has a big heart and a big tent (insert emoji picture of tent) that will embrace a common sense/common values and a return to decency.” Lots of likes. Mr. Plastic Picker eschews social media, but when I showed him the post he said, “I look really good.” And indeed Mr. Plastic Picker you do look really good and so does the world. Despite the panic regarding COVID-19, which had even me taking category of my pantry https://drplasticpicker.com/covid-19-do-we-have-enough-food-random-thoughts-on-food-supply-and-food-waste-as-the-world-panics/, there is a lot to be hopeful for.

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5 pieces picked up by one of our drplsticpickers! She was on vacation and picked up 5 pieces. Beach cleaning can be quick and easy and part of your routine.

February 26, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It has almost been 6 months now since I started this journey when I wandered onto the beach, and saw all the plastic. I just started picking up the little pieces and getting some exercise, and I began to see more clearly myself and the earth. Almost 160 bags of ocean bound plastic and over 600 salvaged items later, what makes me hopeful are those around me. Six months ago I wanted to retreat from the world after having splitting tension headaches from work and my back pain and foot pain that kept me from running as much as I used to. As nature healed me, I then saw how damaged our natural environment has become.

But as I grew in awareness and began to really see the plastic and the earth, I have also now seen the beauty of our human community.

The little children who submitted pictures to our drawing contest. Daniela, aged 11, who drew the stunning turtle that adorns our Dr. Plastic Picker Reusable Grocery Totes. A high school friend who donated his graphic art skills to help with the Vector files I needed for the bag. My sister who designed our logo. Dr. Dear Friend who has been here since the beginning and encouraged us to pick the next big clean-up date, which will be April 25. RN Plastic Picker who is as dedicated to reducing ocean plastic pollution as I am, and cancelled the single-use plastic water bottles for our clinic meeting. Done! The growing community of >500 Instagram litterpickers, ploggers, plalkers, zero/low wasters, and cigarette butt-pickers who encourage each other to clean our environment. A vegan anesthesiologist, a pediatrician who is a lover of bunnies and whose daughter studies wetlands, another pediatrician who loves butterfly bushes, a pediatrican/photographer who will lend us his studio for a big project, mommy friends who lend recipes, and on and on.

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Dr. Plastic Picker and Dr. Dear Friend strike again! We brought our own mugs to the clinic coffee cart.

February 19, 2020

by drplasticpicker

We are getting there. I am at 153 bags of ocean bound plastic collected, 590 items salvaged. I have written 133 blog posts and 134 Instagram posts, and have passed 450 Instagram “followers.” The Instagram is more for fun and motivation and I am not seeking more Instagram friends, but somehow everyday there are more. About 200-300 people click onto the blog every day, so some folks are seeing the less-plastic-please help ocean plastic-pick message.

But what gives me hope are the tangibles, the changes that I know are happening in the real world. I know I picked up a lot of plastic, and I know that we are close to getting our organization to agree to bring in Eco-America training to our HMO. I see more and more reusable coffee mugs and water bottles at work. We actually cancelled all the single-use water bottles for all the MD meetings, and will just send a reminder out for everyone to bring their own water. We also changed our lunch order to half vegetarian, and for everything to be in large trays and not individual plastic clam-shell containers anymore. That way there is less food waste and less plastic waste in general. And a father in clinic told me his daughter’s school has asked all parents to avoid single use plastic items and moving toward zero-waste lunches.

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