Back in October, I attended the American Academy of Pediatric National Conference in New Orleans with Dr. Dear Friend. We were there with a group of pediatricians from our health-care system, and it was a high-yield conference. Part of it was because we actually traveled to the conference and it was a fun destination. We had too much fun attending the lectures during the day, exploring new Orleans at night and also trying to reduce our plastic use! One of the talks we attended was on Pediatric Hypertension.
This is definitely one of those topics that Dr. Plastic Picker is a much better pediatrician now than I was at the beginning of my career. It helps that I myself have gone through puberty, completed a clinical year of pediatric endocrinology, and am semi-successfully guiding my own two children through this process.
This can be both a stressful and wonderful time in life. There is a sense of loss for the littleness of your children. I had this profound sense of loss because I worked so much when they were little. I miss the warmth of those young bodies snuggling up to me at night. The promise of that time would often get me through the long overnight calls or urgent care shifts. Our daughter had a profound sense of loss as well. When her body began changing she said that she did not want to grow up. Our son was very nonchalant about the whole thing, which is true to his easy going personality.
But as I tell my children and my patients, puberty is a wonderful thing because it means the body is working! It means that your hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is functioning as it should and you’ve reached this milestone. If you didn’t go through puberty by a certain time, it would be a medical problem. I would have to start getting blood work, radiographs and maybe MRI your brain. As a pediatrician, I am aware of the dangers of being little as well. You are more susceptible to diseases which is why there are more vaccines when you are young. Little children can’t physically protect themselves as well. So I look at puberty, as a wonderful time that children are gaining bodily strength. They are developing themselves to be adult people. Because in the end the purpose of raising children and protected them while they are young is to get adults, and then they can protect and fend for themselves. And now my own teenagers can get things I need from the upper shelves that I can’t reach! Score!
Today the politicians are again arguing about who is to blame for the skyrocketing COVID-19 cases. But in California, there is a glimmer of hope. We began mandatory quaratining relatively early, and in our community our local leaders have been working together across the aisle to help our homeless communities and provide rent relief to our population. Beaches are closed and our local friends the Police were driving calmly up and down the beach telling our relaxed San Diegans to disperse. I was born and raised in San Diego, and I have a great love for my homeworld (Star Trek reference). In this increasingly polarized world, there is still a sense of civic responsibility and engagement in my hometown. I am hoping this helps us #flattenthecurve. Looking at the prediction models, it looks like we will likely have enough ICU beds for our county. So I am still vigilant but hopeful. I wrote yestserday that the best way I can help, is by doing the job I am qualified to do – a general outpatient pediatrician who middle-manages a department and is responsible for a few actual outpatient clinics https://drplasticpicker.com/be-like-a-tree-during-the-covid-19-cytokine-storm/.
So in that vein, I will be an outpatient pediatrician and give general advice about eczema! This is such a common problem and I hope this gives you some relief since we are trying to keep these “minor” issues at home. But minor issues are important to deal with as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging. The silver lining is Harvey Weinstein and Paul Rand have coronavirus. I don’t wish ill will on anyone, but I hope they have to wait in line at their local ED. I took a vacation day prior to knowing the pandemic was going to happen, as the kids originally had the day off school. The kids are home due to school closures, and I decided to just roll with life and keep my day off. I return to work tomorrow.
But rather than wasting energy and ranting at the poor decisions being made at various central government level or becoming unreasonably upset when I see former premed students on Facebook at weddings when they are doctors and supposed to model #socialdistancing and #flatteningthecurve, I will instead focus on things that are in my realm of control. I will today write about 5 things you should not waste money on.
I promise that I am usually very detailed oriented. If you ask me about how many appointments are needed on any particular day in our department, I can give that to you. If you ask me what my networth is, I can tell you that to the thousands place. I usually know the 30-year versus the 15-year-fixed-interest rate for mortgages on any given week, even if I am not actively looking to purchase or sell real estate. Don’t ask me the adjustable because that would just be silly. Or ask me the Na concentration of any common resuscitation fluid, I can tell the mg/L concentration and if there is Potassium in it. That is because Dr. Young-Ho Yoon used to drill that into me when I was his intern at Man’s Greatest Hospital https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-young-ho-yoon-pediatrian-and-environmentalist-1/. As you know, Dr. Plastic Picker is a fiscally responsible pediatrician and I advocate for everyone to be FISE: Financially Independent so they can Save the Earth https://drplasticpicker.com/fise-financial-indepedence-and-save-the-earth/.
I saw one of my long-time teenage patients recently. Her little sibling had a follow-up appointment and she was just with her family that day. Outside the clinic walls, I exercise my social awareness and skills and do not just blurt out comments. But when I enter our building and I put on my HMO badge, I am YOUR PEDIATRICIAN. I take my role seriously. I even wrote in my HMO on-line bio ten years ago.
“There is no greater honor than being the doctor for your child. I take that role seriously and try to provide you with sound advice and guidance based on the latest medical research, along with common sense. I believe we function as a team (family, teachers, and doctors) to make sure our children grow into productive, contributing, and healthy members of society. I believe in fully vaccinating your children and the power of prevention.”
It is 441AM on a Saturday morning and I am typing away. In about an hour and a half, the sun will be rising and it will be time for me to plog to the beach and pick up another bag of ocean plastic. Daylight Savings time is coming. On March 8 at 2AM, we will move forward an hour and it will be 3AM. That means on March 8, I will likely instead of waking up at 4AM will wake up at 5AM. The blogging and beach cleaning most mornings and the deep restful nights of sleep, has reset my body to be with the earth. On March 8, I am going to be fine just as I was fine the last time our clocks “fell back.”
I am sitting at the kitchen table looking at the first house plant I have ever purchased. It is a “ponytail palm” from Home Depot. Last night, we had to go shopping for our daughter’s History Day project. Her middle school friends are coming over later to have a marathon work session, and we had to pick up supplies. We went to the local Michael’s and Home Depot. As someone who has been picking up ocean plastic pollution for the last 6 months, walking into a deserted Michael’s on Friday night with the light reflecting off all the new plastic and glittery things was a bit discombobulating. I know at some point all those shiny plastic things will become more weathered plastics for me to pick up.
It’s Sunday morning and I usually would go to the beach, but my body is very tired and I am afraid I might fall. I am trying to stay in tune with my body and most mornings I have the energy and the need to go plastic picking. But last night, we had our department party and it was a big success. It was fun to put on the little black dress I wear just once a year and fancy sparkly wedge heels. Mr. Plastic Picker agreed that I looked nice. Mr. Plastic Picker looked very nice too in his blue blazer from Macys. Despite leaving early the fun and the revelry early at 9pm, drplasticpicker is too tired to go plastic picking. Plus I have to work this afternoon at our after hours clinic from 130-5pm. Humans are not meant to stay up late, and the world is not meant to have so much light pollution as humans are partying late into the late. Light pollution is causing the insect apocolypse https://drplasticpicker.com/xeres-invertebrate-society-can-a-pediatricians-avatar-drplasticpicker-help-save-the-western-monarch-butterfly/.
I have been practicing pediatrics for 15 years, and have been a general pediatrician at my current HMO for over 10 years. I have been in the same office at the end of the hallway this entire time. Right outside my office is an old radiology light-box reading light, that I have asked them to leave it there eventhough we’ve moved onto digital images a decade ago because I like how old-school it looks. Sometimes I walk by and push the on and off light button just for fun. I also fished out an old-fashion stadiometer scale out of the supply closet two summers ago and put it at the end of the hallway next to my office (where the hallway ends without an egress) because sometimes the old-fashioned things that have been tried and true work best. I use that stadiometer with its level and weights and tap tap tap until I get the right measurement sometimes, and pull out the metal stadiometer bars to see how tall the kids are. It’s always accurate unlike the digital ones.
The great thing about this blog, is that @drplasticpicker can write whatever I want. And what I want to do is save the earth and the oceans, save my patients and their families, and for everyone to be healthy and equal. Is that too much to ask? One way I can get what I want, is to expound upon the objective truths I know as someone who has been a pediatrician for over 15 years. The cause of a lot of the worlds’ problems is that kids have learned to snack on foods that are too processed, too high in salt and too high in sugar. Processed foods with too much salt and too much sugar lead to Taste-Bud Dysfunction. I have coined a new condition. You, the many toddlers in my practice who are picky eaters . . . Yes You, the teenagers who are prediabetic. Many of YOU have Taste-Bud Dysfunction. Something is wrong with your Taste-Buds that you can’t taste the natural sweetness of an apple or the natural flavor of unsalted food. This is not your fault, it is the fault of big corporations that have fooled at least two generations to think that packaged food is food. Indeed most packaged food is not food, it is junk, and for drplasticpicker – it is also trash that litters the beach.