Physician Wellness – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Physician Wellness

Cow’s Creek Physician Rescue (CPR)

November 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and we are home home. In our Southern California home. I have to work today normal clinic and Saturday 830-5pm. It’s extra duty on Saturday and my obligation of being part of our physician group. I get paid overtime. I don’t give away my shifts anymore. I don’t even know why we judge others for giving away their extra duties when others want to work it, but it’s still a thing in our department. The judging. But it’s getting better and I’ve decided that there are few times that it’s productive to render judgement on things like that. There’s Mr. Plastic Picker who is standing in the middle of the tree parcel of our Oregon farm. Over a hundred acres of douglas fir on that side of the parcel, and a healthy stream that flows through it. Both of us, and all doctors, we’ve been judged our entire careers. And sometimes the judging and punishing is inflicted by eachother. It’s an institutional and professional history that dates back centuries really. It’s no use blaming any one person or institution, but it’s important to understand how deeply rooted it is in our professional culture.


Now you’ve seen my son’s feet.

October 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I hate the term Servant Leadership. Someone gave me the book entitled servant leadership. I never read it. I understand the concept. But you can’t hand someone who is rising in leadership who is a young woman and from a minority group who is part of the “model minority” and who is from an ethnic group that has been fighting imperialism for over a thousand years a book entitled “Servant Leadership” and expect me to thank you.

Indeed, I’ll tell them now emphatically and honestly “NO THANK YOU.” Indeed, I haven’t really read any leadership books yet I’m a leader? I’ve never read a book about how to be a daughter yet I’m a daughter? I’ve never read a book about how to be a mother, yet I’m a mother? I think this leadership journey of mine is working out just fine.

Indeed, I’m kind of busy cleaning up the earth right now and I don’t have time to read books that don’t naturally interest me if the earth doesn’t lead me there. I did read a good novel this weekend, and yes it was a romance novel and there was no bodice ripping! LOL. It was one of those tame Julia Quinn ones. Did you know she went to Crimson University too?

I had written some blogpost in the last week but took them down. They were well written but weren’t, how do you say it, helpful. But it helped to express my frustrations and now they are deleted.

And today I just wanted to say that I’m continuing to work for the earth and for children’s environmental health. Too many projects to explain them all here. If you want to know the nitty gritty, just join our committee at the American Academy of Pediatrics or San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air! I have to update on those venues anyway, so I don’t update everything here. One of our interns Riley Gilbertson and I are speaking at the San Diego City Council meeting on Wednesday and then we have a presentation on Thursday. We are working on a leaded avGas project. AvGas stands for aviation gasoline. In a sense, we want the propeller planes to stop passing leaded plane farts! LOL. That is hilarious. Let me try to make a funny graphic.

OMG this is so funny.

And that is all. I love this blog. It gets my creative juices flowing! LOL LOL LOL LOL.

And this is what my children really do in their new funny outfits.

Weird? It’s ok! Dr. Plastic Picker, mommy-approved. March to the beat of your own drummer people! Be no one’s servant!!!!
Someone creative already created a logo for what we all are – EARTH AGENTS.

September 3, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I was talking to one of my teenage patients regarding some adolescent/teenage issues. The teenage years are rough for many. Your wisdom teeth grow in odd directions, sometimes your emotions and your relationships as well. Don’t even mention certain parts of your body! But something powerful that I have repeated throughout the last few years and that I believe in my heart when I look at them across the exam room is “You don’t have to be fixed. No one needs to be fixed.” And that I realize applies to myself as well.

This journey in plastic picking for some odd reason has been very powerful and transformative to me. It’s allowed me to take risks and to explore and to get out of my preprogrammed doctor career. But I was thinking after meeting up with old college friends this past week, is that none of us need to be fixed. There was nothing wrong with the previous me, other than being in a swirling morass of circumstances a few years ago that almost broke me. It changed me, but the previous me before deserved to be treated with respect and love as well. That I felt I wasn’t and bullied and not supported, that is not my fault. I survived it, and survived other things. Just like all of us will go through life circumstances that are hard and difficult. And that it forced me to change and look inward for fulfillment and affirmation of what is right and wrong, does not mean the previous iteration of me was incorrect or bad or wrong.

It’s been a pretty heady and amazing week. We had amazing climate wins that hopefully will help things reverberate nationally. Change happens at the grassroots level. I always have several people approach me after talks and I know that I’ve inspired them in some way or other. I never sought that role, but I realize that by being honest and loving to myself – I am just showing others that we are all pretty amazing people.

Something wonderful I’ve learned about myself, is that I prefer to be collaborative rather than judgemental. I never sought positions where I had to judge, and we all do have to judge at some point. But I’d rather mentor and grow people. I’d rather support than punish. I don’t think I could go back to the former role.

Beautiful glazed ceramic vase my daughter made at summer camp.

August 7, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s Saturday morning at 630am, and I have a cup of green tea beside the computer as I’m clicking away. How I came to blogging at 630am with a cup of tea (no sugar and no cream) versus 4am with a cup of coffee (lots of sugar and non-diary creamer) has been a two year journey. It began with a bag of trash along the beach and starting this weird Dr. Plastic Picker journey of trying to save the earth. Wildfires are raging throughout the world including Greece and Europe, and near our own family farm in Oregon – but this is the reality of the warming world. I still have hope as we’ve been through this cycle before of wildfires and I committed to a decade of action two years ago. Yet I did not fully realize one of the serendipitous results of becoming an eco-avatar is that I simply came into spiritual and mental balance as a person. The writing, the trash art, and the freedom to explore new facets of my personality has been liberating.

Do you have dreams that are deferred? I never thought I would through climate and health activism reach for those dreams and form new ones. But when one faces the existential crisis of climate change and realize how bad it is but then realize how joyful it is to try to avert disaster, then that is the magic combination that helped me just reach for my dreams deferred. I decided to not compromise and waste time on middle-management nonsense but instead try to focus on the meaningful aspects of my work work. I’ve focused on the vaccine committee portion of my work-portfolio and brought my passion there, and have had local success. I bought with a family member a farm in Oregon and that 197 acres with the eagles soaring above and the view of the southern cascade slopes covered in Douglas Fir which I know will be sustainable harvest because we are stewards of the land- gives me so much joy. We are hoping to go up there is the air quality is okay in a week. If not, we will wait. I decided that as a physician I am enough, and to work on my own issues and explore my wellness journey and also Mr. Plastic Picker’s wellness journey. I rant and rave about middle-management, but he is middle-manager too. And he deserves a wife and life-partner that is present and there for him. And my just being happy and joyful and laughing with my family all day long, is something that spills over from our family to our siblings and our community.

Life is short but these days for me the days are gloriously long. I was watching Dawson’s Creek (yes I am still in my phase of loving Joey Potter and Pacey Witter and their romance) and Joey tells Dawson in one episode, that as a writer he gets to live life twice and how amazing is that. And in this blog, I get to live those dreams deferred not just once but twice.

Not bad! My mother-in-law trimmed my hair. I probably need to go somewhere to get it layered. Oh well.

August 4, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m pretty pleased with myself this morning. I made our local AAP newsletter, the local news outlets, and also likely it will be publicized on the HMO internal news. I played the generic pediatrician accepting the plaque for California HPV Vaccine Week. The entire process was serendipitous and fun. I stood really still in the background and smiled, and I pretended I was on a TV show. Which I kind of was. I knew my place and my role. Really it was for the politician to shine. I was happy and smiling, and shook hands. I said my piece, I think well, but in a generic way. I was the generic pediatrician and I had a great time playing that role!


LOL. Best kind of bananas to made banana walbut bread.

July 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

LOL. That’s an awfully witty blog title Dr. Plastic Picker. How many clicks do you think it will garner? As this blog is non-monetized and completely for my own amusement and to keep me on track on my environmental advocacy, it does somewhat matter. The HMO Family Practice residents are descending upon pediatrics today and I am making vegan banana beer bread with coconut oil and extra dash of cinnamon and extra splash of vanilla extract. I even added in some coarsely chopped walnuts, I was feeling so fancy. I used one of Mr. Plastic Picker’s fancy IPA beers for the recipe. It essentially cost me nothing as I had all the ingredients already and a lot of overripe bananas.

All mixed up.

I referred back to this recipe on this blog but used just bananas and not mangos. I also bought a bag of fancy granola from Costco. Otherwise these days instead of spending $150 on meat-filled breakfast sandwhich box from Einstein Bagels, I just made it simple. I just contribute when asked and do what brings me joy which was grabbing something simple at Costco and averting foodwaste and doubling a recipe. Half of this bananas beer bread will stay home, and half will come to clinic for the residents.


New space in the home.

June 14, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I created a little seating area on the 2nd floor balcony off the game room. It’s a balcony that overlooks our backyard and I can see the amazing container garden and outside living area we’ve created on the concrete parking pad that used to house the Honda Odyssey Minivan. Selling the minivan was overall positive for our financial bottom line because it was an extra car we did not need and helped avert some carbon emissions, but it ended up having a cascading effect in our lives that we never imagined.


Living my litter-picking dreams. No room for bullies.

June 6, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I was having a conversation with a wonderful person the other day. We talked about wellness and physican burnout, and just catching up with eachother in life. But even wonderful people (including Dr. Plastic Picker) sometimes we have comments and snippets of conversations that are not helpful about others. I used to be a culprit. I’m not sure if I was worse than others, but certainly party to it too. Everytime I talk to this particular person or think about about 4 pediatricians in our group that came from the same department before they reached our HMO, I am reminded what a culture of bullying does to a group of young physicians. I am not sure what was exactly going on at the local children’s hospital in town in the emergency room, but it was toxic. Toxic enough that we had a mass migration and mass attempted migration of pediatricians into our HMO. We needed per diems at that time, but not that many phyisicans. As is with the nature of things, some we hired. Some work part-time. And some went on to other cities and hopefully went on to have solid careers.