February 11, 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
It’s 533am and I’m up early with my matcha green tea soy latte! Our 공주 (Korean for princess) was selected for the Stanford Invitational Speech Tournament (which is virtual) and is competing today in Impromptu and Declamation. She’s also been selected for the California State Qualifiers which are next month. It’s been a remarkable time of growth and scholarship for her, and we are proud. Reflecting back, this all really happened after we met a certain boy and family and had our family kdrama. I realized she needed an outlet to dress up and get attention, and speech competitions fit the bill perfectly! We are on to a local academic beauty pageant as well!!! Or at least dreaming of one. I have a close patient family friend who had done those pagents as well, and may get back into it and do it with our daughter. The two girls would be beautiful together and get to know each other. I have been a pediatrician for so long especially to some families, and those families know my heart. To be honest, sending her to private school with the social set she is in – sometimes it is exhausting. I’d rather my daughter be friends with my patients with their values. In the end, your friends should care about you and spending time with them should be something that is fun and joyful. If that is not the case, then perhaps they are not your friends. The teenage years are complicated for her, and my mantra – is less friendship drama the better.
But back to my title, “Trash-Talking Pediatrician” – I think it’s really clever! I might use it in my next talk. The truth is I started using minor profanity (only amongst adults) when I started my pediatric rotations as a third year medical student. I was I think 23 at that point. And then I stopped profaning about 20 years later, around the time I became Dr. Plastic Picker. Those that know me in real life in a professional setting, will know this to be the truth behind closed doors when I would get frustrated with others that I felt were missing diagnosis or providing poor care or when I was just upset about this workflow or that workflow. I tried many times to stop the profanity. Dr. Dear Friend know I had a profanity jar where I dropped $1 each time. And it did not work, even with my uber-frugal self!!! But then it magically stopped around the time I became Dr. Plastic Picker! Poor Mr. Plastic Picker started dating a sweet Vietnamese girl and then she became an F-bomb dropper and now he has a sweet environmentalist pediatrician wife now. But it was an unexpected time for him for sure. I think he still has PTSD from those years. It was stressful to say the least. The reason for the profanity was stress, but also someone named Babak Kalantari who I believe is a radiologist now in LA. He went by Bob. He and I rotated together in pediatrics and he LOVED to profane. I mean he LOVED it. And he was so funny. I picked up the habit from him! I’ll need to have lunch with him soon in LA so that I can tell him I finally stopped. I likely needed the release because those 20 years were stressful.
But I was literally a trash talking doctor because the first patient yesterday was a 3 year old well known to me who hugged me. The mother I’m sure is okay with my telling this story. She hugged me and she was cute, and then showed me her hands! She had the tell-tale lesions of hand, foot and mouth and I said “F*&&^” and that is it. The mother looked at me and laughed, and I looked at the child in horror and then laughed. The mother laughed so hard!!! And then the 3 year old was semi-chasing me around the exam room, and I was trying to stay away from her. I semi-changed my clothes and disinfected religiously the rest of the clinic day. We shut down the exam room as well. I think I’ll be okay and otherwise had a long clinic day and added on patients because it was the right thing to do, and closed most of my charts and answered all my messages and did not leave the office until 630pm. I said goodbye to Dr. M who is near retirement and doesn’t leave until the wee hours of the night for various reasons. He has really great music playing though.
So I was literally a “trash-talking” pediatrician because the above is my trash art with upcycled clean medical waste from work, and also I dropped a profanity at a toddler yesterday.
But let’s acknowledge a truth that all pediatricians want toddlers to know! #donthugmewithcoxsackie LOL LOL LOL