Uncategorized – Page 2 – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Uncategorized

June 28, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? When I began blogging I found so much freedom in being able to write into the internet ether. I remember the first November, I was blogging up to sometimes twice a day. It was cathartic and it meant freedom for me. Freedom to vent. Freedom to create. Freedom to be silly. Blogging is also written in the first person narrative. I am a blogger. I am Dr. Plastic Picker. It’s mostly all about me, even this eco-avatar is still me.

And having that “me” time, oddly allowed me to be the third person narrative at work. I stopped talking about myself as much, because I was finally listening to myself when I was blogging and creating. And now during clinic, I listen more attentively. Being the third person narrative at work, has been life-changing.

I was with a mother yesterday in clinic, who I have cared for through three different partners. I have been the stable part of that mother’s life, the person who cares for all of the children’s medical needs in this complex blended family. Sometimes when families are torn apart and then blended and torn apart again, the medical problems get more complex. Referring to specialists, getting more labs, recommending new wellness classes, talking about recipes and vegetables and screen time – we together are only scratching the surface. But over almost a decade, I’ve been there for them. Even when I myself was going through burn-out and just making it as a young mother doctor, I was there for my patients. My patients never suffered. Adding them on when the schedule was already full. Pausing and taking that extra moment to suggest something new on their road to health. And now that I’m better and able to really listen and be the third person narrative, I realize that part of what families really needed was me. They need me to listen and to witness.

So that is what I did yesterday for this mother. I just listened and I finally understood better what was going on in her life and her narrative. The core of what was the cause of the different partners and the severed families. She was understanding herself. The patient in front of me, the toddler, is just beginning to learn her words. And what she says is filled with emotion and tangents and loose associations. It’s coming out garbled. She needs therapy. And it’s a metaphor for how the mother’s narrative came out garbled and in phrases and sentences and actions over the decade that confused me, and didn’t make sense. But the mother is learning the vocabulary and the words. And then she can teach her daughter along with the speech pathologists and the therapist, so that that child can also clearly express herself.

I listened and took the time yesterday. I didn’t think about the green dots that are annoying sometimes, and remind me other patients are waiting. It turned out no one was waiting and I was on time at that part of the day. I can read body language well being a pediatrician for almost 20 years now. She didn’t need a hug. I put my hand lightly on her right shoulder in comfort. I kneeled in front of my little patient and at eye level, thanked her for coming it and waved good-bye with two hands. And during the visit as we went back to forth in a somewhat garbled patient visit, we figured out the next steps. I said sandwiched in between us trying to figure things out together, “I’m proud of you. My general impression is that you are starting to reach out. You are reaching out and forming your support network. You came today and I’m lucky to be part of that network. I’m proud of you for breaking this cycle of abuse. You will end it in this generation.” What a remarkable narrative I witnessed yesterday.

Using the google tranlsation app, which is only ok.

June 7, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I’m watching this current K-drama that I told my friend Dr. Sandra Gee about. She’s my green pediatric climate friend up in University of Rochester. It’s about an alien that arrived to Earth specifically Korean 400 years ago during the Joseon era. He stays for 400 years because he was stranded due to his fated love, who dies with arrows in her back as she sacrifices herself for him. Of course he is a very handsome alien of the Korean-persuasian. And now he is in our modern time, ready to leave earth 400 years later but waylaid by the reincarnation of his fated love who is now an A-list Korean actress.

The current K-drama is kind of silly, but I like it and I get to learn new korean words and rewatch scenes as I practice the conversations. This sillier K-drama works for me, because it’s not as addictive as the really excellent ones like “Descendents of the Sun” or “Reply 1988.” Those were really really good, just good story telling and better than anything I’ve seen in English. The non-addictive nature of the current K-drama is really good for me, because I went to bed on time and now I’m up blogging. The blog traffic is really going up. I’m not sure who is reading but it’s just me – Dr. Plastic Picker, former Assistant Boss and now just almost full time (technically 80% time) pediatrician doing volunteer climate work outside and showing up where I should.


This was an epic bag.

May 10, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s Tuesday morning and it looks like the middle management meeting was cancelled today. I don’t worry too much about office politics anymore, am I purposefully being left off emails? How are things running? It’s probably my overactive imagination anyway. Many people can be thoughtless, and I don’t think I’m that important to be the target of any political machinations. You have to care about someone to let them hurt you, and honestly thinking of everyone as just part of nature has helped me. You don’t get mad at compost nor at the carnivorous insects that devour a carcass? It’s part of the cycle of life, right? And I honestly think that is true for many human relationships as well. I met a young new doctor yesterday in the program that I used to run, and things were not going smoothly. I had written my workflow out many times when I was asked. It’s funny that I had written out step by step my workflow, and even those that had asked for it – I don’t think ever read it? I found it in my files when I was trying to get the new young doctor settled in. I was there and provided her supports and checked in on her, but it’s not my job anymore. I decided to let that part of life go and I’m forever grateful I did. It’s not anyone’s fault just the system is not running smoothly. The system will sort itself out. It’s not my job anymore.

With that, I’m so lucky to have meaningful work – both my work work and my volunteer climate work. I was a doctor yesterday and saw many patients. Lots of kids with fever and lots of my own patients. With each interaction, I felt I left each family a bit better. I addressed parents concerns, and sometimes I just listened. I shared their burdens. It’s funny how that simple thing can be very hard in the cacophany of our modern world, but it’s sometimes the most important. If I as a doctor don’t acknowledge their illness and their symptoms, than did it happen? I need to acknowledge. I need to witness. I need to be present.


My favorite piece that was already sold.

April 8, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 528am and our daughter has returned from her epic-once-in-a-lifetime school trip. So far no COVID. I had a fleeting sore throat and it’s gone now. My teenage son and I also took a rapid home covid test, which were both negative. It’s a Friday and it’s payday, and this is when I usually do the accounting for the family and the impact I’ve had on the earth.


Beautiful Doctors’ Day Celebration at our HMO office.

April 3, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Life has been blessed in my imaginary world. It seems like sometimes a dream, where there is eco-avatar me choosing wellness and peace and to be fight the existential crisis of climate change. In my imaginary world, I chose to leave the world of metrics and petty office politics and just to live life with joy and purpose. I chose to just wake up every day and think, what can I do today to stop this existential crisis? And in this imaginary world, very close is the nightmare that awaits us if the rest of humanity does not wake up. So who is living in an imaginary world of petty office politics and metrics and budgets, and who is living in the reality of rising carbon emissions and a world still mired in worrying about retirement age? Will there be a livable world to retire in?

It’s been the longest I’ve gone without blogging. There is enough material on the blog for folks to meander and read, and hopefully be somewhat inspired. Forgive my grammatical errors, I do try to peruse back once in a while to correct. But it’s real me, typing fast and furious in the morning at times or slow and reflective during others – just getting some writing practice in and journaling /blogging.

Last week was definitely an epic week for climate work. I’m participating in a panel at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology National Conference on climate change. It’s a really catchy title. Then last week, I worked with four of our interns on their writing projects and other projects. So mostly last week was helping our interns move forward with their climate and health projects, which is really what I’m concentrating on these days.

But just wanted to let you know that I’m here! I’m well. One of my climate dreams came true. A good green friend from the San Diego Audubon Society brought his lovely family to our farm, and took a well deserved rest and vacation there. I’m trying to figure out how to break even on that property. It doesn’t cost me much at all, but it’s financially prudent to figure something out. There aren’t enough truffles to harvest so I’m looking into perhaps a wilderness medicine elective model. For now, since it’s already costing me some money – I’m saving the earth some carbon and my friends’ some money, by inviting close climate friends to stay there for free. I figure we are all connected, and the earth there will feel the love of my friends and nature will guide them in their next step.

A portion of our Save The Date for the Arts Exhibition.

March 17, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Just about 30 minutes until I have to be at one of the dwindling number of middle management early monthly meetings I have to go to. I forget why I ever wanted to be at this particular meeting when I was younger? I think back then the personal dynamics of those older that were in charge was interesting to me, just like sitting in the high school cafeteria as you watch the different cliques walk by and place them in the social hierarchy. But this particular group has lost my interest and I’ve decided to move on to more interesting people and work.

But yesterday was almost too much for me. It was an epic day. Two years of slow work an coordination and ideas flowing back and forth between my office and Dr. AF. #WeBorrowTheEarthFromOurChildren is a reality. The Youth Arts Exhibition on Climate Change was made real, as the art work was displayed and the children artists came and KPBS came.

Dr. AF was interviewed. I was interviewed. Our teenage son who headed the poetry section, and two eloquent child climate #artivists spoke about their work. It could not have gone more perfectly. I’ve rewatched my interview and the other speakers, and the authenticity and the passion and the message that climate change is real and it’s a crisis that needs to be addressed now landed perfectly. I’ve talked so much about the intersection of climate and health, and those phrases came out easily and naturally. “Climate change is a pediatric public health crisis.” “Kids understanding so fundamentally what we adults make way too complicated.” “This is an existential crisis.” “Adults need to do more, the kids showed up.” We could not have orchestrated a better session. But the funny thing, is that it was not orchestrated at all. My email to the group being interviewed was as follows.


Unfinished climate project.

March 9, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s 551am and I’m slowly getting back to a normal schedule. Getting up early and blogging and doing climate projects in the early morning are the healthiest for me. I had a very fun detour into Kdrama binge-watching land, but I turned it off yesterday and went to bed. It was a wonderful detour. But it’s back to trying to save this dear planet of ours.

There is so much to do, but it’s important to make it sustainable and make it joyful. One of the projects I’m working on is just answering questions for a blogpost that will go up on the AAP San Diego website for Women’s History Month. I was invited to submit my profile. I need to take this seriously and do it thoughtfully, because our local AAP has been an amazing force in helping me literally clean up our local area and move climate legislation locally and state-wide.


“Floating weed” from Korea has anti-cancer properties.

January 28, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We all live in our own personal vortexes of pain, grief and suffering. We all have different fears, worries and anguish. It’s hard to be a doctor and it’s hard to be a pediatrician. We live within not only our own vortex, but the emotionally vortexes of our patients – some of whom are very sick. And then there is the planetary vortex of air pollution, changing climate and species extinction.

I’m still plugging along on the climate work. Met with policy people at Children’s Now, which is a California based advocacy group. https://www.childrennow.org/ I had never heard of them before, but was asked to meet with them on behalf of the AAP California State Government Affairs Committee on Climate Change. I was tired and I had no idea who these people were, but I learned a lot. They seem to have a lot of money and resources, and now want to work in the climate and health space. I’m sure I sounded at times inarticulate but I told them about the climate and health space I am coming from, and most importantly I showed up.

Rewild Mission Bay work is continuing and I sent an organizing email out to our friends to get organized because it’s happening in a week. I think we’ll be okay. I talked about this work at the meeting with Children’s Now, and I know it probably seemed unrelated – but it’s about getting projects done. I can only do what I can do from where I am. They have a lot of money and people. I probably expressed some of my frustration. I don’t know what the answer is, but certainly they are part of the answer and I hope they step up. For physicians, we tend to be goal oriented and like to do things. The endless talking gets tiresome.

But talking is important and I know it’s impactful. My talking with the two policy people from Children’s Now was not as impactful. It’s hard when you don’t have a connection with someone and you are meeting on Zoom for the first time. But they are going to start talking to a lot of other climate people. Hopefully something happens. I’m sure they will be in there with the rest of us soon.

But mostly today I’m here on the blog to remember that I have a friend who is really sick. I’m sad. My family is trying to help however we can. This friend loves the earth and is fighting for life. How do you heal? For this friend, it’s through food, love, the earth and believe in miracles. And that is true for the earth as well.

Picture I sent my friend because she loves birds too.
Rooftop garden is blooming with succulents and unexpected.

December 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Merry Christmas to the blog’s readership. My brain has literally been exploding because I’ve been immersed in Korean dramas. I’m taking a break right now but honestly I think it was really good for me. Language function is located in the left hemisphere of the brain mostly, Broca’s area which is associated with speech production and articulation and Wernicke’s area which associated with comprehension. My Broca and Wernicke areas are exploding like the leaves of my succulent rooftop garden after the much needed rrain. I think the Korean part pushed out the Spanish part, and I need to let it dry out for a bit before watching any more dramas. If you need something great to watch, definitely check out “Hospital Playlist” which was recommended to me by my brother. It’s really good. I’m rooting for the pediatric surgeon and his love interest, the general surgery resident to make it long term.