COVID-19 Surging, Everyone Wants to Interview the Trash Weirdo Me, and I’m Thinking About Moving to Hawaii
January 5, 2021
COVID-19 is surging in the great United States of America. Between seeing patients and talking on the phone with families and catching up with them, I realized the common thread to all of yesterday’s conservations is that we are all living in this grim historic moment of COVID-19 infections and deaths. In pediatrics, we expect to see the wave of MIS-C (Mulitsystem Inflammatory System in Children) soon that occurs in about 1 out of 6,000 pediatric COVID infections and earily presents like Kawasaki’s disease. Our other Assistant Boss whose name rhymes with bong sent out a reminder to update our order panels with the labs that we have to order. I will do it today after the Pediatric Infectious Disease lecture at 8am. I didn’t give away some of my evening after hour clinic shifts for the next two months, because I know I need to be in the trenches with everyone else. So I’ll have my order panel ready as well.
It’s bad out there especially for our adult colleagues. Dr. Jill Gustafson posted on her personal facebook that the morgues are full in our area. She has a better handle on the adult medicine situation because she is connected to many doctors that work in adult medicine. In general pediatrics, we are still seeing our baby physicals that need their shots and I’m honestly telling my teenagers unless they are due for vaccines to come in Febuary or March. If they are scheduled I am certainly not rescheduling them. But if they ask my opinion as their pediatrician, I tell them the truth. I’d rather see them in February or March after the wave has crested and crashed, and we see what is left of the world. It’s sad, but true. I am ever honest on this blog.
When the wave is coming, what can you do? I don’t think they will need an outpatient pediatrician anywhere near the adult ICUs. I try to do my part to prepare for the after COVID-19 surge which will be the repairing of our society, especially the parts that were weak and essentially broke during this surge. Community, schools, mental health, and the planet. The strong parts of our society will hold, and that includes those families that had the buffers of relationships, strong families, wealth and living in less polluted areas. But seeing how certain families fared, makes me emboldened to strengthen our society for everyone. This absolutely cannot happen again. For those of us that are the “lucky ones” who are now vaccinated and our children are in private schools with fast WiFi and have extra food in our pantry and plenty of bamboo toilet paper or those golden bidets – we should all absolutely feel a sense of guilt and burden to make sure next time there are not the haves and have nots. There should be just us, the United States of America a more equal society.
Every day I kind of wake up and try to figure out what to do to help save the earth. The plastic pandemic is the next pandemic to deal with, and that is insidious as well. Yesterday we did our monthly donations and honestly I know that is the most impactful thing I do, donate money strategically. Just $150 through the Rainforest Trust preserved 40 acres of Rainforest in the Philippines and 12,000 mature trees. That project works to preserve a biodiversity hot spot. I forgot to tell the children about this month’s donation. Usually we decide together, but this month I was anxious to get it done before I became distracted by other things.
And today I realize that I have committed to three interviews as Dr. Plastic Picker. I finished the KevinMD podcast interview which will deploy later this month. Then I was invited to be the January Climate Advocate for the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health. I just replied to their communications expert. I did also commit to speaking at UCSD Family Practice Residency Program to talk about Climate Advocacay and clean air, and have connected one of their faculty with our Public Health Advocacy Committee where we are working on local climate initiatives. Oh, and I am going to be part of my sister’s monthly podcast interview Life At Anchor (which is just us talking). I’m looking forward to that the most. I figure it’s my job to make some noise and raise climate awareness. I thought my job was just to pick up trash and make trash art, but if people think I’m interesting – than so be it. I never figured as a Crimson University grad to the fifth degree that I’d become nationally famous for picking up trash. But I’m honestly proud of picking up trash, because to me it just makes common sense. I’m at the beach anyway and the trash is going to float into the ocean, of course I should pick it up. So I guess I’m famous for having common sense, which sounds good to me. Maybe I should change my Instagram handle to Dr. Common Sense?
Something that happened yesterday which is impactful is that I modified the talk I gave to the UCSD PRIME HEq program for my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. They are doing an environmental module/journey on clean air. I had to work yesterday so prerecorded the talk. I had given that talk a few times, so just recorded it in one sitting. I’ve since listened to it twice, and it’s pretty good! It went over well yesterday per my daughter. I am honestly piloting that talk and that model on our troop, and now feel brave enough to branch out. I spent $148 ordering patches for San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air, and I’ve already put out the word to a few patient families that if any youth groups want a clean air and health talk – that either I or someone in our troop can give it. And we’ll give them a Fun Patch with our logo! We purchased 100 Fun Patches so it means I have to reach out to 100 different youths.
So that is it. Those are my climate thoughts for the day. I made a quick vegetable side dish that went well yesterday and filled my family with plastic-free fiber. It was just shallots, frozen green beans and precooked carrots sauteed with some oil, garlic salt and I put that Trader Joe’s Everthing Bagel seasoning. It was good, and it made the frozen pizza and bagged salad dinner seem more home-made.
Oh and I’m thinking of moving to Hawaii. Not our primary home. But buying with some dear loved ones a second home in Hawaii. The prices are actually really good right now and we have saved so much money because we don’t buy plastic things anymore or prepackaged experiences and don’t care what people think about how we live our lives (other than our effect on planetary health). I’m justifying it because if we live partially in Hawaii, we will fly there and buy carbon offsets and actually probably stay there for at least a month at a time. It will be our early retirement plan. If you are my patient, don’t worry I’ll get your kids through 18 years of age. I have always loved Hawaii, but I think I will love it more now because I love the beach. I can go really early every morning and pick up trash. There is always plastic to pick up, and why not in Hawaii? I’m really somewhat tired of the vape pens and the beer cans here in my college beach town. I think the plastic pollution in Hawaii would be different. And we’ll have a extra bedroom and the kids will be grown sooner than I want, and what I am supposed to do? I’m going to be very lonely when my children grow up as I think you will be also when your children grow up. I can pick up trash anywhere and I can make trash art anywhere. I can certainly do it in a two bedroom 2 bath soon to be completely renovated condo in Honolulu. I told just a few dear friends about the offer we put it for the condo. And someone asked me, do you know anyone in Hawaii? I looked at them and said, OMG I am Asian. I belong in Hawaii. Actually all of us belong in Hawaii even if you are not Asian, as all of us belong on this earth. As long as we live on it lovingly and with a sense of community, I think we will be welcome. And if the kids aren’t using the second bedroom, and I happen to be in Hawaii – I welcome you as well to my guest bedroom. As long as you promise to pick up trash with me and eat imperfect vegan food.