Flexing my NO muscle, to exercise my HEART muscle. – Dr. Plastic Picker

Flexing my NO muscle, to exercise my HEART muscle.

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Met this amazing person this week. Alex Nguyen, emmy award winning reporter and fellow Vietnamese-American from San Diego.

September 17, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

It’s Saturday morning and 635am. I’m wearing a brown flowery shirt with ruffled short sleeves that is physically very cooling, and my mother-in-law while chopping some radishes said it was very pretty. I’m going to just blog for a bit, and then plog to the beach. I’ve slowed down my litter-picking as I’m at bag #730 now. I’m not rushing to get to #1000 which has been my goal. I’m enjoying the process and realizing that I’d like to jog a bit more so I can really get my heart rate up more. I am in my mid-40s and staying really active in your 40s is vital to ensure that I live well into my old age.

What’s the point of saving the earth and raising great kids, if I’m not healthy to see my grandchildren and see how the world turns out? It’s going to be an epic few decades to come. We’ve made great strides in combating climate change and personally I’m proud to have had a role, and to continue to have a role. But I’m aware that I’ve done more than my fair share now.

This week was again epic for climate work and environmental health work. We had a meeting of the Public Health Advisory Council (now called P-HACK), of Climate Actions Campaign to focus on our next year’s priorities. We are still going to work on building electrification and active transport, but now going to focus on resiliency. The recent heat waves drives home the point that this is where health care voices need to be at. I’m so proud to be the Chair of PHAC, and the amazing thing is that day I was just a participant. I reached out to the Vice-Chair, and honestly told her that I had almost fallen asleep driving home that afternoon. It was too much. I also had to be at a college counseling admissions meeting for my son at his posh private school, so it would be hard to lead the meeting. Most climate and health advocacy is volunteer. We all have full time jobs otherwise and this is the work of the heart. And the loving Vice-Chair said she could lead the meeting and it went so well. And one of our other PHAC council members is going to be on the panel of a large meeting Nexus, and her beautiful picture is on the social media ads for it. I’m so proud to know them both and to work with them. The other epic advancement is that everything is coming out fine for the Climate Ride that Dr. Sally Kaufman with a little help from myself, is planning. This is to raise awareness about the effects of climate change on pediatric health. Getting approvals and bringing up the proposals took a lot of bravery and persistence. I’m proud to have helped with that. A few more emails, gathering more sign-ups and getting the AAP Banner to fly for the actual day. (Just emailed the AAP San Diego folks to borrow the banner for two free publicity events).

And the I got to meet Alexander Nguyen, who is an Emmy-award winning journalist now with KPBS. He interviewed me for the anti-vaping legislation at Chula Vista City Hall. Our student Laisha Felix had her op-ed published in the Chula Vista Star News. Looking at her letter again, I am so proud of her for finding her voice. Our team did really well, and contributed a lot to the passing of the legislation 5-0. For this effort, it was myself, Dr. Dear Friend and our premed intern Laisha Felix. We were all over the news in Spanish and English, and Dr. Dear Friend brought it home in an emotional testimony that has now gotten her invited to testify at the state level for Proposition 31.

But in all those victories this week for the earth and the children, I learned to say no. I realize I want to run a bit more, and after almost falling asleep while I was driving home one afternoon – it’s not worth dying to help save the earth. It’s really all our jobs. I’ll continue to do it at a sustainable pace, but I need to sleep and exercise to get my heart rate up and healthy past 140!!!

So there are all the things I said politely NO to this week. These are all things that are not required for my job and nothing I’m actually responsible for. And actually, all these things are things that other people actually either get time or paid to do. So I’m not going to do their job if it does not bring me joy. I said NO to a presentation to nursing education on implicit bias. Its an HMO thing and I already lead two big committees for FREE. And I’m speaking at two regional conferences for FREE. And I’ve been of the news gathering publicity for our group at least 8 times for FREE. So to the actually beautiful person who went me the request, I politely said NO this year. They can ask me next year. I said NO to going out with the family practice residents for dinner last night. I already managed their first rotation for FREE. Gave a two lectures for FREE. Helped provide their breakfast for FREE. We even took them out to eat (although I did not get paid). They have faculty that actually I know get paid a lot of money to manage them and since this was my off time and Friday night, I spent the evening with my own children. I love the residents but would not love having dinner with them when my own children were at home. I also said NO to a conference for another peripherally related outdoor events advocacy group. I want kids to get outdoors and this work is important. But I’m actually hyper-focused on climate change and more impactful legislation, and none of the premed interns want to do this project. So I said NO. We are staying on their email list. I said NO to officially joining the physician wellness committee. I can do wellness events without actually being part of the actual committee. Wow, it’s really fun to say NO.

But the reason it’s important to say NO, is so that I can say YES to other things. So this weekend I’m saying YES to exercising my heart. I’m going on a run soon. I’m saying YES to working a shift at La Mesa, because we still have to work and the powers that be that are running the department (well, they are doing the best they can with the resources they have). I actually don’t mind working this afternoon because I’m going to get to see two friends that I haven’t seen in a while. They might call me off though. I’m the most expensive doctor. When I used to run things, I saved the HMO thousands and thousands for dollars. I have email evidence of all that. But no one really cares anymore. But I CARE!!!! So I’m saving myself money by taking care of my own health today! I’m off to the beach to plog!!!

Thank you for following along on the continuing adventures of Dr. Plastic Picker, your no longer burnt out pediatrician who finds the trashy world – fascinating! But let’s make it LESS TRASHY!!!

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