Greetings to New Families to My Practice: Message From drplasticpicker
January 5, 2020
If you have reached this post, you are either a real new patient of drplasticpicker or a sentinent being out there in the internet universe looking for inspiration, free entertainment or were mistakenly directed during an Ecosia (not Google) search on Dr. Pimple Popper. Yes, Dr. Plastic Picker’s name was chosen trying to direct traffic from Dr. Pimple Popper. She picks zits under sterile technique. I pick ocean bound plastic using old bread bags as gloves. We are all doing a service.
If you are a real patient, please remember as I have written before “I am passionate about the environment and children’s health. Here is general advice that is delivered in tongue-in-cheek, entertaining blog format. This is not meant to be definitive and I always ask you to use common sense,” and also if you are MY PATIENT (although most of my patients under four can’t read) “this blog is for entertainment purposes and environmental advocacy only – so please go through normal procedures to contact me at the office through the patient portal” https://drplasticpicker.com/pediatric-advice/
To My New Families, I am so happy that you are joining our practice! Yes I am drplasticpicker and I make Trash Art. Somehow you were lucky enough to make it onto my panel. Yes, I am a very popular doctor and my panel is usually closed. Plus I am in middle management, and I am in many middle management meetings and managing and not seeing patients. Because I do not get to meet a lot of new families, I am actually very happy to begin taking care of you because I like new people and new targets for drplasticpicker’s environmental message. In all seriousness, the other new families are those who met me on those rare Pediatric weekend clinics I hardly work and for some reason we bonded, or I gave in, or you complained enough about your previous pediatrician and I was trying to prevent a complaint for our department – and I gave in. So welcome! Join me, and we’ll have some fun and I will take care of your children.
So this is advice about how we can become a better team to care for your child.
- Use the Patient Portal and Secure Messages: It’s not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. They used to advertise “The Doctor Is Always In.” They took that sign down a few years ago. Anyone with common sense knows A Doctor In Always In (like the Emergency Room) but Dr. Plastic Picker is not always in. But I’m in a lot, and there are nurses triaging messages 24/7. The poor nurses are always in. The patient portal is not perfect, but if it’s an issue that can wait a few hours – use it. Send a secure message and I will try to respond. So much better for the environment and for you and me. I am not making money off trying to bring you in unnecessarily, so if I can answer your questions with a simple email or can just refill something for you – I will. But obviously don’t email regarding urgent clinical things. Use common sense. I cannot write a manual about common sense. Once a few years ago, someone sent a secure message, “My child XXX put a XXX in his mouth and I think swallowed it.” I happened to be sitting at my desk and I happened to have received the message (and it was not sitting in the nurses’ pool) and I happened to have been able to call them back right away and they happened to answer immediately. If something like that happens, call the nurses advice line and reach a real person or call 911. That family was lucky.
- You Have To Make The Effort To See Me, and I will Make the Effort to See You: Life is hard work. Relationships take work. That includes your marriage (I encourage parents to be be married but I know 50% are not) and the doctor-patient relationship. If your baby is a newborn, the first 3 visits were booked with me. After that, we have safe guards that will prompt you to book your next appointment if you forget – BUT it is better if you make sure your next appointment is booked before you leave me. Drplasticpicker is a Gen Xer. I was part of the latch-key generation. We were left at home to do our homework, feed ourselves with ramen/hot pockets/TV dinners and do our own psychotherapy by watching talk shows like Oprah. Oprah taught me a lot about life. I’m probably a big advocate for diversity because of Oprah. This larger than life black woman from Chicago taught me via TV on chanel 10 how to eat sphaghetti, that all ethnic/racial groups can get along with laughter, and that the abuse traumas of childhood will color our lives forever and affect our parenting and how we are as doctors. Anyway, I apologize about the non-sequitor about Oprah! After your first 3 appointments, you have to make sure to see me. I cannot guide you and I don’t take responsibility for things that made you unhappy, if it was not me that saw you. It’s fun to have a doctor-patient relationship. We get to know each other, we begin caring for each other. You will come on time. And I will deliver better care and try to be on time. Remember, the chair that glides nice and twirls in circles is mine. You sit in the safer chairs and I get to sit and glide around the exam room in the cool chair. The sequence of well child visits in the first 2 years of life is 2-3 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 14 months (don’t get me started on why it is 14 and not 15 months), 18 months, and then 24 months (or after you turn 2 years of age).
- My Hours: I am technically part time. I work much more than 40 hours a week, but I am technically part-time. Not only am I technically part-time, I am a middle manager and actually trying to stay true to my mission and help my department. The ones that benefit are the department and the organization (as I do a lot of free work), but my appointment availability is limited. When you see me in the hallway sometimes wandering around putting up posters or talking to nurses, please know I am not ignoring your child. I am actually 99.9% standing there on my OFF Time when I am not getting paid, doing unpaid work. This is the nature of middle-management. But I work in clinic all day Mondays, all day Fridays, and Wednesday and Thursday mornings. I purposefully still work all day Mondays and all day Fridays so that I can be there for the teenagers. If those hours don’t work for you and you are one of those last minute folks who can’t plan ahead, you will unlikely be able to actually get in and see me – and you should chose someone else. If you switch, don’t worry about hurting my feelings because we will both be able to move on with our lives.
- Get To Know My Doctor-Friends: The nature of medicine now is that we are a group practice. Anyone you see in our department is a Board-Certified pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics. They are more than competent to see your child. In general, I have given you the names of my clinic-buddies. If I am not in, please try to see them. I trust them with my own children, and you can trust them with yours.
- No Bribes Please: I spent a glorious year as a Resarch Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. At NIH, the federal government had strict rules about accepting gifts. It was $5. In our organization, I think it may be $20. I still adhere to the $5 rule. You can certainly bring in trays of cookies, Costco-sized mango crates and Starbucks coffee. I will take $5 worth and put the rest in the lunch room. I cannot accept Chargers NFL Football tickets (although they left). I cannot accept Fishing Trips with your uncle in Baja California (but I really really want to because I could pick up plastic on the way). I don’t really need money, because I am FISE (Financially Independent Save the Earth) https://drplasticpicker.com/fise-financial-indepedence-and-save-the-earth/. You will never see me with a Louis Vutton purse and I am always wearing stylish used clothing. Any new outfits I am wearing, my mom bought for me when she saw a good sale at Ross. Even those, I am trying to get her to stop because I am trying to wear second hand. Sometimes I will wear scrubs for weekend Urgent Care clinic. Again I am a simple person, who requires very little. If you would like to give me something, I like non-Starbucks coffee, pictures of your beautiful children is their Halloween outfits or drawings of sea-life. Or better yet donate $1 to the Rainforest Trust and that could right now save 1.3 acres of Peruvian rainforest!
- Please Be Kind to All Support Staff: Everyone is kind to me. I realize most people are to doctors. Everyone is kind to Nurse L. He is phenomenal and we have been a team for 10 years. He usually gets 100% scores on all his nursing metrics and has been to many many award banquets. We both care about your families quite a bit. But sometimes folks are not kind to the front desk reception, the nurses on the phone or to our secretary that calls you about your forms. If they are being unkind to you, let me know – so I can talk to them. Sometimes they are having a bad day. If you are being unkind to them, it is probably because you had a rough day. I tell the support staff that. But please know that habitual unkindness reflects badly on me as you are one of my families and they think “that’s drplasticpicker’s patients” and on our society. We should be all kind to each other. We are all the same. We have member complaint forms that you can fill out that are read and responded to quickly. Use that outlet instead. Put in a drawing if you would like. I bet you that will really catch the nurse manager’s attention.
- Internet Resources: Dr. Google is not a Doctor and not a Pediatricians, and certainly not as smart as Dr. Plastic Picker. I can guarantee you the Dr. Plastic Picker had higher SAT scores, MCAT scores and patient satisfaction scores than Dr. Google. Mr. Plastic Picker did have higher SAT scores and MCAT scores, and he is a specialist specialist and is simply billiant. If it was as simple as googling something, than I would not have had to train for 14 years to do what I do. Yes it took me 14 years at a prestigious institution in Cambridge/Boston to become your pediatrician. I spent an extra year as Chief Resident and two as an Endocrine Fellow, and can tell you the story about how I returned to general pediatrics after I had my premature baby/second child. But Google (or better yet Ecosia) are okay to use. Just come in for further guidance. In general, I recommend the following parenting websites.
- HealthyChildren.Org the AAP Parenting Website: https://www.healthychildren.org is the patient advice website designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Plastic Picker is part of the Amercian Academy of Pediatrics. That is it. I am a general pediatrician who works outpatient. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx
- Let’s Go Childhood Obesity Prevention: This is a great non-profit in Maine that has great resources. Our HMO actually partners with them https://letsgo.org/healthy-communities/prevention-and-wellness/lets-go
- Sleep Training: This is my residency friend. Trust me, he does not make much money off this as he is still a hard-working director of Pediatric Sleep Medicine at Yale School of Medicine and still sees real patients. Dr. Craig Canapari gives great advice. If you are feeling kind toward academic pediatricians, you can buy his book that has been featured in the New York Times and many great publications https://drcraigcanapari.com/
- Non-Website: Actually my best advice is – if you turned out okay and had a happy childhood – ask you mom and grandmother and mother-in-law and your family. Great parenting advice is an oral tradition, handed down from parent to child and can’t be found on the internet. I have some parenting advice here. But most of this blog is again for fun and for the environment.
Wow. That was a super fun post. Here is the other side of Trahy Whale in Blue as of this morning. I have changed her name to Trahy from Trashy, because it is not good to refer to any female as Trashy. Well it is 646AM on Sunday morning, and drplasticpicker is going to go to the cold beach to pick up more plastic so that I can save the earth for your children and for mine. Don’t worry, my children have their grandparents at home and a crazy black poodle-mix puppy to protect them while I am at the beach. Mr. Plastic Picker is at the hospital working, as he is the hardest working middle manager specialist specialist our organization has. He works for free a lot too.