September 2020 – Plastic Picking Round Up
October 6, 2020
Yesterday morning I was in the state of FLOW. The creativity and the environmental work was flowing. I organized multiple projects for San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air, AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health, and various work projects. And then the real world intruded, and I had a full slate of patients. It was a good day, but emotionally draining due to one interaction. It’s interesting how the chaos in patients’ lives spills over into the lives of their doctors. As pediatricians we try to put up professional barriers but when parents delve into conpsiracy theories and choose not to vaccinate their children and put their children at risk – it’s one of the few things that can make any pediatrician irate especially if that young baby has fever. Yes ma’am, I’m telling you to go to the ED or a nearby urgent care clinic during a pandemic because your baby can be septic and at least needs blood work, urine cath, and a COVID test since you are not in our service area right now. Your baby may need a spinal tap, and it’s your own damn fault and the Lord help that baby that did not chose to be born to these set of parents. Did I say those words out loud that every pediatrician has thought? Of course not. But the irritability I’m sure comes across in my tone when the parents go off onto different tangents. As a pediatrician, it’s very important to stay focused when you are dealing with sleep deprived newborn parents that are crazy enough to believe the anti-vaxers. Yes I want high patient satisfaction scores, but I more want to make sure that baby does not die. I have realized afterwards that those same parents were suffering post-partum depression, actively using drugs, undergoing spousal abuse, homeless, or maybe just experienced some sort of trauma in their former home country and now has an inherent distrust of all large government-like systems (which includes the medical establishment). I in no way blame parents, but I deliver stern advice as I know my hair is grey underneath my monthly hair-dye. Ma’am, do you want me to call you tomorrow and check in on how you are doing on my day off (I of course did not say the last part)? Angry reply and tears, “I’d like to hang up so I can call those numbers that you gave me.” So my words had the intended effect to make her semi-panic and seek care and not sit on that fever for another 24 hours. With true sincerity I said, “I wish you the best of luck and please drive carefully.” Anyway, it’s frustrating right? I got home and some of that irritation spread to our dinner time as we were trying to throw pasta together and not get take-out. The kids were trying to tell me about their school progress, and I listened but not fully. I’ll ask them again about it today.
These moments are important, because it reminds me how stressful life is for my colleagues. I’m realtively seasoned and know the answers to most of the clinical scenarios presented, as much of medicine is pattern recognition. My kids are bigger now. They don’t need to have diapers changed and can bathe themselves. Our tween and teen are self-sufficient that I feel incredibly guilty when I hear how difficult distance learning has been for others. I don’t usually work full days because I have administrative time and other responsibilities that can have their own frustrations, but at least provides some variety in my day. But at the end of yesterday I saw a beautiful person I had not seen in almost a year. Between our growing department and so many far-flung offices and then her pregnancy and the pandemic, this young pediatrician has been living her life in a clinic 15 miles away. She was working with us at our clinic down south just last night, and was quietly composed. I recruited her, or I think she found us? Anyway, she was one of my favorite hires in the last three years. I was just happy to see her.
So the Flow was interrupted by one interaction, but Dr. Plastic Picker is flowing again. I’ll be flowing at home working on projects for work and the earth. I’m waiting for a shipment of things from Sustainable Republic Shop https://sustainablerepublic.net/ my favorite zero-waste store. They run a farmer’s market stall, and sell on-line. They are litter-pickers too. Trying to reduce plastic does not have to cost money. But as a splurge to myself, I bought for $100 everything I’ve been wanting to try for a year. Beeswax wraps for our daughter to use in lieu of saran wrap. Soy candles in reusable glass jars that can be returned for 20% on the next order for our daughter. Vegan Dishwash Block with boar-hair wooden brush and pot scrubber in lieu of dishwash soap (which always comes in plastic and made with palm oil) and plastic sponges. Shampoo bar for my hair in lieu of plastic shampoo made again from palm oil that threatens the orangatangs. Wool dryer balls with cute sloths and pandas in lieu of fabric softener sheets. Although I just read online that one could use tennis balls as well? So cool. The order was shipped yesterday and I’m excited!
So here are my totals for this month!
23 Bags of Ocean Bound Plastic Pollution
137 Items Salvaged
|Regifted to RN
My litter-picking skills really helped in the lunchroom yesterday. I just see when things are out of place. I call it my “litter-picking gaze.” I was micro-waving my lunch (left-overs filled with veggies) and I saw an iPhone and in the lunchroom on the chair at the corner. I checked the iPhone screensaver. It was one of our RNs and her husband. I went into the RN telephone room and returned the item to it’s owner. She was so happy I found her phone! Dr. Plastic Picker HMO Middle Manager Local Litter Picking Pediatrician to the rescue! I also put soymilk in the fridge for everyone’s coffee. Vegan milk – baby. And below is the most interesting thing I found this month, a traffic light that I made into a turtle. I’m still working on her.
Click here to read last month’s August Plastic Picking Round-Up https://drplasticpicker.com/august-2020-plastic-picking-round-up/