5SR - March 27, 2024

Hitha on microplastics, the attack in Moscow, and a morning routine I can get behind

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things (check out the most recent issue). Looking forward to connecting there!

People with disabilities deserve the same dignity and experiences that we often take for granted. This PSA showcased that right brilliantly:

Campaigns like this one are powerful to shift our perspectives. When you couple it with the kind of care Dr. Clarissa Kripke is delivering and building for her patients (along with other physicians and health systems), it gives me hope.

“She [Kripke] relies on staff in group homes — she calls them her eyes and ears — to monitor people's health and their progress on personal goals, like taking more outings or gaining life skills.

It's a level of attention that requires follow up and follow through, or what the doctor calls "hidden work" — coordinating with specialists or appealing insurance denials. Kripke estimates that for every hour of direct patient care, she spends another six on these other tasks — roughly triple what doctors caring for other types of patients spend.

Rather than billing for every test she runs or call that she makes, Kripke charges each patient's insurer or group home a flat monthly fee. She caps her patient-list at 100 people — less than 10% of the lengthy roster a typical primary care doctor manages.”

I hope you make time to listen to the whole podcast (the article is but a quick summary). Scaling Kripke’s work is incredibly challenging and complex, but the benefits are priceless (while lowering healthcare costs long term).

It doesn’t happen all the time, but there are some mornings when I’m wide awake after taking my thyroid medication at 5:30, and pick up my Kindle to continue reading whatever book has me in its grasp. On those mornings, my husband will bring me a string cheese and a latte when I’m still bed rotting before he goes for his workout, and I’m in total bliss.

Like Samantha, this is a hurkle durkle kind of morning, and as I write this, I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

“I drink my coffee and I scroll Reddit. I watch the night before’s Abbott Elementary and I make myself a real breakfast that I don’t have to share. I snuggle under a blanket and I only turn on one light, padding around my living room so I don’t wake my family upstairs. Sometimes I journal (I know) and a lot of times I go outside in my bare feet just as the sun is coming up and I stand in the grass of our backyard littered with naked Barbies and broken bubble wands and I breathe. And I’m sorry to say it, but I swear, when my children come downstairs, I am a much, much better parent.”

Microplastics are the scourge of everything right now - including archeological discoveries.

And they could have an impact in how archeology is preserved, if this trend continues.

““We are familiar with plastics in the oceans and in rivers. But here we see our historic heritage incorporating toxic elements. To what extent this contamination compromises the evidential value of these deposits, and their national importance is what we’ll try to find out next…

…the presence of microplastics can and will change the chemistry of the soil, potentially introducing elements which will cause the organic remains to decay. If that is the case, preserving archaeology in situ may no longer be appropriate.”

It’s taken every shred of my self-discipline to not constantly sing “THIS AIN’T TEXAS” since I landed in Dallas on Sunday.

But perhaps I should, given how Beyoncé’s forthcoming Cowboy Carter is both an ode to Black country artists who never got mainstream recognition, and hopefully a tide shift in who belongs in this genre of music.

This is an excellent history lesson on Black artists in country music, and the playlist curated for the article has been the perfect soundtrack as I drove around the greater Plano area yesterday.

I’m even more excited for Cowboy Carter now, and continue to be in awe of Beyoncé’s artistry and reverence for the artists who have paved the way for her to create what she does.

No commentary for this one - it’s a quick but necessary read.

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