Take 5: Catching Up With a Busy M.D.
Doctor finds Alameda to his liking.
Dr. Lloyd Takao has been a pediatrician for more than 30 years, practicing at Primary Pediatric Medical Group in Alameda for three years. Takao loves what he does and can boast that he never has a boring day.
1. What do you love most about being a pediatrician?
I love pediatrics because you can make a difference so early in a child’s life that can have consequences that will impact him or her for a long time to come. It might be through family or psychosocial advice, an important diagnosis such as ADHD or an intervention regarding dietary habits or weight problems or insomnia/sleep habits. If we can pick up on problems early, it sends a child’s health down a totally different path. Also, there is so much anxiety and depression in children and families now; I am very comfortable with, and good at dealing with, these issues. People ask all the time, ‘Don’t you get tired of seeing just colds all day?’ When I see a sick or well patient, I have to know about all the things that are not presenting themselves—or that could be. I rule them out as quickly and the best I can, and then I call it what it is. I ensure a close follow-up with the parents, and I am done. That’s fun.
2. Have things changed much in pediatrics over the last 30 years?
Yes, technology. I remain proud, though, of being called old school. I see patients come out of surgery and occasionally do house calls—you learn so much that way—and attend kids’ graduations from middle school or college. High-tech is great for electronic medical records, but I have seen some physicians who concentrate so much on their computer entries that they do not look the patient eye-to-eye when they are one-on-one.
3. Why do you specialize in treating kids with asthma?
I have asthma, so I know a lot about it. I established the first Breathe Easy Day Camp in Alameda County with the American Lung Association in 1984. I was previously on the board of directors for the ALA at local, state, and national levels. It is scary not knowing where your next breath is coming from, and that is a common response from all children with the disease. It is important to reassure kids and treat them quickly to calm their anxiety and stop their wheezing. My goal is simple, and that is to get them wheeze-free as soon as possible and get them back in school and normalize their family activities. Nothing is more disruptive than not breathing well.
4. What are you doing for fun, when you aren’t in the office?
Eating bacon (maybe I shouldn’t say that). I play in a ukulele group, which makes me laugh and smile. I make up silly songs that I sing around the family. I love snorkeling in the ocean with beautiful fish and the honu (green sea turtles). Watching live sporting events, listening to any music and going to concerts, whether it’s the symphony or Eric Clapton, all are really fun for me. And of course, sipping a non-fat latte or a breve latte espresso with half and half is pretty great.
5. How’s Alameda treating you?
Alameda families have been wonderful at accepting me into the community. I run into tons of families around town. I get to see my babies, children, and mothers when I go to lunch or Starbucks. I really love my job. I have always thought that all I need to do is care, which is so easy to do. That effort, I believe, will make a lasting impression wherever I am. It’s really fun that my daughter and two grandchildren, who attend Otis School, live here in Alameda. It’s also great to see their friends in my office. Alameda agrees with me quite well.