30 July 2010


One of my favorite patients, who has become a friend, just reminded me of something terribly important.

When we are medical students, interns, residents... we LOVE the adrenaline rushes. We love the interesting patients.. the "once in a lifetime"s... We want to see and experience all of the 'wows.' We trade stories, often elaborating and honing our emphasis on this or that, to make it sound that much more dramatic, we accentuate, we underline, we really lay it on--suddenly, there is blood everywhere, guts are flying, the nurses are frantic, and then we come in and save the day. Don't get me wrong. Sadly, it really is like that, sometimes. But as attendings, it's just our day-to-day... and not the pleasant part of day-to-day.

As an intern in Michigan, we didn't have the 80 hour work week. We worked often in 36 hour shifts, to go home and sleep (hell, who am I kidding, we didn't, actually, sleep--we partied and danced), to come back and do it all over again. We RAN to codes, to see interesting patients. We stayed much past those 36 hours often, to see a rare, or "cool" case, or even just to hang around, in case one came in.

For my surgical residency, I chose to come to New York, but not some posh little hospital. Nope, I went for the hell-hole, in the middle of a crime-ridden area, which farmed us out to other crime-ridden areas in every borough (save Staten Island) and Jersey. During my 3rd year (I think) the 80 hour work week came into effect. We were threatened by our superiors to lie on the forms, as NONE of us worked fewer than 100 hours/ week... although usually more, we lost track... and most of us (yours truly at the top of the list) didn't mind lying. How else would we see all of those funky, excellent cases?!

Hand fellowship--no different. But by this point, my philosophy changed a little. I did this in the South Bronx at a city hospital. Scary place, scary patients... a lot of unethical people (hospital personnel included)--exactly what I wanted--because I knew I would train here and see the worst of the worst so that I could handle anything... Even though I hoped I would never see it again.

When we come to our own as attendings, we really love boring. We don't want to see those one in a million cases. Don't get me wrong, we can handle it, because we are wired to do so--especially as surgeons, I think we are such adrenaline junkies that we LOVE those cases as much as we HATE them. We still boast to our colleagues, all the while praying to whoever our Gods are that we never have to face that again... and going to the hospital at all hours to check up on that patient. just in case.

My breast fellowship, I approached differently. Of course, this was after a few years "out in the field." I knew exactly what I wanted out of it, and I made sure that I got it. Yes, I did see some interesting cases, and yes, I made some mistakes. In the end, the attitude was "well, now I know how to handle it, and I really hope I never see it again." (By the way, in regards to my earlier post, I met a very successful plastic surgeon, who said that he had no less than 10--TEN!!--such cases in his first year. The candidacy and straighforwardness were almost more alarming than the fact.)

So now, when I hear that my patient... my friend... had an uneventful chemo day--after too many events, too much excitement (and not the pleasant kind) on this road of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment--I am no less than thrilled.

29 July 2010

Food, revealed

Apparently, I am on a food-writing kick. But I really couldn't allow you to pass this up. This is such a cool site, and I highly recommend you check it out!! It takes a little while to load, as there are big files. Be patient, it is soooo worth it!!

You have never seen your fruits and veggies like this before. My favorites are the watermelon and corn--they look like they are fluttering--and the mushroom--which looks like a sea creature. Wouldn't you love to see a chanterelle or a wood's ear? Or ANY of these beauties!! (It helps that mushrooms are some of my favorite things to eat, too.)

OK, that's it for today. Have fun!!

26 July 2010

Renaissance Fantasies

I am seriously jonesing... (OK, given the context, that's pretty funny: my computer, not recognizing 'jonesing' offered to replace with 'jousting.')

At any rate, I am having Ren Fest withdrawl. Have you been? I adore Renaissance Festivals. Everything from the wardrobes to the mysticism, to the "English" accents (let's face it... they often sound Irish in truth... or sometimes even Russian--Master Card and Lady Visa is just cooky enough to make me smile every time), to the food... the jewelry (ah! the jewelry), and the shows--the bawdy comedy is probably my favorite.

I have attended Renaissance Festivals in Kansas City, Michigan, and now in my new home--New York. Each has been attended by yours truly multiply. Yes, I even dress up--usually as a gypsy, which is easy for me (what does that say?) and not crazy weird (just weird enough). My favorite faire is likely Kansas City. I think because it was my first, and I have many wonderful memories of that particular one.

They are all big, and full of adventure. You are likely to see a wedding, or two. Lots of kids dressed up on some adventure... or playing a game. Belly dancers, people eating huge turkey legs (not terribly appetizing to see, if you ask me, but it's all part of the fun), hawks and vultures, strong man contests, jousting, even, if you are so inclined (I, somehow, never have been, but...)

So, wanna come to the Renaissance Faire?

13 July 2010

Zucchini--yellow (green) bean--dill soup

OK, so another recipe. The original was given to me by a buddy, but I have changed it around quite a bit to make it my own. I suggest you do the same!

This is a great summer soup--light, yet filling. It would be great with some crusty bread and olive oil, or with an herb salad.

You need:

1T grapeseed oil*
5 medium zucchini (yellow or green) sliced in half, then into thin half-moons**
1 small onion--roughly chopped
5 (or so) fresh garlic cloves--finely chopped
1/2 C fresh dill--finely chopped
1/2 C fresh cilantro--finely chopped
1C yellow or green beans**--cut into ~1cm pieces
4C veggie stock (yours or a good quality)
3-4C water (depending on how thick you want this soup)
salt and pepper to taste

You do:

1. heat the oil in a nice-sized soup pot.
2. saute all of the veggies, with the dill and cilantro, in the oil.
3. once everything is nice and soft (at least 15 minutes), pour in your stock and water (if using). allow to simmer about 10 minutes to marry the flavors.
4. add salt and pepper to taste.
5. allow to cool a bit and puree in batches in a table top blender... alternatively, you can use a hand-held submersible blender--just be aware that if this splatters and is still hot, you WILL burn yourself. I like to puree just a bit and still leave some chunky veggies.

* you can also use the same measure of olive oil or butter
** if you want a pretty soup, stay with one color--ie: if you use yellow zucchini, then use the yellow beans, if you use green zucchini, use green beans. You could also just leave the beans out.


11 July 2010

great summer dinner

My guy made a fantastic dinner last night that I wanted to share with you. It is light, summery, delicious and versatile... I think you should make it today!!

you need:
1/2 medium head of cabbage--shredded*
3 large carrots--shredded
1/2 medium onion--chopped
1 small apple**--shredded
6 oz water-packed tuna, drained
6 oz water-packed crab, drained (we used Trader Joe's--great quality)
glug or two of balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

* easiest way to shred cabbage is with a good bread knife, I have found. then again, I do not have a mandolin...hmmm, used to, now that I think of it, wonder where it is...
** my guy used a red fuji--he wanted some sweetness, and it was what was in the fruit bowl. I think that a granny smith +/- some raisins would have been equally awesome

you make:

So easy, just dump everything into a large bowl and mix--add salt as needed.

You can have this as a salad--with tomatoes on a bed of lettuce (personally, I think that tomatoes go phenomenally with fish), on a sandwich, in a crepe, in an omelet... next to some brown rice, or a sweet potato. Let your imagination go wild. This makes quite a bit, so get creative!!


09 July 2010

Benadryl, Motrin, Tylenol and Children's Tylenol recall

Yes, it has been ages since I last wrote--I have been super busy (as is everyone, I know)... Hopefully, I will have a chance to write something "real" soon.

For now, I have another FDA recall that needs attention. This one is a recall of very common medicines, and not only in the US, but also in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Fiji, Trinidad, Tobago, and Jamaica.

In other words, it's big. Fortunately, it seems to be a voluntary recall, mainly for a smell that has infiltrated the medicines from being on the same pallet as a chemical when they were shipped. Either way, it's there--you make the decision. Also, please let your loved ones in the other countries know.