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Archive for April, 2009

Two Surgeries Down

What an unexpected week this has turned out to be.  One surgery turned into two on Monday night at 10:50pm.  Yes, apparently doctors like to make decisions and relay them to patients at this hour.  I have been poked by surgeons at 2:30am because that’s when they have time, met an anesthesiologists at midnight, and had a member of respiratory team make me do breathing exercises at midnight.  That’s besides my nightly wakeup at 12:30ish to check my vitals and my next one between 5 and 6am to check my vitals again.  Hospitals are NOT designed for sleeping.  The doctor who did my consent forms for the laproscopic cholycestectomy came down, woke me up, and said “Hey, I need a consent form for an endoscopic something (ECRP) because there is a good chance that the docs will be performing this procedure on you tomorrow instead.”  I had to wait 24 hours in between the two surgeries, which meant an extra 24 hours in the hospital and an extra day without eating.  I tried hard not to have a mini-meltdown right then.  I just signed the consent, called Nate to let him know the changes, and prayed this wouldn’t be the case.  Of course it was!  And in the end it was a good thing because the doctor removed two(ish) stones from my bile ducts in that first procedure.  If they had been found during the second procedure, they would have had to stop work immediately and switch over, so this way everything ran very smoothly.

I was a little nervous before my first round of surgery, though I didn’t realize it til they put me on the cart.  The lay you down on the push cart with only one small gown on and drape a sheet over you.  Then you stare at the ceiling as they wheel you down and everyone gives you sympathetic smiles along the way.  Despite having Nate by my side all day long and knowing I have had the support of a lot of family and friends through this, there is something very “alone” about that ride.  It’s like you know, Okay, it’s just me and my body on this one.  I felt one tear start to roll down my cheek, but the prep nurse was very sweet and then the doctor came out and spent 15 minutes talking to me about what to expect.  Following that first procedure I felt really good.  I took one round of morphine, but then was drug free for about 12 hours up until the next round.

Round two of surgery was a bigger deal because it involved multiple cuts into me, but I was much calmer going into it.  Again, everything ran smoothly though I guess it took longer than expected and Nate had some time to build up some anxiety, not having received a phone call about what was going on.  Coming out of the heavy anesthesia was tougher this time around and I was kind of a mess when I entered back into Nate’s and my nurses care.  The cut in my bellybutton started bleeding and then I started dryheaving and shaking very badly.  I was really glad that only Nate was around when I returned (though very glad to have Jarrett and Catherine before and during the procedure) and once cleaned up and settled in bed, all I wanted to do was melt into sleep.  Today I’m feeling so-so.  I’ve gotten up and walked for about 5 minutes, and I’ve eaten my first round of solid food, though all I could handle was about 8 bites of oatmeal and 5 bites of eggs).  I’ve never been punched in the stomach or done 500 crunches in a day (both were descriptions of how I might feel) but I think I feel closer to the stomach punch because it hurts quite a bit to breathe.  As of now, though, we are anxiously waiting to hear if I will be released to go home today and continue recovery there, where I can sleep for 8 hours at a time!) or spend another day here.

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Yesterday my plan was …

to have some new friends over for a fun brunch, to clean up and spend some time relaxing with Nate, then to make a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce and go celebrate my friend Em’s birthday with her and friends.  It was a good plan and I suspect it would have been mighty fun if …

halfway through brunch I hadn’t felt the most searing pain in my right side.  If I hadn’t thrown up five times in the bathroom while everyone was trying to keep their own food down in the dining room.  If I didn’t have to announce that we were going to the ER and um, super sorry that this is the SECOND time we have bailed halfway through a plan with these friends for health reasons.  Pretty embarrassing state to be seen in.  I thought we might still resurrect the second half of the plan for cake and celebrating and this might have happened if …

we hadn’t spent until 7:30pm in the ER with doctors coming in and out to ask the same 10 questions, getting my first ultrasound, and lots of poking and prodding from the nurse to try to get my blood gushing.  If I had been released from the ER, instead of being told that I’d be here overnight.  If they hadn’t discovered what appears to be a 5mm gallstone and if they hadn’t decided that I’m stuck here til Monday when they are going to cut me open and slice my gall bladder out.  If I hadn’t learned in the past 24 hours that my real age is, in fact, 72 as opposed to 27 because 72-year-olds have surgery and gall stones and IVs in their arms and get wheeled from place to place in a wheelchair and supported as they crawl slowly out of bed.  27-year-olds certainly don’t do any of this.

IF anyone had asked me, I’d have told them I’d prefer Plan #1.

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Oreo Truffles

Somewhere recently, I think on Facebook, someone made mention of Oreo Truffles.  I was intrigued instantly since I’ve been a long time fan of truffles.  I determined to find this recipe, only to discover in my google search that it is ALL OVER the web, including on Kraft Foods.  No, I have not made a new discovery.  But I was still up for trying these cute little suckers.

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In the end, I wasn’t one bit “wowed” by this recipe.  But I was pretty sure this would be the case since the main ingredient turned out to be oreos, , a fan wagon I’ve never been able to hop on, and not chocolate.  But they were fun to try and I think if you are an oreo lover, these would do the trick for you.

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Oreo Truffles

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

MIX 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.

DIP balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover melted chocolate can be stored in tightly covered container at room temperature and saved for another use.) Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

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Stories of an HMO

 

So last week I got an MRI.  I told you about it, right?  How I realized when I got up from the machine and was wondering why my hair was so wonky that I had lost a bobby pin somewhere in that dern thing?  That gave me a little giggle.  Well, the MRI showed something (a slight protruding disc) but assured me that this could not be the cause of the pain I am having. 

On to the orthopedic surgeon this morning.  I wore a skirt because I was headed straight to work.  Please never do this to an appointment with the ortho surgeon.  Because the nurse asked me to put on a pair of hospital gownish shorts in lieu of my skirt.  You mean, take off my tights and my boots and my bottom half?  Nope.  Just put the shorts on over my tights.  These were some super rad shorts designed to fit any person from 100 pounds to 300 pounds.  They didn’t do a very good job of fitting someone on the low end of that spectrum.  So of course picture tights hanging out of the top of billowing shorts that I can’t keep up and in walks the doctor. 

The doctor says I need an MRI.  What?  A thoracic MRI.  Last week I had a lumbar MRI.  And two weeks ago, my physical therapist recommended I have both a lumbar and thoracic MRI, but of course my PCP thought that was just a dumb idea. 

Back into the machine for another 30 minutes …

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Food Photography 101

This Saturday my friend Shawna was gracious enough to come over and give me a lesson in Food Photography 101. She works as a real estate photographer, but has always loved photographing food as well. I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to enhance my totally self-taught, just point and shoot skills. She had some good tips for me that I hope to use without holding up dinner for an extra 30 minutes while I set the stage. I made sure to pull all the photos Shawna took out of the batch so that 3 years from now when I’m going senile I don’t claim them as my own. Knowing I was going to need some food that would hold for this project, of course I turned to sweets. So I can simultaneously tell you what I learned about food photography while telling you about some great treats. We started with a standard bundt cake to talk through the basics. This is a standard Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake but it is totally moist and gooey and totally delicious. I would eat it for brunch just as fast as I would eat it for dessert. I first learned that in most cases, the best angles to shoot from are straight over top (which I use a stool for) or getting eye level with the food. This was good to know because I almost never shoot from straight above. I always found it hard to get a good shot and was under the impression that this took away depth. I learned that shooting from an angle downward is actually the bigger culprit in making a photograph look flat.

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We moved on to my Lemon Curd Tarts, for which there exists no recipe. I had leftover homemade lemon curd from Easter, so I whipped up a batch of my favorite powdered sugar tart dough, filled it with the curd, added some sweetened whipped cream and topped it with a fresh blueberry compote. These tarts helped me practice deciding what I wanted to be the focal point of my shot. From now on, I’ll be trying to ask myself “What’s interesting about this plate?” before I start shooting. In this case it was the dribble.  

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We also talked about creating a context (oh man, that is just too close to some Strategic therapy verbage for me!) to make the photo successful. In the above photo, the context lies in the rims of the other tarts (not that I thought about this at all while shooting). In the below shot, the context is the blurry curtains and buffet. This is one of my favorite shots of the day because of the lighting and colors.

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 Here’s the broader context … but I’m always a sucker for the close-ups instead.

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 I applied the general rules of context and a focal point to my Hot Cocoa Cupcakes as well. These are, by the way, a cute-to-eat treat. Of course, I suggest you use your own chocolate cupcake recipe as opposed to the box. Heavens be. In this case, I loved the shiny pole going through the middle of the tray.

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And in this shot, I’m thinking more about highlighting the sprinkling of hot cocoa on top of the marshmallow than anything else. (It’s almost like I have an SLR which makes me tres happy too.)

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 This shot is one for context, giving some alternating sizes and textures between the two dishes.

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 So there you’ve got it. Food Photography 101 (for the real, complete novice who doesn’t know any lingo or any tricks) and a few new sweets to eat at home tonight.

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Blog Past

I’ve been blogging for years, but finally decided to change my blog site.  If you are interested in older blogs on food & life in Chicago, visit www.xanga.com/kelleyjordan.

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