Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The best character? Seattle.

Touch your nose with your eyes closed test.

And today I meet with Dr Glenn of Raleigh Neurology. I only have fantastic things to say about her, so I'm naming her and her practice since my recommendation carries so much weight in the medical community, I know.

When I arrive at the office it's clear we're in flu season. Hard core. Hand sanitzers. Signs. Masks. Wow. I better not get swine flu. Seriously, I had only one sick day all of 2009 before two months away with brain bleed.

As with any doctor office, there is waiting. But when Dr Glenn arrives she delivers. She jokes "So, I'm supposed to consult on a case where I have absolutely no background?" Of course she hasn't gotten my notes, but she goes through the records I have diligently provided. She asks questions, answers my questions, we do neuro tests. When we get to the "touch your nose with your eyes closed test" it's like a monent of truth. I mess up! Argh. I really wonder if I was able to do this pre-brain bleed.

She concurs with Dr L that another angio is needed and she gets the pre-angio consult moved earlier in an effor to help me get back to my normal life sooner.

I'll see her in six months for a follow up. Thanks much to my Carleton neurosurgeon pal for the recommendation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mini Lasagna

How is it possible I'm discovering spaghetti squash only now? What a weird, yet intriguing food. Today, I attempted to use a spaghetti squash in a recipe titled "Spaghetti Squash Gratins with Chunky Tomato Sauce."

Step one reads "Pierce squash with fork." I wasn't sure if they meant once, or repeatedly so I went for repeatedly. Which led to some oozing when I remove the SS from the oven.

The ramekins that are available to me are tiny (bite size!) so I had to settle for Pyrex. Here's the view from the side. It's like a mini lasagna (Garfield!)

Bird's eye view of the final product. It doesn't photograph as well as it tastes.

"I will not sleep at night until you have another angiogram."

I finally had my appointment with Dr L and it went exactly as anticipated. I arrived, paid, waited in the waiting room, and then waiting in the examination room (which was quite nice, actually. Bamboo floors).

Dr L arrived. Much shorter than I recall. Then again I was in a hospital bed. I admit I felt a little vulnerable and patientlike with him at the hospital. Though he wished me no ill will, I was at his mercy, yah know?

I much preferred talking to him fully clothed and feeling healthy. And, I admit, I enojoyed the height.

He asked me if I had my angiogram films. I explain to him that the wrong procedure was ordered. He shakes his head. Then I say "And you were the only person who could clarify what follow up was needed and you were unavailable in China."

"It is imperative. Imperative, imperative, imperative, you have an angiogram. For this to happen to you, so young and healthy, we need to take another look. I will not sleep at night until you have another angiogram."

(From the guy who takes off for weeks without coverage or contact).

My co-pay is refunded and an appointment is set up for the angio. Actually, it's not an appointment for the procedure. It's an appointment to meet with the Dr who is going to do the procedure. After that appointment the actual thing is scheduled. Geeeeeeze.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tester Pizza

Much to my delight the pizza dough rose. I attempted to spin the dough but I'm about as good as that as I am at frisbee (not very). Given that this was the first time I have done this in years I was reasonably pleased with the results, though I have several ideas how to make it tastier next time. This was just a tester pizza.

Pizza was followed by a screening of the following flick.

An, er, interesting? read

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I had the blues this afternoon and decided to work it out in the kitchen. I remember a cooking mentor praising the pizza dough making process as therapeutic. So I decided to have at it. I didn't feel like going out to get supplies so I found a simple recipe with ingredients already stocked in the pantry. I'm letting the yeast do it's thing overnight in the fridge, so here's the prenatal pizza dough.

It's been a long time since I've done this so I'll have Papa John's phone number nearby around dinnertime tomorrow. In the meantime I'm going to search for the recipe I learned with and also pick up some semolina flour and possibly a pizza stone.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today's Menu: Kale and Crostini

What inspired the Kale? You oughta know that SuperFoods had something to do with it. Broccoli is a SuperFood. Kale is a sidekick. Kale& Broccoli have very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) scores. In other words, they act very well as antioxidents.

The Crostini was inspired by one of Diane's Williams Sonoma recipe books. And, Diane made steak last weekend so she had some leftover blue cheese topping thing that needed finishing.

After this? Something with Italian sausage.

He just doesn't look right with hair

Happy Birthday HAWT Club

Friday, September 25, 2009


Since I had almost all the ingredients I took another whack at the tart and ended up with what I think the recipes intended as a result. I also divided the "dough" into thirds and made little personal pizza size tarts. Tartettes.

Since it was hurricaning outside, watched "Run Fat Boy, Run." It was cute except wah, I want to be training.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I need to be more mindful or periods versus commas when reading recipes.

I had some leftover basil from a Thai dish I made last week. Not wanting that delicious herb to go to waste, I decided to find another dish that used basil and some lycopene-licious tomatoes since no meal is a good meal without a Superfood.

I found a recipe for a Rustic Tomato Basil Tart on the Cooking Lite website.

Diane, my cooking mentor, advised me to measure out all the ingredients before I started the dish - mise en place - she called it. Some "mise en place" would've saved 2 trips to the grocery store during the muffin making extravaganza yesterday.

You might note the basil is missing (the green that you do see is Oregano). This recipe was built around leftover basil but when it came time to use, it was no longer suitable for inclusion in a dish. Whoops. Fortunately, Whole Foods is nearby.

I need to be more mindful of periods and commas in a recipe. Two mistakes of a very similar nature were made. In short, I combined too many ingredients at once. For example I was supposed to combine the oregano, cheese and basil (PERIOD) and then in a separate dish combine flour and salt. (PERIOD). Instead, I did this.

Whoopsy, again.

I also left the tart dough in the freezer a bit too long.

Despite some missteps along the way, what resulted was tasty enough and worth trying again.

Doesn't the inside of this tomato look a little bit like a brain?

Tomorrow's challenge? Kale.

Yellow Eyeballs

Yes, yes, I am back on the Superfoods bus. One of the neat things about the author is that he has a background in ophthalmology and he explains what you can learn about your health from your eyes.

If you look at the white part of your eyes, particularly the area just to the right or the left of the iris and you see yellow discoloration (pinguecula) that could be the result of exposure to pollutants and UV light.

If you noticed a yellow ring around the peripheral parts of your cornea this is a warning sign that your cholesterol may be high.

In short, if your eyes have a yellowish look, they're telling you something.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Superfoody Muffins: Take 2

1) Double recipe
2) They don't look green
3) Some enhanced with chocolate chips.
4) Apples and carrots more thoroughly blended
5) At first I was concerned they were undercooked, but Pro Baker Diane determined they were perfectly moist (I always think about "Dead Like Me" at the mention of the word "moist.")

I burned the tip of my finger. Ouch. I need to remember how HAWT the pans can get. Tomorrow night I am going to attempt a tart.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rachel Getting Married

Finally made it to a movie on the lawn at the NCMA. I've attempted this multiple times this summer but rain and exhaustion are not my friends. Adam wasn't feeling well so Diane & I had a date. It wasn't the happiest of movies and had Adam been there he would have completely restricted and shut down my movie selecting privileges permanently.

The movie took place in CT! Near Greeeeenwich.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chez Jamie

I'm surprising myself by cooking and baking. I have been trying to make a Thai dish for the last two days but there is one elusive ingredient that can only be purchased at the Grand Asia market.

After getting lost (I got Buck Jones and Jones Franklin confused, really, who would put those roads so close to each other, in Cary, which is already confusing) I finally find the place, get the ingredient and the next day, make the dish.

After an initial tasting I decide to add tomatoes and basil to the mix. I cut the chicken a little more thin. Believe it or not this meal almost resembles my favorite dish at Sawatdee.

Later in the day, I bake cupcakes. Diane does the frosting. The cupcakes are for a friend who loves bugs so she goes with a ladybug theme.

This inclination to cook and bake is a little disconcerting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Superfoodalicious Muffins

Delicious muffins. Superfoodalicious.

Yeah, they look a bit green on camera. I'm going to frost them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This was a sweet romantic movie

Made me miss New York. Stoops. Brooklyn.

Ask questions before you take off your clothes

My angiogram is scheduled for 9:00 am on Thursday, September 10th. I haven't been looking forward to it and I get a little anxious the night before. I'm also a little disconcerted at the lack of information and instructions about the procedure. Last time I wasn't able to eat beforehand and after I had to lie down flat for 4 hours. How does that work as an outpatient?

The night before I put together a playlist called "Angiogram". It was meant to be soothing songs I could listen to after the procedure - like "O, Holy Night."

Thursday morning Adam arrived early to get me to the hospital. We we're going to have breakfast together but given that I didn't have an answer about fasting I figured it was safest to skip breakfast.

Adam and I were in the radiology waiting room. We had asked to talk to someone about eating and what happens when this is done. Someone comes out and gives me paperwork to complete.

She also gives me a one page playlist and asks me what music I would like to listen to during the procedure.

Hang on.


There's no way I'm listening to music during this procedure.

"I'm scheduled for an angiogram"

"Yes, You're scheduled for an angiogram."

After a few phone calls, I learn that the term "angiogram" appears in a few different medical contexts.

There's a cerebral angiogram (the thing that I was expecting with the catheter through the groin and the dye squirting in the brain) and then there's an MRA, magnetic resonance angiogram.

The procedure was ordered by my PA's office: Raleigh Family Practice (RFP). I had a follow up appointment with them two weeks ago and told that my hospital neurologist, Dr. L, recommended an angiogram. I also signed a release form so they could access all my records, particularly directions relating to follow up care.

Turns out RFP doesn't have my records. So, the procedure was ordered based on my verbal instructions? What if I had asked for a boob job?

(Later on I learn that only 20% of Dr.'s instructions in an ER visit are retained).

Dr. L's office is called. Dr. L is in China. With no backup. And no, he's not calling in.


I need to look at my records. By the time I get back to Rex the Medical Records office is closed. They open up at 8:00 the next morning.

So, the next morning, bright and early and march over to the hospital. I feel like a detective. I find the medical records office, sign some paperwork and sit in the waiting area with my book until my records are delivered.

I review all 50+ pages of information. It's a little bit like reliving it. On one page I noticed the remark "The patient is pleasant and cooperative." Awwwwwww.

Finally, I find the follow up instructions. They indicate I am to have another angiogram. This leaves me where I was yesterday morning. What type of angiogram? The only person who can answer this is in China until the end of the month.

I walk from the hospital to RFP and bring them the records. This is so old school, walking records from office to office. Yeesh. One of the reasons I chose the primary health care provider I did was because they were associated with my hospital. RFP reviews the records and while they suspect that Dr. L was referring to a cerebral angiogram (I was right!) they want a neurologist to make that determination.

At this point, I'm fed up with Doctor L and his off to China with no backup so I try to make an appointment with a different neurologist who was recommended to me by a trusted friend. The first available appointment is September 30th (my appointment with Dr L was on the 29th). Yes, they can put me on a wait list in case there is a cancellation.

This whole experience raises questions about the patient's role in health care. I'm more than happy to take responsibility for my health and throughout this whole process I've paid quite a bit of attention to everything I've been told. I've also reached out to friends who are medical professionals for more information. Having said that, I'm not a Doctor and I also don't totally trust my recollection of any of the events that took place (follow up instructions in particular) when I was in the hospital (yes, despite pages and pages of blog entries about it). But, here I am, it seems trying to integrate information regarding my care.

Lesson Learned: Ask questions before you take off your clothes (to put on a hospital gown).

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


I got a massage today. Aaaaaaaah. At Umstead.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Super Helium?

These balloons were filled with helium sometime during the week of 8.10.09. Here they are, almost a month later, still flying high(ish). I considered taping them to the ceiling just to confuse those already in awe of the balloons.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Brain Thanks

With the exception of Greta, all the nurses at Rex were fantastic. There was one nurse in particular who was super fantastic. Her name was Michelle and she had the brightest blue eyes I've ever seen thanks to her contact lenses. When I left the hospital I wanted to do something nice for her. A few weeks later I did.

Diane and I made brain cupcakes and I brought them over to the hospital for Michelle and anyone else who was lucky enough to be working that shift.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Hush Puppies

I rested up all day so I could join some out of out town Carleton alumni office people at Bullocks. It was the first time I had been in Durham since my last day at work. I enjoyed the hush puppies along with a full moon.

Adam and I were considering seeing a movie on the lawn at the North Carolina museum of art. I can watch a movie while lying down. Perfect! But I'm too tired when I get back and we end up watching West Wing, which seems to be the default activity for me.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


The first day of September is markedly cooler than any day in August. As if fall arrived on command. There's a poem I always think of when the summer is ending. I posted it last year, so I'll just post a line or two (or five) here.

this high summer we love will pour its light
the fields grown rich and ragged in one strong moment
then before we're ready will crash into autumn
with a violence we can't accept
a bounty we can't forgive