Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Influenza Invasion

Who knew that this fuzzy little critter could wreak such havoc on the human body?

It all started last Thursday with a little cough.  That innocent cough quickly turned into the sounds of a barking seal, accompanied with body aches and a general feeling of grossness (yes, even a doctor can use big fancy medical words!).  By Friday night there was no doubt, influenza 2012 was raging war on my body.  Here are a few random thoughts and lessons from my week under the weather.

1. It is possible to be chilled to the bone despite being bundled under a one foot layer of clothes.  As my fever spiked Friday night I found myself adding layer after layer, yet I just could not stop shivering.  The final tally was long johns, flannel pajamas, hoodie sweatshirt, gloves, heated rice pack wrapped around my neck, two layers of socks, slippers, heated blanked on "high" setting, and fleece blanket.

2.  Just as you start to break the chill and fall asleep, you awake dripping in sweat and burning up.  This cycle of chills/sweats continued all night long.

3.  I've always admired how a dog can sleep all day and then still sleep well at night.  I've just simply never been someone to sleep the day away.  Saturday, however, I spent 20+ hours of the day passed out either in bed or on the couch.  That amount of sleep puts even Bailey's sleep schedule to shame.

4. Ortho night float is considered to be the "worst job in the hospital."  You can imagine my luck to have been assigned a week of nightfloat + 24 hour Thanksgiving call + 24 hour Saturday after Thanksgiving call +
five more days of nigh float beginning Sunday.  The only thing better is doing it all while battling the flu.  Just another reason I love my job!

5.  Dragging yourself from couch to shower can be an incredibly strenuous task that requires stopping mid way up the stairs to catch your breath.

6.  Despite the exhaustion of the task, a steamy hot shower can be more therapeutic any medication.

7.  It has been six days since I last had any form of exercise.  Without a doubt, that is a record.  The last time I took more than two complete rest days was first year of medical school when I had a femoral neck stress fracture.  This is the girl who gets out for a run even when she's feeling a little under the weather.  Sadly, I cannot even fathom attempting a swim, bike, or run quite yet.  Welcome to the off-season.

8.  My diet currently consists of 75% peanut or almond butter and 25% toast.  Vegetables are completely unappealing.  The good news is that for the first time in six days I woke up hungry.

And that essentially sums up my life over the past week.  Fortunately, I can give thanks today that I am beginning to gain the upper hand on Influenza vs Crystal 2012.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finding the Light

Is anyone else bummed about the end of daylight savings time?  The combination of the start of my two month trauma rotation and the end of daylight savings time means that last week I left for work in the pitch dark and arrived home long after the sun had disappeared.  

Does this picture strike you as crazy?  4:24am marks my arrival to work.
'Tis the glamorous life of a doctor.
When I leave work at night I find myself searching for the motivation to workout.  Hitting the trainer for some bike intervals typically isn't too tough, but dragging myself to the pool for 3000 meters is near impossible in the freezing temps and darkness.  Last week I was successful in breaking a sweat four out of five nights - I consider that a huge accomplishment.

The reality is that I would prefer to follow the example of Bailey -
shower, comfy pajamas, sofa, blanket, and sleep.
Dogs have the best life!
Before the work week got started, I made a crock pot meal that would make for several night's of reheatable dinners.  Scarlet runner beans and farmer's market greens stole the show in this "stew".  After simmering the beans and garlic cloves in vegetable broth for four hours, I added the chopped greens, a wild rice blend, and a pinch of spices.  Two hours later dinner was served.

Check out the size of the scarlet runner beans!
The weather here in Charlotte was absolutely PERFECT this weekend!  After spending four hours taking the OITE Saturday morning, I enjoyed a 7 mile run through Myers Park.  Then, I might have possibly passed out in a sunny spot on my back deck for a long nap.  Love it!

Saturday night I whipped up dinner from a mix of freezer, refrigerator, and pantry ingredients.  Balsamic reduced sweet onions with veggie dogs, sweet potato wedges, and zucchini.  And, of course, no plate of sweet potato wedges would be complete without a giant blob of ketchup.  For the sake of appearances, I snapped a picture before creating condiment heaven.

And what wild and crazy fun did I partake in?  You guessed it - dinner in front of the TV, preparing a presentation on knee dislocations, and crashing early.

Pancake Sunday featured a couple pumpkin pancakes from my freezer stash that I toasted and topped with a thick spread of almond butter, cranberry pumpkin reduction, and trail mix.  For the reduction I cooked a cup of fresh cranberries in a saute pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil.  Once they softened, I added a half-cup of pumpkin, a few tablespoons of maple syrup, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.  The mixture simmered for a few minutes and then was ready to serve.  Yum!

After conquering a long to-do list (which included my least favorite chore - ironing), a bike workout, and an afternoon nap in the sunshine (got to make up for my vitamin D deficit), my last Sunday activity was baking.  Wonderful smells spread through the house as Ginger Pear Muffins baked in the oven.  I found inspiration from this Daily Garnish recipe, and made several substitutions for a muffin version.  If you're interested in recreating my rendition, here are the changes to the original recipe.

1. Instead of 1 cup AP flour, I used 1/2 cup AP flour and 1/2 cup almond flour
2. Add 1/2 cup oats
3. I used only 1/4 cup sugar and omitted the brown sugar
4. 1/3 cup pumpkin in place of applesauce.
5. 3 tbsp coconut oil to replace the canola oil
6. Add 1/4 cup almond milk.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday night has arrived and I'm already dreading a 4am alarm clock.  At least I have a tasty muffin waiting for me when I wake up in the morning!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Look who I stumbled upon when I came home from work Friday!

Dad, Mom, and Bailey all came to spend the weekend with me in Charlotte.  The combination of their busy work and travel schedules, mixed with my work schedule, has left us unable to connect in Charlotte for quite some time.  Fortunately, they were able to make the trip and we enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the Queen City.

Friday night we chose a casual dinner at Brixx, a local pizza restaurant.  After sitting at the bar and sampling several fall beers, we made our way to a table.  We each started with a different salad - Spinach, Arugula and Pear, and Mediterranean.  We were impressed with the substantial portions.  Next, we split two pizzas. The first was a wood-roasted vegetable on wheat crust (wild mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers and fresh oregano with tomato sauce and mozzarella).  The second was a wild mushroom on original crust (wood-roasted shiitake, portobello and button mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan).  Both had a perfectly thin and crispy crust and flavorful toppings.  My favorite was the more saucy garden vegetable.

Saturday morning Dad and I had one mission to accomplish - a 10 mile training run.  This was Dad's second-to-last long run prior to his first half marathon at the Atlanta Thanksgiving race in just a few weeks.  Despite temperatures in the upper 30s, we took a tour by foot through my stomping grounds, including South Park, Myers Park, and Dilworth.  Whether it was the absence of the Atlanta hills or having his coach along his side pushing him a little harder, something added some fire under his step and we averaged 9 minutes per mile.  Great work, Dad!

For breakfast, I made a easy and tasty french toast casserole.  Sadly, my post-run hunger got the best of me and it was consumed long before I gave thought to taking pictures.

Keeping with the focus on food, lunch was sponsored by the Fresh Market and Whole Foods Thanksgiving food sampling events.  So . . . much . . . good . . . food!  I can't wait for holiday cooking to begin!

After planting some flowers at home and enjoying some lazy time lounging on the deck, we cleaned up to head to dinner.  First though, we enjoyed some wine at Pisces Sushi Bar.

The restaurant of choice for the evening was Fern, Flavors From the Garden.  We've eaten there once before, and knew that without a doubt, we'd be back.  They have recently debuted a new fall menu and we enjoyed a couple appetizers to share, and then each had a unique entree.

Autumn Leeks
Pan-seared leak rounds, pumpkin puree, muscadine grapes, kale, and a red wine gastrique

Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
House-made vegan chorizo, medjool dates, Bosky Acres goat cheese, arugula, and piquillo pepper salad

Fall Harvest
BBQ grilled tempeh, FEBA Farms vegetables, pumpernickel soil, and chestnut creme sauce

BBQ Tempeh Steak
Sliced BBQ grilled tempeh, green grits, toasted hazelnuts, braising greens, sorghum vinaigrette

Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Filet
Char-grilled pumpkin, turnip and apple puree, caramelized brussel sprouts, mushroom bacon
Overall, the meal was excellent.  My only complaint was that my Fall Harvest dish was lacking in sauciness that would have helped to bring the dish together.  It's so enjoyable to feast on delicious vegan and vegetarian cuisine that is prepared with such precision.  In the market of carnivore-focused restaurants, it's refreshing to have this gem in Charlotte.

Dessert was several treats from Amelie's, including a creme puff, salted caramel brownie, and French  macarons.  

Thanks to the end of daylight savings time, we enjoyed an extra hour of slumber this morning before tackling some  chores around the house and taking the beast (aka Bailey) for a walk to the park.  

Sadly, it's back to reality this afternoon.  Studying for the OITE, reading for and preparing my grand rounds presentation, and making plans for tomorrow's surgical cases.  Let another week commence.