Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I don't know why, but I feel like writing briefly about my experience here. Appendicitis is cripplingly painful; not even morphine could ease my pain. When the ER nurse told me they were giving me morphine and that the pain wouldn't go away until they removed the useless organ, I didn't fear surgery or general anesthesia. I just wanted the appendix out of my life. But what was a bit jarring to me about surgery was being brought into the bright, spacious operating room. My immediate thought was that it looked just like in the movies or TV shows. They hadn't administered anything to me yet so I was fully conscious, which seemed a desired state so that I could announce clearly my name, DOB, and what I was there for. I had never experienced surgery before; all I've experienced are a bunch of residents and young doctors coming to see me in my room, sometimes the chief of their staff (i.e., an older doctor, usually in a suit) dropping by for a special visit. When the many doctors come to see me in the room, there is at least one doctor who does all the talking, and others observe. Sometimes, when different doctors ask different questions, it's clear to me that they all have a general idea of what the problem is, but that each person might have a slightly different idea of what the details are or would defer to the speaking-doctor. They'll then get word from their "chief" or whoever is highest in the hierarchy; they may (or may not!) pass that down to my nurses and to me; but that higher word confirms the details--the diagnosis, treatment, and followup care. This is what I'm used to. But in the operating room--and I realize this is what you would hope and expect--I saw that every single person in there is on the exact same place of the same page. Obviously, the surgeon is the director of everything. And of all the doctors and residents and med students I met, only one of them ended up in the OR with the surgeon. But when I was in there and conscious, I remember that the nurse \seemed to oversee or manage a lot of things. I appreciated it, or found comfort in it. After that, I only remember being the breathing mask already in place and being told the anesthesia would kick in. But I was just so struck by how different things are in the OR compared to the ER room or the hospital rooms, even if I was only awake to observe things in the OR for a couple of minutes.
So anyway, it was interesting to see the dynamics of medical hierarchy in a slightly different light. As usual, I noticed again how important nurses are as much as doctors; I always strike gold with nurses. This is a cliche moment, but this is the kind of cliche moment you should want--I have always been and it seems like I continue to be given the best medical staff to help me get back on my feet when something has gone terribly wrong. Appendicitis is a straightforward problem you want to have if you have sharp, crippling stomach pains, rather than, say, some long-term stomach-related disease, but it still requires surgery and thereby general anesthesia. To be able to recover as well as I have been, you need a good support system, both in and out of the hospital. This time, my experience at UIC was near-impeccable. (Sorry, cannot say the exact same of U of C!) I am beyond grateful for each and every person involved, all the way from the ER staff, the transport staff, the nurses, to the chief and her budding underlings.
Posted by kei at 12:53 PM
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I guess I wasn't done with the people-and-dog-watching pictures! Here are more shots from Kamakura, but this time with my DSLR instead of iPhone.
Posted by kei at 11:11 AM
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
These pictures took less guts to take--the people are facing away from me, but they deserve no less recognition than forward facing subjects.
I know I shouldn't make fun of "Engrish" or anything like it, but I can't help it. This sweater is delightful.
I'll be posting some pictures I took, mostly with my iPhone, and which were edited with an app called Camera+. I've got more "stolen images" of random people! :D
Sunday, October 14, 2012
A few nights ago, we went to Next for the first time. The fall menu for this year is "Kyoto," or their take on the kasieki meal. Most of these dishes are the chef's interpretations of kaiseki ryori. I was a little nervous since I had never been to Next, I've never had kaiseki, and a lot of fancy Japanese food has historically repulsed me. But I was brave, and I was rewarded well for it. Photos, descriptions from their menu and my own elaborations, and some thoughts below.
"japanese maple forest" with many shrimp and roe hors d'oeuvre type things
The "trees" are crispy shrimp heads.
Maybe these were supposed to represent toadstools? Roe and (salty!) corn pudding in a little yuzu rind.
Skrimpf eyes! It's like fancy kappa ebisen.
"sashimi, shiso, tamari": kampachi, salmon, medai with gold flakes and fresh wasabi (there were two dipping sauces: tamari and shiso)
"abalone, cucumber, red sea grapes" featuring kinome leaf, which make tongues tingle
"anago [saltwater eel], maple dashi, shimeji mushroom"
"matsutake chawanmushi [savory egg custard], pine"
I eat my chawanmushi like Pepperidge Farm Verona cookies (the ones with the jam in the middle)
Ayu. Dipping sauces were soy sauce with cured yolk, and wasabi puree.
The ayu was reportedly from a river in Kyoto. I still don't understand how that is true. Our server said that this wouldn't be available in a couple of weeks since they'll be out of season, so I guess in November, people will be getting another kind of fish.
Fried chrysanthemum, eggplant, and shiso leaf. Flower was edible but this was an item I had trouble eating.
Red miso soup with wagyu beef and vegetables. This was served with rice (Tamaki Gold, available at Mitsuwa [I asked]). There were pickled vegetables with this dish but they were too wasabi-y for me.
Dessert: roasted fig, yuba (tofu skin), and grapes on a little bed of reduced soy milk. This was a little salty to me but whatever the grapes were, they reminded me of tiny kyoho grapes.
My favorite dishes were the following: anago maple dashi soup (reminds me of Yokohama's Wakana, an eel establishment from mine, my mother's, and my grandmother's childhoods), the red miso soup (reminds me of what sumo wrestlers eat; it has a very home-y feel, but still special because of the buttery wagyu), and the warabi mochi at the end. It was better than Japanese convenience stores' warabi mochi, lol. Aside from flowers and wasabi being a weakness of mine, there was an uni-mayo dipping sauce for the fried lotus rings in the "maple forest" course that just straight up tasted like what I imagine licking the bottom of the ocean to be like. For similar reasons, the abalone course was a little tough for me to get through. For similar reasons, I thought I'd have difficulty with the sashimi, but I did not! It was the prettiest dish and very much edible by my standards. I'd even say I liked it a great deal.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Part of Labor Day was spent cleaning the house. My incentive was to vacuum the area rugs to get rid of Mitsu's fur and the confetti she makes from neglected paper products. Mordecai's was for me to put away the last suitcase from our trip to Japan, which had been left out in the dining room since the beginning of June. One reason why I don't like to put the suitcase away (aside from laziness and an unwillingness to accept that the trip is in the past) is because there were a lot of paper products in there, and I didn't know where to put them. Then I noticed a trend in some of the brochures: French macarons. I have what are little menus of the various flavors offered recently by Pierre Herme and Laduree, and a bigger, thicker flyer of a new flavor from Laduree to celebrate their 150th anniversary. I also kept the bag that contained what I thought were the best macarons I had in Japan, the unassuming ones from Kagoshima.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, August 05, 2012
This coming week may be raspberry week, since Smitten Kitchen has a pink lemonade bar recipe, and I'd like to finally try Giada's raspberry vanilla smoothie. I really like the flavor of raspberry, even when it's sour to the point of cruelty, but why hasn't someone engineered them to get rid of the seeds?!