Monday . March 4 . 2002 . 10:30pm
It's been a hard day's night. I was on call this evening, after an incredibly long and banging-your- head-against-a-wall-type frustrating day, topped off by the scrumptious cherry of late afternoon rounds to which the attending showed up an hour and a half late with no apologies. Dolor. Mucho dolor.
You know what the problem with Neurology is? Already, this is starting to sound suspiciously like a rant, but I'll continue, and promise to stop soon. OK, the problem is that out ability to pinpoint the root of people's problems in Neurology currently far outstrips our ability to fix them. It's like we give people these million-dollar workups, where everyone who walk in the door feeling weak is getting an MRI and carotid Dopplers and echocardiograms with the rest of the full stroke workup. And what happens when we do find the stroke? Well, we take reams and reams of pretty pictures of it so that we have something to talk about in rounds the next day. And we give the patient aspirin and hope that they recover on their own. Aspirin. I have aspirin in the bathroom cabinet, for chrissake. Sure, it's fun to talk about brain tracts and functional anatomy, and ways to pinpoint the lesion through the millions of ultra-nitpicky tests we do on patients in Neuro. But in the end, it's frustrating, because it just feels like working on a giant (if you will) brainteaser. Actually, Neurology to me feels like the world's biggest crossword puzzle, and even if you work all day and night and fill in all the answers, the words just spell out, "you'd better hope the patient recovers function on her own, because you sure as hell aren't doing much for her."
Tonight I admitted a 35 year-old woman who just suffered a massive stroke. Half of her body is paralyzed. We gave her some aspirin.
Thankfully, some patients, even more than I expected, really do get a lot better after neurological insults. And I know that there's lots more to Neurology than strokes, it just happens that I work in the hospital, and that's all that I see. That, and seizures. And headaches. It's a grab bag of fun!
Please do not e-mail me and tell me that you think my negativity is so jive and that I don't deserve to be a doctor with that kind of attitude, because medicine isn't always about curing, it's about
helping, tra la la la! Hey, I know that stuff.
I had to write those sappy med school application essays once too, you know. But this is my page, and I can complain all that I want. If you want to write some happy fuzzy bunny webpage about medicine, you can do that too.
In other news, they've been selling these Cadbury Crème Egg knock-offs in the hospital gift shop. They're made by Nestle, and they're basically Baby Ruth Eggs and Butterfinger Eggs. Do not buy them. They are really quite incredibly bad. Poor chocolate quality, skimpiness of fillings, mostly hollow core. How dare they try to foist these off as Easter candies? Jesus would never want his holiday affiliated with such an inferior product. I know because he told me so. Peeps, on the other hand, he likes.
It actually occurs to me that I've been eating quite a lot of candy lately. Probably too much. Maybe I should cut back.
What you will need:
- A whole mess of curry powder
- Chicken parts (I prefer drumsticks, especially if they have been pre-skinned, because I hate skinning chicken, what with the sliminess and the feather bumps and all)
- At least 4 large potatoes
- 6 cups of chicken broth (try to find the kind that comes in one giant can--easier that way, and less work with the can opener)
- Half a medium-sized yellow onion
- A few cloves of garlic
- Other vegetables (good ones to include are carrots, peas, chickpeas, and cauliflower... not necessarily all of them at the same time, just pick a few that you like)
- Some vegetable oil, and a dab of butter if you like to live the lush life
What to do:
Peel the potatoes and cut them up into biggish cubes. Throw them in a pot with the chicken broth and turn on the magic flames of cookery. Let it go, baby.
Cut up the onions into little bits. Not confetti, but smallish. Smush up the garlic cloves and chop those up too. Put the vegetable oil and/or the butter into a pan and heat it up. Throw the onions and garlic into the pan with a bunch of curry powder. How much? I don't know. Use your judgement. Enough to make stuff look nice and yellow. Stir that stuff around until it looks and smells cooked.
Did you wash the chicken? Good. Now put the chicken into the pan with all the onions and garlic and stuff. Throw more curry powder on there and get the chicken all coated and yellow-looking. Cover the pan and let it cook for a while. After a few minutes, flip the chicken pieces over and let it cook some more. It doesn't have to cook all the way through, since you're still going to be stewing it for hours, but just cook it some. Smush it around in the onions and garlic for a flavor infusion!
OK. When you're done with this, take the whole contents of the pan--chicken, onions, garlic and all--and dump it into the pot with the potatoes and chicken broth. This should be boiling like crazy by now. Now, also add the veggies you selected (carrots, peas, what have you) and dump those into the pot too. Add a bunch more curry powder. I don't know how much. I suggest frequent tastings and your own judgement.
This whole mess will be looking very watery, like soup, but I swear to you, once the potatoes start to fall apart, the starch will thicken things up but good. You can help things along by adding some cornstarch, if you want. Also, you can add some chili pepper to spice up your life, if you like it like that. Simmer that sucker on low heat for a couple of hours (maybe 2 or 3) with frequent stirring so that potato gunk doesn't burn and crust on the bottom of the pot. Serve over rice or bread with some nice veggies on the side.
Serves: Oh, I'd say six. If you live alone, you'll be eating this for days. Or, hey, pop some in the freezer for those lazy days you just don't feel like cooking (which for me, frankly, is every day).
(The second recipe in a
series for lazy people who don't actually enjoy cooking, but do very much enjoy eating.)