In February, I spent two weeks in the hospital – ushered in through the Emergency Room – and eleven days of that in critical care. The month's final week found me at home again, weak and tired. Throughout March, I have slowly crept out of that sudden, unexpected abyss, to re-orient, re-group. After about thirty years as an adult in excellent health under my own "alternative" recognizance, it was quite a shock to take up the identity of Hospital Patient and, then, Outpatient thereafter. I do have a background in Medicine, working for years with doctors, in and out of hospitals. I think this helped immensely; my hospital course was never scary for me.
Convalescence has been more challenging than hospitalization was. I have been visited by six different home healthcare professionals, two different unknown maids, three or four outside contractors and my apartment building's maintenance man a few times. I have taken regular pharmacy deliveries. I've had four appointments with three MDs and been to a laboratory to drop off a specimen. I've also shopped at the supermarket a couple of times, had a couple of friends over for dinner, and returned to work here and there.
In my lifetime, my Standard Operating Procedure has involved amassing tons of scholarship on any and every subject I encounter, and during the past 5 and a half weeks that's been my continued and constant practice. I have studied each drug I'm taking, each drug I took in the hospital (after remembering them!) (and there were many), each procedure I underwent in ER, ICU, TICU and on the ward; various hospital practices and protocols; the Hospitalist specialty; the Intensivist specialty; the history of Intensive Care; ICU nursing, and more. I've of course studied my own disease and conditions - their stages, causes, treatments and prognoses.
During my hospitalization I encountered the whole gamut of career-suitability of various practitioners, from shining examples of professionalism, to those with clearly inappropriate motives for being in health care; from the energetic and thorough to the lazy and disinterested, to the exhausted. As an outpatient and in-home consumer of Home Healthcare services, I've observed the same range.
And now? I enter another phase: No Longer Med-Free. While investigating their possible side-effects and interactions, and correcting the various nutrient-depletions they cause, I'm also physically processing new drugs, monitoring their effects in addition to monitoring vital signs and treating symptoms in non-Rx ways. Plus: I'm also having to make dietary and lifestyle adjustments. In the hospital, it was easier: All I had to do was let other people keep me alive.
We natural-types have to be on guard against disdain of the allopathic system's "Magic Pill" answers when a quick improvement is imperative. In the ICU, this was literally and immediately a matter of Life and Death. At home, while the stakes are less immediate, they are just as serious: The "right" medication can immediately restore function to an exhausted patient who is challenged or failing. Yes - under better circumstances, one has months to compare modalities, to experiment with supplements that are less toxic, and their dosages. For my part, I'm discovering that Rx meds are right for me NOW - because I haven't had the luxury of months or years to plan for new conditions and their treatments. I'm cutting myself that slack, knowing I can wean myself from them later, when I'm stronger and have emerged more completely from the convalescent stage. Perhaps I will blog about the process of jettisoning those crutches? We'll see.
Meanwhile, I count myself blessed to be under the oversight and care of a fine MD who is forthcoming, friendly, flexible, considerate and accessible. In his practice, he routinely uses diet, exercise/fitness and nutritional supplementation in addition to Rx meds and allopathic methods. I feel safe letting him share responsibility for my health at this point, because this flurry of self-education (while mentally fascinating) is unable to keep pace with the urgency of my situation and the variety and depth of medical/pharmacological knowledge required.
I'm blogging on a natural health site. I'm pursuing a Complementary Medicine program. Bear with me. Thanks.
Someone recently asked me how O can be both a recessive allele and the world's most common blood type. She had never heard of the Punnet Square, which, in my day, we all had to learn in 7th grade Science. I explained to her that two parents carrying recessive O alleles can produce an O child, even though neither is O; O's can show up as the children of 2 A's, 2 B's, etc.
Not everyone knows how to make or use the Punnet Square, but many wonder about the possible blood types for offspring of parents of the various types. Another question often posed is that of a parent's blood type when the type of the child and the other parent are known. Here's the handy-dandy Results Sheet for your reference:
O+O = 100% O
O+Ao = 50% A, 50% O
O+Aa = 100% A
O+Bo = 50% B, 50% O
O+Bb = 100% B
O+AB = 50% A, 50% B
Ao+Ao = 75% A, 25% O
Ao+Aa = 100% A
Aa+Aa = 100% A
Ao+Bo = 25% A, 25% B, 25% AB, 25% O
Ao+Bb = 50% B, 50% AB
Aa+Bo = 50% A, 50% AB
Aa+Bb = 100% AB
Ao+AB = 50% A, 25% B, 25% AB
Aa+AB = 50% A, 50% AB
Bo+Bo = 75%B, 25% O
Bo+Bb = 100% B
Bb+Bb = 100% B
Bo+AB = 25% A, 50% B, 25% AB
Bb+AB = 50% B, 50% AB
AB+AB = 25% A, 25% B, 50% AB
Note that these are odds, i.e., likelihoods, not actual results. For example, the four children of a Bo/Bo couple could be all B's, even though the likelihood of each child's being B was only 75%.
On a current Forum thread, a poster despairs of making tofu palatable for her A husband.
I didn't want to derail that thread, but I do want to tell what I've said to those who haven't yet found the keys to Delicious Tempeh as well:
1. Pay attention to brand. Different brands can have very different tastes.
2. Some brands have "flavored" (i.e., pre-marinated) varieties. These might actually be delicious. You could find one you use all the time.
3. With tofu: Density is an important factor. There is "firm" tofu. There is "silky" tofu...
4. With tofu: You've got to express its water before you cook it. In the package, it is soaking in liquid, and you have to press this out. You can put the block of tofu on a plate, then cover it with another plate, and put a weight on that upper plate. Periodically pour off the liquid that has come out, until no more water is expressed. Now you can work with the tofu.
5. Frying and baking are the methods that I find most successful with someone who "doesn't like" tofu. You want to BROWN the tofu, give it a little crust that will contrast with the inner soft chewiness.
6. Tofu will absorb and nicely reflect the flavors you cook with it, so choose your oil and other ingredients carefully.
This is a follow-up to my 1 November 2010 blog, "BTD or GTD?"
Then and there, I wrote, "The jury's still out."
Well: It's back.
For this gal, it's BTD all the way.
Nor did I ever get with the SWAMI program (the computer program for individualizing one's plan according to Dr. D'Adamo's post-Blood Type research).
Back in 1996-97, I was excited - nay, galvanized - by D'Adamo's bloodtype teaching. His 1996 groundbreaking book,Eat Right 4 Your Type, is still a best-seller - Number 212 in sales at Amazon, almost 15 years post-initial publication! - for a reason. It resonates, and works, for millions of us.
It's more than diet: It's thinking. It's a cohesive way of seeing human life, gene-groups and migrations. I've always found the Genotype classifications to be hazier. On D'Adamo's website's forum, Genotype-SWAMI adherents admit that their classifications keep changing, over time, with all sorts of variable conditions. It's a program that defies group classification, and that's fine - even preferable - for many who desire to keep monitoring those factors.
Even the title of Dr. D'Adamo's last book has changed - from The Genotype Diet (the one I bought in 2008) to Change Your Genetic Destiny. While Dr. D'Adamo is of course not claiming to be able to alter anyone's genes, he is linking diet to the possibility of facilitating or hindering susceptibilities to illness and "premature" aging that are genetically sourced. There are those who enjoy learning and knowing about glycation and methylation, but nowhere near as many as believe the Blood Type model appropriate for their needs.
Eat Right 4 Your Type is readable and understandable - and followed - by people all over the world. It isn't for lack of grey matter that I am more comfortable with it than with the mutable computer program. Among bloggers at D'Adamo's site, I can be counted on to espouse, promote, and guide in Dr. D'Adamo's Bloodtype teachings, with the occasional foray into the Genotype diet, perhaps just to mention my use of or reaction to a component of the "Nomad" program from time to time.
The ER4YT/LR4YT bloodtype system stood me in good stead for nine years before I became a blogger here, and continued after I bought The Genotype Diet two and a half years later.
I still assist newcomers to Dr. D'Adamo's bloodtype work. And the beat goes on.
What goes into the experience of being a chef? Depending upon whether you work privately or at a restaurant, many skills beyond simply "knowing how to cook" are required. Many TV reality shows that feature cooking spotlight some of the elements of the chef's panoply of skills / talents. I thought I'd outline many of them here, for easy reference.
First, there's The Kitchen.
Equipment: Knowledge / Familiarity; Use / Maintenance; Placement / Organization.
Layout / Flow Pattern: Pantry, Walk-in Fridge; Reach-in Fridge; Freeze; Deep-Freeze; Prep Stations; Garde-à-Manger / Service; Front of the House; Washing. ...etc.
Health: Product sealing / storage of foodstuffs.
Economic ordering; Seasonal ordering; Meal Planning with leftover-processing in mind; Date-marking of all foods.
Safety (High Hazard Potential)
2. Fire / Heat
3. Spills / Spatters
4. Emergency measures
Kitchen Comfort / Ergonomics / Mood:
Special flooring, stool(s), Music/sound, height/other adjustments. Special attire.
Teamwork: Roles, tasks, strengths/weakness
Supervision of employees: Many of whom are young, novices to work force/ethic.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Getting it all out at the same time and the right temperature:
Computing starting time, employee arrival time, delineating and assigning all prep tasks to right staff and at the right time. Proper estimation of execution time, knowledge of cooking methods' time requirements and ingredients' responsiveness to those methods. Different service requirements of a meal's various components. Warming and waitstaff issues.
FRONT OF THE HOUSE: Psychology Will Take You Far.
Understanding that there is a particular psychology with respect to Restaurants.
You're dealing with Hunger, which affects the mind and behavior and feelings. You're dealing with Taste, which is a very personal matter. You're dealing with style and aesthetics of presentation of that food. Then there's atmosphere. A well managed Front will be flexible to time of day (differences between, say, a Rush- and a Fringe- hour) and will be staffed by sales people (wait staff) that are well-educated about the menu. A good chef must take the time to offer waiter tastings and explanations.
Plus: Here in America, "The Customer Is Always Right" is the order of the day. You want a manager on the floor who abides by that, ensuring that customers walk out happy, even enthusiastic. This requires a commitment to the Whole Experience, from the welcome greeting through Food, Drink, Music, Mood, Service to Farewell.
THEATRE: The curtain goes up. The front door opens. The door between Front and Back of the House is thin but ever-present. The audience is "out there", though every now and again a customer will want to see the chef. One must be ready and happy to interact with him/her.
I'm not addressing the Food itself here. But having backup dishes and knowing how to materialize great food under urgent conditions, should these arise (and they will, they will) is a priceless skill to have. Think: Readiness to feed the 5000.
Restaurant Psychology stands the chef or restaurant manager in good stead for just about any interpersonal challenge life can hand one. Expectations around Food AND Retail AND Theatre are very, very high; people can be intense under the combined circumstances.
Restaurant work is stressful for the chef: Too much so for many. Some of us found certain areas wherein we tended to be blessed with miracles time and time again. For me, every night was full of these.
There are a number of those Reality Shows on TV. Chefs and ex-chefs watch them with a certain amount of relish and/or nostalgia for the crises and challenges we've faced and surmounted as a matter of course, as part-and-parcel of the job.
That said, we are still artists and care most of all about the food and - for me - the soulful, human enjoyment of it.
I hope this has conveyed some sense of what professional cooking entails. Kin'a makes you glad you're in your own kitchen, creating beautiful, healthful (diet-compliant?) leisurely meals for yourself and maybe a few others?