Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"A son is a son 'till he takes a wife...

a daughter is a daughter all of her life."

Just last week a friend and I were holding and playing with our infant sons on a play-date, recalling this old adage and pondering just how distanced we might eventually be from the current objects of our hearts' greatest joys.  We spoke with deflated acceptance of the fact that we generally need to remind our (admittedly abnormally busy) husbands to send cards and call on their mothers' birthdays and Mother's Day.  We related the chatty closeness we each have with our own mom and acknowledged that any hopes of such tight bonds with our grown-and-married sons were most likely futile.

Oh don't get us wrong; we love our sons with our whole hearts, about 1,000%.  But with a daughter the assumption is your relationship will grow, mature, and deepen over time; she will ultimately forever be your best friend and closest confidante, and you hers.  With a son, sadly (but rightly) you know that such is not likely to be the case.  Instead, you're braced for a gradual, bittersweet "letting go" as he makes his way in the world.  As you pour your heart and soul into him day after day, hour upon hour, sacrifice upon sacrifice you know:  Someday he will summon every ounce of the love, care, sweat and blood that you so tenderly, laboriously, and selflessly poured into him and he will (most likely) bestow all of that onto another woman, loving her with his all as you first loved him. 

But you don't resent this.  Your love for your him is far greater than your love for yourself and so your very deepest, most intense wish is for the "story to end" with him being happy and fulfilled, and that means independent.  You also know that the happiest men are happily married, and so you assume hope that your current efforts will "always be with him" as they enable him to find a loving wife he adores and to be the best husband and father he can be.  Indeed, should such efforts pay off in those ways, they would remain with him longer than you yourself ever could.

And so even as you parent your little son with the bittersweet knowledge that he will one day "leave his mother and father, and cleave to his wife" (Gen. 2-24) you're happy.  Happy to have him for however long he's yours, happy to mother him, happy to snuggle him, fulfilled.  For even after he's gone off into the world, the foundation you built for him - good and bad, but hopefully mainly good - will inform his choices, support him in rough times, and teach him how to be.  Your efforts will pay off for him, and that's why you're making them.

Yes, a son may be a son 'till he takes a wife.  But a mother is a mother all of her life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Crazy-Easy YUMMY Pie Crust and AMAZING Fresh Berry-Rhubarb Pie

Afraid of making pies?  Don't be!!

Oh it's easy to be intimidated.  A truly yummy pie crust is rare - so many are just dry and sort of icky.  So you assume there's a magical technique, and only sweet grandmothers who have been doing it for fifty+ years can get it right, right?  Wrong.  It's so, so easy.

Just use this 3-ingredient recipe (really!!) and follow the tips left by reviewers (make 1.5 times the recipe, add 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt, and stir the ice water and oil with a fork until creamy before adding).  You don't EVEN have to roll it out - you can just flatten half the dough as best you can, plop it in the pie dish, and pat with your fingers until it covers the dish and edges.  It tastes AMAZING.  Moist and flaky, my husband raves about it every time.

After you've pressed half the dough into your pie dish, fill the dish up using this amazing (and also crazy easy) recipe for Fresh Berry Rhubarb Pie.  It took first place in a national pie championship, and you won't be left wondering why.  My husband literally lost his train of thought after the first bite.  It was seriously SO good that I didn't even want ice cream; the ice cream detracted from the intense tangy berry taste and the perfect moist texture of the pie crust.   ** Note I did not bother refrigerating the berry/sugar mixture overnight (just a couple hours) and I did spoon all the berry juice into the pie with the berries.
Just Before Baking.

If you make this, do NOT underestimate (i.e., omit) on the lemon juice/butter addition.  And be sure to add real lemon juice, NEVER use the bottled stuff!!!  Adding lemon juice to other fruit is a never-fail.  Add it to watermelon with a little sugar and you have a jolly-rancher-esque fruit salad.  Mix lemon juice, sugar, and fresh chopped mint and add that to any fruit salad for a fun, tasty twist on the ordinary.  Mmmm... can't wait for summer!

Oh yes, the lattice work.  It's not necessary - you could roll the rest of the dough flat and cover the top of the pie and cut slits to vent, as the berry-rhubarb pie recipe describes. 

BUT if you want to go the extra mile (ten feet, really - this may be even easier than a flat top) you can start by making the strips - just roll the other half of the pie dough into a circle about the size of the top of the pie.  Leave it kind of thick so it's easier to work with (and chewier, and yummier) and then slice strips with a knife.  Then you can either wing it, like I did, which as you can see made it kind of sloppy but still fine, or do it the right way - which is also not actually that hard, shown in this video
Fresh out of the oven.

The Close Up
Mmmm.  So good.
Best of all, this is a relatively heart-healthy dessert!  Only 1 tbsp of butter in the entire pie, and only 1 tsp of salt :)  And blackberries are packed with antioxidants, which are increasingly recognized as beneficial to heart health!

** Disclaimer:  This is not a low-calorie food.  Obviously!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sleep-Deprivation: T-3 Days

Do you ever wonder what would happen to you if you got about 4 hours of sleep a night for twelve nights in a row?  Personally I think I would probably die.  Or at least have a really icky stomach starting on day two out of twelve, and feel horrible in every imaginable way.  Then on days 5 and 6 I would start refusing to do anything but sleep, and shouting at anyone who bothered me - no matter what was on the line.  If I lived to see day 8, I'd definitely die by day 10.  Well, so far, on day 9, my husband is still alive.  But last night it became apparent:  We're nearing the end of what even he can do.

He got home early, 8:30 p.m.  It felt like heaven.  Dinner was still warm from ME eating it, and he gobbled some down.  Then he got to work on the computer, writing notes or whatever he still had left from the day.

Around 9:30 p.m., he threw himself on my lap on the couch and told me to wake him up "in an hour."  I knew right then that if successful at waking him, it would be a painful experience for both of us - painful for me just watching his body cling as fast and hard as it could to more sleep while his mind struggled to rouse it.  Ouch.

Indeed this is what occurred.  I tried several times to wake him, to no avail.  He'd bolt straight up from the anxiety of sleeping with the awareness that he "shouldn't" be, and then collapse in a heap again.  Let me tell you, watching someone you love be physically tortured with sleep deprivation, while worrying what it's doing to their long-term health, is enough to make any spouse fantasize about storming through the hospital and yelling at anyone potentially contributing.  Whiny and demanding patients... "the system," generally... any first year residents ("interns") who aren't quite working as hard for my husband as he did for his JAR's last year... anyone.

This is why I encourage anyone involved with a resident to watch the ABC series "Boston Med."  You can watch online here.  It's basically an 8-episode documentary covering the Harvard-affiliated hospitals MGH (my husband's hospital - yes, he knows most of the physicians in it; it was filmed the year before we got here) and Brigham and Women's.  Even if you're not into the medical scene, I still cannot recommend it enough.  I think I cried several times an episode, and I know plenty of non-medical people who absolutely loved it.  But for a medical spouse, significant other, or family member, it gives you a window into what it is they're DOING all those hours away from home.  The stories of the patients will touch your hearts... it's so much easier to sacrifice for a cause you understand and can clearly picture.  And you'll appreciate that the series also covers the spouses and significant others - and children.  Their sacrifices and experiences made it to ABC 10/9 central and attracted 5.37 million viewers, nearly tying Dancing With The Stars.  Pat yourself on the back!

Anyway, Boston Med will help... but in the moment of watching your spouse suffer, you'll still be a less-than-happy camper.  Last night, by the way, was not even as sleep deprived as my husband has ever been.  Twice last summer he averaged two hours of sleep a night for three nights in a row, which I believe was even worse.  Or maybe just equally bad.  In any case, for the first time ever I was unable to rouse my husband to finish his work.  On the forth "jolt" he bolted all the way to our bed.  This morning at 4:40 a.m., after I finally convinced him to wake up (about twenty minutes after his alarm originally went off - he costs me more sleep than Matthew!) I asked him if he had work left from last night and he got confused and said he thought I "made him go to bed."  Sigh.  We'll have to set that one straight if I'm still up when he gets home tonight!

The Usual Scene
Why is it this way?  That would make this blog post too long.  Suffice it to say that my husband believes in this system of training, and thinks that attending physicians (doctors who are all done with residency) who lack experience and/or short physician shifts causing complex hospitalized patients to be assigned a brand new doctor every 16 hours... the type of which they're about to implement next year... are more dangerous than having a tired resident but an attending who has "seen it all" in their own rigorous training.  And let's not forget that if we had more money or lived in a less-expensive town, the commute could be a lot less (or nothing, like it was in STL) and that would add 2-3 hours every night for sleeping.  But here we are!

So here's to hoping he makes it through the next three wake-ups, so he can sleep plenty on his weekend off.  I bought a cinnamon roll for a surprise tomorrow morning... poor guy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lawyer Clothes to Mommy Clothes...

Back in February of 2009 I spent twelve increasingly glorious days believing I had accidentally become pregnant.  When it all came crashing down, I was left with one thought only:  It was time to start trying.

But it wouldn't be until Christmas morning at the very end of that year that I'd finally find out I was pregnant.  For one thing, at my age then (28/29) it takes an average of 6 months of trying to conceive.  For another, my husband and I lived apart for five months while he started residency in Boston and I continued at my law firm in St. Louis, saving up money so we could make the move.  When my husband left for Boston that June and I still wasn't pregnant, I became pretty severely depressed.  Suddenly I was alone in a city far from my parents or husband, and putting aside that monthly hope of a baby for another half year - just as I was developing a growing paranoia of infertility.  The months seemed like eons...

And through all those 2009 months, I bought zero articles of clothing; I assumed I would soon be pregnant and my body would change.  During my pregnancy, I only bought maternity clothing (for obvious reasons) and only from Motherhood Maternity - and only about $100 worth (highly recommend a summer pregnancy - cheaper!).  Simple enough.  In September of 2010 I finally gave birth to little M, and sometime that November I stopped looking like I was still five months pregnant with him (this is no exaggeration).  Since that time, I still haven't purchased any non-maternity clothing.  Laziness?  Hard to try things on with a baby in tow?  Perpetually waiting to lose a little more of that baby weight?  Yeah.  But also... it's been over two years since I purchased any non-maternity clothes.  The big question is:  

Where do I shop now???

All 3+ years that I practiced law, I shopped at only one store:  Ann Taylor.  I've always been one to prefer owning fewer things but loving the few things I own, and if you really know that store, you can get great deals and never pay full price for anything.  Also, I need petites, and Ann Taylor has them.  I knew exactly my size there, everything fit perfectly.  

But let me tell you.  My cute little work sweaters are all collecting dust.  For one thing, they still don't fit right... and may never fit right.  For another thing, cotton/silk blends and cashmere (on sale!!) isn't the kind of thing you can get spit-up on every day.  

So now I'm at a loss.  Where do I shop??  

I finally went to the mall with my mother.  Out of habit, I tried Ann Taylor first.  Ha.  Not a single "Mommy" item to be found.  We then went to "New York & Co."  In the entire store I found a hoodie and matching tank top.  I figured those would work, and it was buy-one-get-one half off. 

But wearing them, I felt so .... odd.  Would my mom have shopped at this store?  I mean I was never that cool ever, and now I'm too old to be cool AND a mom.  
The new "Mommy" shirt.  Luckily M doesn't care what I look like!
Am I doomed to Lands End???

Today we're trying Ann Taylor Loft.  Fingers crossed... although we don't have one near us in Boston.