Friday, November 25, 2011

A memorable patient!

     I announced about a year ago that I would use the Caduceus to announce postings that are medically related, or that relate to my life as a physician. (Posting for Nov 10, 2010: An Obituary Tells a Story). After that posting, I went on to research the Caduceus and discovered I was way off base. The symbol that I thought represented medicine was not the Caduceus or Staff of Hermes but rather the above symbol, the Rod of Asclepius. (Posting July 7, 2011: Medical Confusions: Staff of Hermes vs Rod of Asclepius). So from here forth, I will use the above correct symbol of medicine when my posting relates to that topic.
     Read on for a story of one of my more memorable patients.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Big Turkish Shindig!

     I want to tell you about the performance/dinner party that I held in my home a couple weeks ago on Halloween eve, October 29. This turned out to be a very interesting evening, I think.
     This all started when Sky Schultz, a member of my Spirit Mind Body Group did a performance at one of our meetings of his look at Rumi poetry combined with a light and humorous presentation. Sky has a long repertoire of humorous presentations. We saw one on Rumi and a second one on the pithy writings of Mark Twain. During one of these presentations, Sky cooperated with Karen Kolberg who recites, or really acts out Hafez poetry from Persia. After many complements on these two performances at our group meeting, Sky expressed a desire to get back into his performance artistry. I decided that our home and our recent experience with a trip to Turkey could provide a very adequate venue for Sky and Karen's return to the public stage. I began to plan.
     I knew I wanted to invite past and present members of the Spirit Mind Body Group. But I also wanted to include some doctor friends with whom I used to work. Unfortunately many of the those I wished to include had other obligations for the evening, but I still managed a small group of  docs and their guests. I put together a very attractive invitation with a monochrome photo of Rumi's tomb and museum in Konya, Turkey which we had visited during our recent trip to Turkey. I wanted people to get to our home in time to see the lake in the light. We decided that we would have two performances, each about an hour long, one in the late afternoon, and one in the evening, preceded by appetizers, with dinner in between the two performances and dessert and coffee after the second performance. This would allow people great flexibility: they could come for the first performance and dinner, or dinner and the second performance, or even later for the second performance and dessert afterwards. Or they could come and stay for the whole shebang. There would be time for socialization before, between and after the performances. I wanted people to be able to sit down to eat and to sit to hear the performances so this required some shuffling of chairs back and forth between the dining table and the great room where we set Sky and Karen up to perform.

     I asked for a $15.00 to $20.00 donation to be directed entirely to the performers. I was familiar with this type of request based on several musical performance parties that we have attended. People are usually quite willing to contribute especially if they know the performer will receive it all. I donated my home and my considerable time and money to purchase, prepare and serve the food at the various times.

     I found a place on the Internet with various Turkish recipes and utilized several of them. I started making up those things I could do ahead about 2 weeks before the event. Also starting that far ahead, I had some outdoor work to do around our house to clean up some weeds and deadhead some of my perennials. A fall garden can look nice with the changing leaves and a few chrysanthemums around. But I had not done much work on my garden since the big push that occurs in June. A little tidying up went a long way to welcoming my guests as they strolled up the driveway and to the front door. As always several wanted to walk through my beds and gardens to see what was blooming and I think a couple or two even walked out to the bluff over Lake Michigan. This always happens so I knew this clean up would make my beds that much more enjoyable.
     The site on the Internet with the Turkish recipes is: Binnur's Turkish Cookbook
From this site I used the recipes for Roasted nuts, for Turkish couscous (bulgur), for chicken shish kabob, and iskender. For dessert I used the recipe for Stuffed apricot dessert.

     This party was a lot of work for me. First there was the organizing and inviting. Then the preparation of the gardens and house. And then there was the cooking! This was more cooking than I had done in a long time. I planned this so that I could do as much of the food preparations ahead of time. About 10 days before the party I roasted the nuts and put them in tins. I also made the chicken kabobs and froze them. Starting 5 days before the party, I put together the tenderloin and ground beef to make the iskendar and froze it. It turned out that the recipe in Binnur's cookbook intended the meat to be a much smaller piece than mine. It became very difficult to thinly slice the frozen tenderloin so I could saute it. That took a lot of effort that last day. I made the bulgur ahead of time and only added the fresh scallions and tomatoes that last morning. The vegetable salad had to be all cut up that morning of also. I was able to make the stuffed apricots ahead of time. That recipe called for dried apricots that you rehydrate overnight. I stuffed them with mascarpone cheese instead of clotted cream which was called for because I thought that would stand up to making ahead better, and indeed I think it did. I purchased a large fresh fruit tray, and I also purchased the baklava. My husband made the hummous the day of the party, and I had toasted the pita pieces with olive oil and za'atar a couple days ahead of time. As you can see all these dishes and condiments were planned and orchestrated in a rotating fashion starting about 10 days ahead of the party. Never have I done such a complex menu.

   Click read on for an explanation of the menu that I put out for people explaining and documenting the authentic Turkish food.

Nov 19, 2011: On Growing Old, On Being a Patient from Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002.

     I have been delinquent in writing on this post for a while. I have no excuse. No recent lengthy travel like my last gaps. We are all healthy. I was just lazy and decided to take a break. It happens.
     I decided in order to get back into the swing of regular writings, I would take it easy this time and just use what someone else has written. The source of this item is a place where many of you probably do not read: Annals of Internal Medicine, March 19, 2002, Vol 136, No. 6. 
Written by Myrtle Lundberg, Duluth, Minnesota 55805. Written for a regular feature called: On Being a Patient. Printed by permission of Annals of Internal Medicine.