Asthma Attacks and Breakfast Sandwiches

As a doctor, I’m supposed to get all of the details about why you’re seeing me. However, sometimes I really don’t need to get the entire story.

While on a stint in the ED, I had a patient coming in for an asthma attack while I was working the overnight shift. It involved a bit of drama at first, with the patient quite a bit anxious and hyperventilating. It also didn’t help that the woman with him was prancing around braless in pajamas.

When he finally was breathing like a normal person, I started asking questions. Now, it’s normally a sign of poorly controlled asthma if it wakes you up from sleep.  That was not the case.

Me: So, sir, did this asthma attack wake you up?

Patient: Nope.

Me: So you were awake at 3:30am?

Patient: Yup.

Me: And why were you….?

The patient and the woman looked at each other. And then I got it.

Me: Oh. Okay. You don’t need to say anything more.

Patient: Well my fiance here had started in this position and..

Me: Sir, I said I got it. I don’t need any more details. Do you often have asthma attacks during this activity?

Patient: Nope, but this time was different because…

Me: Sir, as I just said, I don’t need the details. The basic story is fine.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a medical code for “sex-induced asthma,” so I had to send him off with the simple diagnosis of “asthma attack.” And you at least have to give the fiance props for spicing things up to a point that her man couldn’t breathe…

Morning After Breakfast Sandwich

Take that, mickey-d’s…just don’t serve to anyone with an egg or gluten allergy!

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 whole-wheat english muffin, split
  • butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 3 thin slices good salami
  • 1 slice smoked gouda (or whatever other type of good melting cheese you have on hand…even american!)
  • 1 slice tomato
  • salt
  • pepper

How-to

  1. Toast an english muffin in a toaster or toaster oven
  2. Spray a small non-stick pain with butter spray (I know I normally tell you never to do this because it ruins your pans, but I have a specific small egg pan that I use just for this- they’re pretty cheap at your large big box store- and so I don’t feel bad about replacing it more often) and play over medium heat
  3. Crack an egg into the pan and break the egg yolk immediately (I’ll use a spatula or even the egg shell). Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
  4. After 1-2 minutes, flip the egg and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (or whatever your desired egg consistency is). Top with the slice of cheese so it melts.
  5. Place the salami slices on the bottom of the toasted english muffin. Top with the egg covered with cheese, tomato slice, and the top of the english muffin.
  6. Enjoy! These also are easy to eat while driving on the way to work, or put into a container to eat once you arrive!

Art Museums and Chicken Salads

There are things that you just don’t want to know about your teachers. You especially don’t want to see them.

French was my foreign language of choice (I also couldn’t take Spanish because I have no ability to roll my R’s, and that was a requirement at my school to take Spanish). However, due to a number of wacky circumstances, I had 8 different French teachers in 5.5 years of taking French, all of whom liked to start over at the very beginning. That essentially means that I still excel at conjugating verbs, but that’s about the extent of my skill set. (I can read some things in romance languages, though).

Okay, back from my tangent.

In high school, our teacher decided that we should take a trip to the DIA, since they were having an exhibit of French painters. We obviously all decided to go, since this was a full-day field trip and what high schooler doesn’t want to skip out on the rest of their classes?

That morning, we all hopped on the bus for our hour long trip to Detroit. To our surprise, our French teacher decided to bring her husband along on our trip.

Now, I should take a quick moment to state that my French teacher was a very socially awkward women in her mid-60s, and that her husband was a very round and also very socially awkward man in his mid-60s.

We got to the museum without any issues and spent the next few hours wandering around looking at art. However, it was soon time to move on to the next attraction, and our French teacher and her husband were nowhere to be found.

That is, until someone went and used the restroom. And reported hearing weird noises and two pairs of shoes in a stall.

We thus were all waiting outside the men’s room when my teacher’s husband, and then my teacher, emerged.

French class was very awkward for the rest of the year.

Socially Appropriate Chicken Salad

always appropriate for any occasion

Ingredients

  • 2 c chicken, shredded
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c fat free sour cream
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Mix together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, and tarragon.
  2. Add in chicken, celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries. If mixture is too thick, thin out with some skim milk.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

Childhood Pictures and Sloppy Joes

Parents take a lot of pictures. However, they don’t always realize how embarrassing those can be.

As a kid, my father must have kept every photography store in business in Michigan and New Jersey. There are hundreds of hours of video tape of me crawling around naked in our living room. And I’m not kidding- HUNDREDS of hours. It might have been cute to watch 30 seconds of this footage, but not 300 hours.

There are also pictures. And boy, are there some bad ones.

My parents had taken lamaze classes with the neighbor family four houses down the street, and thus their son and I were destined to become friends (or at least for the first four years until they moved). We did everything together, which my father proudly documented.

Including taking baths.

The most infamous is simply known as the “bath picture,” even though there are two different ones. Both pictures feature my friend the neighbor boy, his 2-year-old sister, and me (we were both about 3 years old at the time). I at least had the sense of decency to try to cover up in one of the pictures with a washcloth, but I failed miserably in that quest.

My brothers first found the picture when I was 10 or 12 years old, and obviously loved teasing me about how naughty I was for being naked with a boy at the young age of 3. (They were the fortunate ones- my father had finally realized by the time they were born that it wasn’t quite necessary to document EVERYTHING). My mother and I kept trying to hide the pictures, but my brothers would always find them and show them to anyone who would look while snickering endlessly.

The true highlight of the story, though, is that I didn’t see my former neighbor for 18 years after they moved, and then we ended up attending the same medical school. And the first thing he said to me after not seeing each other for all that time?

“So, do your siblings tease you endlessly to this day about that bath picture, too?”

That’s right, after 18 years, the first thing he brought up was a naked picture of the two of us. Like I said, some things will always come back to haunt you.

All Grown Up Spicy Sloppy Joes

much better than man’wich

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground meat (you can substitute with 2 14-oz cans black beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 c salsa (I prefer hot, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 c tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hamburger buns (I prefer whole wheat)
  • Cheese of your choice, if desired

How-to

  1. In a large skillet, saute together ground meat (I normally prefer lean ground turkey), onion, and bell pepper over medium heat. If making these vegetarian and using black beans instead, saute the beans (rinsed and drained) with the bell pepper and onion in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  2. When meat is brown and veggies are soft, remove from heat and drain off any grease. If using black beans, saute until veggies are soft and beans are warmed through.
  3. Return to medium heat and stir in garlic powder, salsa, worchestershire sauce, chili powder, and tomato sauce. If mixture is still too thick, add 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  4. Serve on your favorite buns (I prefer to serve these open face on toasted whole-wheat buns) and cheese if desired.

Talking and Sandwiches

Some people talk.  Some people talk a lot.  And other people talk at inappropriate times.

A truly memorable experience, and not in a good way, was the Detailed Talker.

This guy had a running commentary to everything he did the second he started kissing you.  “Oh baby [and to start, I HATE being called baby], I’m going to do this to you now.  And then I’m going to do this.  And after that this is going to happen. I’m going to treat you so right because I’m so awesome at all of this.”

During this one-sided conversation, where I was told how great this guy thought he was at the things he was doing and about to do, all I could think was “SHUT. UP.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, some talking is good, but TOO MUCH talking makes me want to scream. And not in a good way. Plus it’s great that you have self-confidence in what you do, but let ME tell you if it’s good- I don’t want you to tell me it’s going to be good (which even more disappointingly, it wasn’t).

Do I even need to say that it only took one detailed talking experience for me to know there wouldn’t be another?

Keep Them Quiet Tomato-Turkey Panini

Ingredients (makes 2 sandwiches)

  • 2 tbsp light olive-oil mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 regular Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices turkey breast
  • 4 slices french bread
  • 1 oz mozzarella, shredded (optional)
  • Cooking spray (preferably olive oil in a spray bottle)

How-to

  1. Mix together mayonnaise, parmesan, garlic powder, parsley, and pepper and spread on bread.
  2. On top of the cheese mixture, place 2 slices turkey breast and half of the tomato slices. Top with half of the mozzarella and the other piece of bread. Repeat for the other sandwich.
  3. Spray each sandwich on both sides with a quick squirt of cooking spray (I prefer olive oil in a spray bottle but feel free to use whatever you have)
  4. Place both sandwiches in a preheated panini maker or a fry pan over medium heat. If using a fry pan, start with the tomato side down.  Cook until the bread is golden brown (normally 3-5 minutes in a panini maker, or 2-3 minutes per side on a fry pan).  For the fry-pan version, weigh down the sandwiches with another pan topped with a can of vegetables to achieve a more panini-style sandwich.