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


  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!

Hallucinations and Frittatas

People like to offer me their son’s hands in marriage. Unfortunately, I can never take them seriously.

When I was on my Psychiatry rotation, I did 2 weeks on Psych consults. Now, when most people think of psychiatry, they think of crazy people in a psych ward with soft padded walls. What you don’t realize is that you can only be in a psych ward if you have no other medical conditions, and that many of the drugs that we give patients to treat their medical conditions or relieve pain after surgery can cause “drug induced psychosis.”

Such was the case with one particular patient. For him, the drugs we had to give him to treat his condition had also induced a week of mania. He kept talking very quickly and kept professing his love to his entire medical team, to the point where he had to be restrained in bed to prevent him from constantly hopping out (and potentially injuring himself and others) to run down the hall and hug people.

He also thought that he was the King of England and was head of the United States Navy. I was offered the spot of Princess and my own ship.

The first time we entered his room, he made all of us line up so he could evaluate us, and then he pointed at me.

Patient: You!

Me (questioning): Me?

Patient: You are perfect for my son!

Me (confused): Me?

Patient: You will be a princess!

Me (surprised): Me?

Patient: And you will have both a husband and a ship!

Me (incredulous): Huh?

Patient: He is 35 and has never not failed at a relationship, but you’re going to be a doctor so you will be perfect. Besides, you will be a princess! And have your own ship!

Wife: Unfortunately, he’s not hallucinating about our son’s relationship issues. (to her husband) Honey, our son is 45. And he might have better dating luck if he didn’t still live at home with us or got a job.

We went through this on a daily basis until the son was finally there during one of our visits.

And the wife was totally correct in her assessment.

Meet the Parents Caprese Frittata

no oven required!


  • 10 in nonstick pan with lid
  • Olive oil spray
  • 10 grape tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 2-3 oz fresh mozzarella, diced to the same size as the tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Fresh-cracked Pepper
  • Salt


  1. Spray 10 inch pan with olive oil (put your own in a spray bottle- it’s healthier!)
  2. Place pan over medium-low heat. Add tomatoes.
  3. Mix together eggs, pesto, and milk. Add a few twists of fresh-cracked pepper.
  4. Pour egg mixture on top of tomatoes. Arrange pieces of mozzarella artfully across the dish (this might take 1-2 minutes, but that’s okay!).
  5. Cover with lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until eggs are set.
  6. Slide out of pan, cut into wedges, and serve! Salt if desired (the addition of the pesto normally means you don’t need it)

Note: If you are using a 12-in pan, increase ingredients to 15 tomatoes, 3-4 oz mozzarella, 4 eggs, 3 tbsp pesto, and 2 tbsp milk. If your eggs are on the smaller size, increase by an additional egg.

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)


  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.