Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You Might Need To Take A Bathroom Break At Some Point Herein

Shit, y'all...I don't even know where to START. Get ready for some horrendous verb tense problems and one monster of a blog post.

I guess we'll go back to last Thursday. The night of the vice presidential nominee debate? I don't think there's anything really left to say about that. We played Palin Bingo at Liz & Sean's where Audrey was visiting with Dash, who might be the cutest baby in the world right now. Liz made a fab dinner (roasted pepper bruschetta, pesto blended with ricotta on farfalle, parmesan baked chicken). D. was recording Opal Fly in our living room that night.

Oh but WAIT...before all of that. Thursday afternoon around 4:15pm..I'm tying up loose ends at work, thinking about going to Liz's for dinner, seeing Audrey and Dash, and playing Palin Bingo. My phone rings and it's one of the doctors at our university health center. She tells me that a student of mine has an infected lesion in her jawbone and wants me to take her to the Emergency Room. My heart sinks. The last time I took a student to the ER, we were there for eight hours and I didn't get home until past 1:00am. I ask her if there is anything else we could do. Okay, she says, she'll call to see if we can get in with an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor first thing in the morning. She calls back; that'll work.

So Friday morning I pick up my student, and we go through the whole paperwork-wait-wait-oh here's our name, go into an exam room-but still more-wait-wait routine. The doctor finally sees my student and immediately declares that he can't do anything for her, that she'll need to see an oral surgeon. So he calls the oral surgeon's, where they're able to fit her in, but we have to get over there RIGHT NOW. I drive her across town for more of the same hurry up-wait-wait mentioned above. All sorts of other people, going up the chain of command, come in to look in her mouth. Finally the surgeon comes in and decides he wants to do a biopsy. She's had tumors in her mandible before but he wants to know why they seem to come back. She's had a biopsy before (benign), but that was in another country and she doesn't have the slides from that procedure.

We make plans for the biopsy - the doctors and nurses speak in English, I translate into ESL for her because I don't speak Spanish, sign paperwork, discuss billing, medication, and clarify the instructions.

We drive home. As soon as she's settled back at her apartment I have to bust ass to get finished at work so that I can run home, change into a rehearsal dinner outfit and then drive the 3 hrs to Little Rock.

(Wedding weekend covered in the post below)

Monday morning I rush Stella to school, pick up my student, take her to the oral surgeon's, read three issues of People (feeling progressively ickier as a result), then get her recovery instructions, medication, milkshake, and ice pack. Someone has to keep watch over her for six hours. I guess that'll be me. I stop to get the laptop so I can do satellite work while looking after her. I take advantage of the quiet apartment coupled with stormy weather by getting a lot of writing done for work. Her roommates return in the evening. I hand over the duties and rush to pick up Stella and take her with me back to work. Another student due to arrive in two weeks had her visa denied. I have to write a quick letter in her defense and fax it to consulate in China. Sometimes it can take 30 minutes to send a fax to China. It goes through. It's now nearly 6pm.

I decide to call my mother, to whom I haven't spoken in nearly 2 years. I invite her over for dinner. On our way home D. calls; he'll be home much sooner than I thought. "My mom's coming over." I announce. He hasn't met her yet. He had a 30 minute warning.

Stella and I walk into the house and are bombarded by THE WORST SMELL EVER TO BE SMELLED BY HUMAN NOSES. Oh no. Please, no. But oh yes, there is a puddle in the living room. Lucy must've had a case of explosive diarrhea. Who knows how long it's been there. Long enough to give this vilest of poops a chance to seep into every carpet fiber. The smell makes me gag. But I clean it up, scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees. I lit every candle in the house. D. and my mom walk in at the same time. Introductions are made. Conversation flowed, for the most part, with not as many awkward lags as you might think.

On to Tuesday (was that really only yesterday?). I got to work early and, first thing, jotted down a massive to-do list. Methodically I ticked it off. One foot in front of the other; a task at a time. I went home that evening and was too tired to watch the debate. Nooo!! But it was physically impossible to keep my eyes open. My cell phone rings at 9:30pm, waking me up. The sick student's roommates are calling. They relay that she wants to see a doctor - right now. Sigh. I throw on clothes and go to her apartment, stopping at Walgreen's for OTC remedies.

We give her Russian acetaminophen, Chinese diarrhea medicine, and good ol' American Pedialyte. I stay long enough to make sure she has started to relax and her fever went down and she has been reassured that she won't die. (aside: I really didn't mean to mention diarrhea twice - oops three times now - in this post. How thematically apropos). Of course then I was awake and couldn't get to sleep until past 2am.

6:00am this morning, NPR blares about another financial institution crumbling, if you consider Iceland a financial institution. I miraculously have time for a shower, a cute outfit, makeup, AND breakfast. At work I get word from the roommates that my student is still running a fever and not feeling well. I put out a bunch of fires, answer approximately 25 emails, buy a ticket from Guangzhou to XNA (the Chinese student got her visa on her 2nd try - and we got a personal letter thanking us for our effort from the consulate! That never happens!), and finalize the calendar for our upcoming term. Pant, pant. At 10:30 I go to check on the patient. She's drinking plenty of liquids and even eating a little. Things are looking up! I go home to collapse for a short cat nap I'd planned for my lunch break and accidentally sleep until 3:00pm. I decide I'll stay late at work to make up for it.

At 5:00pm the nurse from the oral surgeon's office calls. Seems my student called and is incredibly anxious because she still feels pretty sick. So I GO BACK to get her and take her to the MediServe clinic. She gets a shot and MORE prescriptions and I take her shopping for soft foods. I can hardly stand up at this point. Holy crap.

I take her BACK HOME, cross my fingers that this will be the last time I see her tonight, and stop by the health food store on the way to my home.

Stella and I have decided to go 90% vegetarian - for health and ecological reasons. The weather has turned crisp this week. I can't wait to cook fall foods. The health food store had a ton of colorful, inspiring produce - local too! I knew I wanted to make some sort of fast, easy homemade pizza. I grabbed whatever looked good and the recipe started to form in my head.

If I had to describe my fantasy restaurant menu, I would use the words "rustic," "healthy," and maybe "a little surprising." I think those words could apply to this meal. I wanted to bring out the richer, sweeter, mellower flavors so I roasted whole garlic cloves, heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced red pepper, and sliced fennel bulb. I brushed all the veggies in olive oil and sprinkled then with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I roasted them at 450 for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime I toasted pine nuts, sliced some crimini mushrooms and plucked some basil leaves.

I couldn't resist this rainbow chard. Pretty food is so good to eat.

I blanched the chard and sliced it up. I peeled the roasted red peppers. I used a pre-made whole grain pizza crust, found in the tomato sauce section at Ozark Natural Foods. I brushed the crust with olive oil, sprinkled some mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago cheeses on it and then sort of spread out the mushy, roasted cherry tomatoes and soft garlic cloves around on the crust. Then I layered the sliced fennel, chard, crimini mushrooms, pine nuts, basil, and the sliced roasted peppers. On top went more cheese. Stuck it in a 425 oven for 15 minutes.

OH MY GOD, Y'ALL. Smoky, sweet, garlicky, crunchy....and good for you too!!

Check out this impulse buy - ice cream made from coconut milk!? I nearly died when I saw it because it combines my two favorite things on earth: coconut and mint chocolate chip ice cream. So it's completely non-dairy but has a rich, full flavor. It definitely tastes vaguely of coconut, but the good, pure kind of coconut - not the nasty, sickly sweet tanning lotion flavor you find in, say, Almond Joy. The mint was crisp and clean. The chocolate chips are thin and crunchy and dark chocolatey. Perfect. This gets an A++ in my book!

The meal was ideal for collapsing on the couch to watch Korto hang on by the skin of her teeth. But she made it to the top three and will show at Bryant Park! I begrudgingly accept that Kenley is also in the final three. That feathered wedding dress was breathtaking.

Tomorrow is another doctor's appointment (but of course...). Friday is camping with 20 students at White Rock. Saturday is hearing new music and meeting new people. Sunday is a farewell brunch. Then it just keeps on going....


Alisson said...

WoW. You are an amazing woman!

stephanie said...

The next time I am up late with insomnia I will come back to read this again. Man, this made me tired. And hungry for veggie pizza.

I'm loving these cool evenings - it should be perfect fall camping weather.

Alannah said...

I think it took me like 2 1/2 hours to write that post.

I am in love with that pizza. It was still delicious as leftovers today.

I'm having fun working within the boundaries of vegetarianism. Of course it's only been a few days. Tonight it was curried lentils, cucumber yogurt raita, brown basmati saffron rice. And of course more of that coconut ice cream, my new most favorite thing ever.

I'm looking forward to going camping with the students...I think Stella's bringing a friend. I'm so ready to build a campfire!