Monday, May 27, 2013

Can't unsee.

It's official: we're joining Andy's family at the end of June for a beach vacation in North Carolina! I haven't had a true vacation in... well, a very long time. I haven't gone swimming in even longer, and the house we're staying in has a pool. Luckily it's also near the ocean, because the CDC MMWR had to go ruin my fun with this. Yes, yes, I know we're constantly covered in a fine patina of dried skin, cockroach feces, and dirt, but that doesn't mean it's fun to be reminded that every time you swim in a pool, you're taking a bath in a nice, warm, highly dilute lake of sewage.

I returned to this recipe, since nothing says comfort like massive amounts of cheese and onions.

After way too much cheesy onion bread and popcorn while out with friends, though, I semi-atoned with this vegetarian Cobb salad with honey mustard dressing:

Yes, that salad is in a wok.

It's not the lowest-calorie of salads, but damn is it delicious. Protip: soak the onion in ice water for 15 minutes or so to remove the thiol funk. I tossed the tofu cubes in paprika, salt, and a bit of cayenne before baking, but I bet tempeh would work perfectly fine as well. There were some thyme and brown sugar sweet potato home fries at one point that disappeared into someone's gullet too quickly to end up on top of the salad.

Honey mustard dressing
1 egg yolk
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp honey (more to taste)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
ground mustard to taste
1 big clove garlic, minced very fine
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg yolk a bit. Add the olive oil a little drizzle at a time, whisking all the while; the goal is to emulsify some oil in the egg yolk without making a true mayonnaise. When the oil is in, add the remaining ingredients slowly, whisking constantly. I like my honey mustard more on the spicy side, so I added nearly a tablespoon of ground mustard for a serious kick.

Let's talk about this thread on reddit. I've got the good fortune of exercising in the male-dominated basement gym of one of the med school's dorms. Say what you will about the notorious redditor personality disorder (RPD), even people in my relatively limited community can be, well, creepy. I've only gotten sporadic direct comments that make me feel uncomfortable, and a few that don't ("Hey, I saw you in the gym yesterday. You've got mad high reps" is a great gender-neutral comment to offer a woman if you really want to say something, gentlemen!). But over and over I hear groups of guys having conversations that range from mildly misogynistic to prurient to just gross. Whether or not the rear end in question belongs to me is immaterial when some jerk four feet away from me is talking about the nurse he plans to manipulate into sleeping with him. I wish I were exaggerating. It's uncomfortable to hear, and it makes me wonder what gets said when I or the lady next to me aren't around. The point is, the combination of med school gym commentary and Internet evidence is making me very, very nervous about attending a Real Person Commercial Gym about one year (!) from now, particularly since Andy and I may not be in the same city for at least my first year of residency.

The other day, I was describing to a friend the use of non-antibiotic empiric therapy in simultaneously diagnosing and treating vague or inscrutable combinations of symptoms. He pointed out that most people would be unhappy if their doctors proffered this option. Who wants to feel like a guinea pig, much less a guinea pig whose doctor appears to be out of ideas? Despite having sworn to myself that I would not lose sight of what it's like not to think like a doctor, I didn't anticipate his discomfort with this concept (perhaps because he's a rather analytical person); after all, empirically administering a relatively safe medication saves the time, monetary costs, and risks of performing various diagnostic procedures that may or may not be definitive, and might be able to direct the physician to the most helpful diagnostic procedure. From my perspective, it's not tinkering at all, but I took a step back and realized that I'm no longer being careful to ensure that my patients don't feel as though we're playing fast and loose with their parts for our own curiosity, entertainment, or scientific satisfaction. I'm somewhat disappointed in myself.

Therefore, it is with the utmost solemnity and respect that I link you to this.

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