Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thank you for smoking

My mother is a nurse in a low-acuity PACU in Colorado. Hospitals, like happy families, are all alike--for instance, all nurses' lounges accumulate little treats on the desk that, unless clearly labeled, are assumed to be fair game. So it was not unusual that Mom, upon seeing some gum in a cute little package on a desk at the nurses' station, took out two pieces and chowed down. It was unusual that she shortly thereafter became tremulous, diaphoretic, tachycardic, nauseated, lightheaded... and discovered the gum was nicotine gum. She got so sick she had to end her shift early and, after a period of significant discomfort, crash in a recovery chair (per my copy of Goldfrank's*, nicotine causes a biphasic reaction with first activating, then sedating symptoms). Her supportive care consisted of supine positioning, sleep, and ginger ale. Go on, laugh; I certainly did, at least as soon as she assured me she was fine.

Speaking of terrible things that can happen to your lungs, I searched for a picture of "currant jelly sputum" online and got this little guy:

Armadillos may carry leprosy, but Klebsiella? Not to my knowledge. A quick click explained everything.

And speaking of what not to do: do not use the last of your cultured butter to make hollandaise sauce. It will taste like delicious fresh buttermilk, but it will not go well on youcrêpes with goat cheese, capers, and crispy kale chiffonade.

Before you criticize me for not folding the crêpes into neat triangles comme on fait en France, please note that in the background was another cooking crêpe and rapidly cooling hollandaise. Nevertheless, I wish I'd done this as a savory mille-crêpe filled with whipped goat cheese instead of pastry cream. Next time!

Also, before next time, I'm shelling out for an offset spatula.

*Despite the fact that I ultimately chose neurology, the authors of this textbook remain some of the clinicians I admire the most. Toxicologists are very smart and have lots of fun with what they do while also being very good at it.

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