This year has blown through our house like a typhoon on a south sea island leaving destruction in its wake. Last night was only the second time I slept in my wonderful bed with the perfect pillows since the calendar flipped from 2012 to 2013. Where do I begin? I returned from a week plus with my parents in the Bay Area over the Christmas holiday. Once home, I repacked and was on the road again the following day for some time with my daughter and her family. After an activity packed time in the Sacramento area I was soooo glad to get back home the day before New Year’s Eve and finally get out my suitcase. My cat, so tired of seeing my back going out the door, sat in my empty suitcase and refused to move. I believe had she been human her arms would have been crossed and her feet tapping.
Having no desire or energy for a party, we had a quiet New Year’s. I cooked a rack of lamb as I mentioned in my last post and we enjoyed the blissful peace and quiet. Deep into the nest of bizarre dreams my subconscious insists on building every night, the phone woke me around 3:00 a.m. Now, in my history at least, when a phone rings at that time of night it’s not someone calling to sell you life insurance. It was my mother notifying me that my stepdad had been admitted to the hospital with an extreme case of viral stomach flu. At any age this is not good news, but taking into account his age, it was serious news. Sluffing off her claims she didn’t need me to come, I once again dragged out my suitcase. In my lifetime my mother has never failed to have my back and I intend to always try to do the same for her. Needing someone to man the home front and with much going on on the other end, I opted to make this trip alone. It’s not a bad drive from here. Without stops it takes three and a half hours.
I arrived to find my stepdad in ICU and half of San Jose down with some kind of flu or virus. Immediately I began shoving Airborne in my mouth, but my mother, thank God, hadn’t gotten ill so I put that thought aside and concentrated on what was going on in her life. Last Saturday night as we were making dinner a wave of nausea swept over me. In twenty minutes I was showing off my best Linda Blair imitation and asking for Father Karras. It was awful, and so fast.
Not knowing what to do with me, neighbors were called in to view the carnage, and then the paramedics. I wouldn’t have done so but I certainly wasn’t going anywhere in a car. After arriving at the ER and being evaluated, some time in the middle of the night I was admitted. My poor mother now had two of us in the hospital, and neither of us in the same one. Ach.
They gave me some wonderful medicine through my IV, nectar of the gods really, and I sort of drifted in and out of my new world. Faces hovered over me and tubes were attached here and
there. One thing about a stay in the hospital, they put you in a bed but it’s only for show. They don’t really want you to sleep. The moment you drift off, a new face in a white gown carrying a kit of some sort drains more of your bodily fluids carrying them off to an unknown location. You get probed, pinched, rolled over, and pored over. It is not a good thing. All pride and modesty are thrown out the window once you’re handed a hospital gown, and it goes downhill from there.
It seemed I was in isolation due to the fact they weren’t sure what nasty little bug had possessed my body. One bonus to this, I found I had the room to myself. It is an odd feeling to have people fully gowned with masked lurking about you. It felt like a hazmat unit. I kept thinking papers were being drawn up for my impending trip to Molokai.
No food for me, but then I wasn’t interested. A nurse showed up mid-morning to take a sample from my sinuses. Helping me to sit up, she took out two long probes. From the length they appeared as though they could have been equally as useful in taking a sample from my lower intestine. In my addled state I became convinced the Mother Ship was lurking just beyond the window waiting to beam me up with their atomic extracting ray. Is their some sinister group sitting around 24/7 inventing new and unusual forms of torture for people who are sick and defenseless?
By day three life was looking a little brighter. I was informed I was to stay in as I had a fever but a full liquid diet, whatever that entailed, was reserved with my name on it. Yea. Around noon as promised a tray was delivered. If I wasn’t sick enough, this presentation could have pushed me over the edge. How, I need to know, is it possible to ruin vanilla ice cream? How can you do that? It tasted like flat, whipped, iced, non-fat milk, sugarless, tasteless, textureless, white goo. Euuuww. The soup, well there aren’t words. They called it tomato, but I didn’t detect that in the flavor. Good taste prohibits me from describing what I did detect. It formed gelatinous clots which did not easily relinquish the spoon. Thankfully, there was a tub of yogurt, not prepared by the kitchen staff, that went down just fine.
Over the next two days they broadened my allowable foods to what I could tolerate. Bring it on. It was an interesting system. You ordered your meals from a three-fold menu featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, breads, sides, beverages, condiments, etc. You called “room service” and ordered what you wanted. Interesting. My first meal was breakfast. After perusing my choices, I picked scrambled eggs, wheat toast, breakfast potatoes, sausage and coffee as though from my hotel room. The comparison stopped there, unless you were staying in a really bad hotel. Arriving in an hour, the food actually appeared on the surface as though it was meant for human consumption. The eggs came in a wedge like meatloaf and had a texture similar to what they use to make foam pillows. Actually, the potatoes were edible, but then you have to work to ruin a potato. As to the sausages, they were such an odd anemic color I placed a napkin over them to avoid catching a glimpse of them. The toast truly was the most unusual part of the meal. It seemed to have the tensile strength of synthetic rubber. If you took a bite out of it it didn’t release it from the rest of the slice. Instead it seemed to stretch and stretch until it eventually pulled off. I could not get the crust to come off at all even with my knife. All and all it was a culinary experience.
As the days progressed, five in total, I felt better. The nurses who tended to me, for the most part, were angels and I’m sending out a thank you to them. I could not do their job. My stepfather is putting up a good fight on his end as well and had been moved out of ICU and steadily improving each day.
So, finally paroled, I somehow drove home yesterday and have never found myself happier to be here. My other half and the two cats were so glad to see me they jumped in place. This partially due to my irresistible charm, and the fact that the laundry was piling up and our kibble supply running dangerously low. and I am feeling a bit better as each day moves into the next.
These sliders were so good. They’d be great for Super Bowl Sunday.
Crockpot Pulled Chicken Sliders
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. celery salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz. chunky salsa (mild, med. or hot)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup Frank’s (or similiar) hot sauce, divided
20 dinner rolls halved
Combine onion powder, black pepper, and celery salt. Sprinkle evenly over chicken. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and brown evenly.
Place in 6 quart crockpot sprayed with cooking spray. In same skillet heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Add celery and onion and sweat until tender, about 5 mins. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Place on top of chicken in crockpot. Deglaze pan with broth.
Mix together salsa, broth, taco seasoning and 1/2 cup hot sauce. Pour over chicken. Cook for 9 hrs. on low. Remove chicken from broth and shred with two forks. Remove sauce from crockpot and strain. Discard solids.
Return meat and strained sauce to crockpot. Add remaining 1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce or your choice. Cook on low for 1 hr.
2 pkgs. angel hair coleslaw (w/o carrots)
6 green onions, chopped fine
3 Tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. Toasted sesame seed
1 tsp. sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place coleslaw mix in large bowl. Add green onions. Mix together dressing ingredients and toss to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
Blue Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slather both sides of buns with blue cheese sauce. Place generous portion of meat on bottom and top with coleslaw. Serve with tomato/cucumber salad or slices avocados drizzled with lime juice. Yum.