Easing in

No one really expected me to go all liquid all the way immediately, right?

Despite the drama, I don’t think I quite grasped the sincerity of the doctor’s warning that I stick to broth … until I had two full days of food sitting like a rock in my belly. I thought it would be enough to go healthy! Sigh, silly me. It all began on Wednesday night when CVS only had one of the prescriptions I needed: the one for nausea. This pill made me feel worlds better, so I took a very “flexible” approach to my recovery diet on Thursday. I began the day with black bean and prune oatmeal (no need for subtlety here) topped with blueberries and cinnamon:

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The oatmeal consisted of 1/4 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup immersion-blended black beans, 2 chopped prunes, and 1 cup of water. It was delicious AND I felt proud of how well I was taking care of my tummy. On the side, I had the other half of the CSA scallion egg from Tuesday’s breakfast:

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Once at the office, I worked furiously to try to catch up on work since the week had involved two sick days (and was about to include a planned vacation day on Friday). There was no time for morning snacking aside from a prune mocktail (Yasmin, were you serious about wanting the recipe?! It’s 1/4 cup 100% prune juice, soda water/plain water to taste, and two little prunes for garnish :-D) that I packed, not to mention that I was very mindful of the fact that I was not hungry. OK, maybe there was one little thing. Belkis had brought in freshly baked pineapple cake, so I took the teeniest sliver you could imagine:

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And then I only had two bites of that! I felt so virtuous 🙂

For lunch, I had more matzoh ball soup.

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(Oh, there’s the liquid!! I knew I could squeeze it in there somehow.)

Plus a few teeeeeeeeeny irresistible bites of my coworkers’ lunches, including fish that Belkis caught all by herself, one maduro, a slice of avocado, and red beans:

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Now, all day at work on Thursday, everyone was talking about the cakes that had materialized in the office on Monday and Wednesday, the two days I happened to be out. Apparently, I missed some chocolate layer cake, Dominican butter cake, banana bread, more pineapple cake, and chocolate mousse cake. I was kind of relieved! Can you imagine the amount of damage I would have done to myself if I had been at the office instead of in the ER?!!! It seems, though, that cake was still on the ladies’ minds after the bounty earlier in the week, and Rosey and Belkis were on a mission to bring dessert back with their lunches. I was all prepared to ignore the cake that I just knew would be sitting on the conference room table right next to my desk all afternoon when they came back in with dessert of a different kind:

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Phew!! It seems that all this fruit was cheaper than a slice of cake. Thank goodness for economics! I made myself a fruit salad bowl with watermelon, 1/2 banana, and grapes:

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Later in the afternoon, I had an apple and a few apricots:

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And one more minor minor unplanned indulgence when Rosalie got herself a piece of COCONUT tres leches cake and passed bites out to the rest of the office. She looked at me guiltily as she was cutting into it, and I replied: Pienso que esta bien y yo puedo comer un pedazo bieeeeeeeennnnnn pequeniiiiiiiiiiito. Pero si estoy en el hospital otra vez la semana que viene, no te preocupes. Voy a estar bien. And with that, I got my teeeeeeeeeny bite:

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Mmmmmmmmmmmm, so good with the coconut!

From work, I went to my last class of the summer, where I continued to eat well-thought-out, albeit solid, foods such as CSA cucumbers and hummus, CSA salad, and grapes, cherries, and a baby plum. I downed the last cherry at 8:20pm, class got out at 8:50pm, and I zipped my way down to CVS so I could pick up part two of my prescription, aka the scary part, aka the colonoscopy-prep drink. I did not realized what an involved and time-consuming process this would be, and I think that it is safe to say the two hours from 12am to 2pm were two of the most miserable of my life! I threw in the towel when I had only finished 3/4 of the gallon because I couldn’t handle the taste or the experience for another second. Needless to say, my stomach was significantly smaller at that point, and I collapsed into bed a weakened shell of my former self …

The silver lining? That I do not actually have to undergo a colonoscopy (yet)! (And also that I had Friday off work!)

What is your most feared medical procedure?

P.S. Do you think I learned my lesson yet? Of course not! More to come …

Who loves fluids?

Thank you all for your comments, suggestions, and concern after my last post! I promise I didn’t intend for it to be such a cliffhanger. The post was getting unwieldy, so that seemed like a good breaking point, especially since I knew the somewhat anti-climactic outcome already. Forgive me!

So … the ER. Are you ready for a long story??

I’ve lived 7 blocks away from NY Methodist Hospital for four years, though I’ve never actually had occasion to go inside. The hospital recently renovated the ER — I remember the endless construction outside — but I was definitely not prepared for what I saw when I entered!

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This is a hospital??? It looks like the atrium of a Floridian resort!

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The peaceful serenity of the lobby clearly impressed me. Even when I walked into the ER waiting room, things seemed quite orderly, not overly-crowded, and well-managed. I estimated a two-hour wait at most and checked in. Even though I was obviously still functional and not in the midst of anything resembling a life-and-death situation, I decided the wait would be worth it to get to the bottom of what was going on. I hadn’t slept since Friday night — before all of this began — and I knew I wouldn’t be sleeping Tuesday night anyway!

Ummm, my two-hour estimate was way off. Apparently, the good people of Brooklyn decided that Tuesday night would be the perfect night to partake in “real” emergencies. As ambulance after ambulance poured in, those of us who had walked into the ER with “fake” emergencies were forced to wait. And wait. And wait.

It was my lucky night, though, because a woman and her three-year-old sat next to me, and the little girl started yammering away in Spanish about how she didn’t want to sit down even though mom kept telling her to. I jumped in and started chatting with the little girl in Spanish and soon moved onto the mom … who told me she was from Peru!!! We spent some time reminiscing and Spanglishing … and I knew I was in trouble when she said she had been waiting since 6:30. (I got there at 9:30.) And she was actually in pain when she arrived — tears streaming down her face, body in a sweat! So, my planned two hours became five hours waiting in the emergency room.

I finally got called in at 2:30 am, at which point I was shown to a cot and left to wait some more for a doctor. I had my book with me since I had come straight from class, so I read until my eyes started to close. I was so excited to be falling asleep (finally!!!), that I put the book down and curled up on the cot and entered a lovely deep slumber for about two minutes … until tall, dark, and handsome student Dr. Joel appeared to make my acquaintance. Suddenly, I did not quite mind the wait!

Joel inspected my abnormally-expanded belly, tested me for pregnancy (ummm, everyone since triage had been trying to tell me I was pregnant! I was like, nooooooo, you don’t understand, it’s just not possible. Oh honey, it’s always possible. Except when it is not!!!) and confirmed that I was not pregnant, and brought in a real doctor to help him because my symptoms were abnormal. They decided to give me an anti-nausea pill, test my blood, hook me up to an IV for hydration, pepcid, and pain-killer, and do a CT scan to rule out appendicitis. All of this planning took place around 4:30 am, and Dr. Joel let me know that I’d be there for a while because, even if things were running smoothly and on schedule, I probably wouldn’t have the scan until 8:00. There went my dreams of making it into work on Wednesday. I called the office to leave some messages that I would have to take another sick day.

Shortly thereafter, I entered the segment of my ER stay that I will term the fluid vortex. My right arm was attached to the IV to provide me with more hydration than one body could ever need. At 5:30, Dr. Joel delivered 900mL of some substance that I also had to drink, in its entirety, to prepare for the CT scan.

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Dr. Joel apologized for the wait, but I told him it was fine since I could use the forced relaxation. He looked at me like I had 12 heads and said, Ohhh man, you have trouble if you think this is relaxing! The first 19 or sips were manageable thanks to the Crystal Light fiesta in the bottle. As I explained to Dr. Joel, I could pretend I was drinking a mojito in my lounge chair on a tropical island. He replied, Suuuuuuure, minus the Baccardi. I half expected him to bring me a shot after that. No go.

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Sips 20 through 8000 made me wish I were dead. The flavor of whatever chemicals were lurking in the background became wayyy too prominent, and my already stretched-to-the-limits belly was having trouble accommodating all of the IV drips plus the mojito. I requested permission to move and wheeled my IV tree with me down to the hall to the bathroom. I’ve always wanted to walk around with an IV stand. I felt like I was in a movie. So far, my ER experience had provided me with a Floridian hotel atrium, a Peruvian nostalgia session, a future husband an attentive doctor, mojitos on a tropical beach, and a movie star experience. Could it get any better?

It could. Every time I drifted off to sleep, I’d be gently awakened by the soft footsteps of Dr. Joel coming to check on me and make sure the nurse was keeping me supplied with the pain meds via drip. I told him that he had very reliable footsteps. I think he was not sure what to do with that comment.

I drifted off between 6:30 and 8 (score!). When I awoke, the staff had undergone a shift change (unscore!). The new crew was very pleasant — just not as attentive or as charming. Nurse Jason came to let me know that the CT scan tech was getting set up and would come retrieve me when it was time. He arrived around 9:30 (hey, my 12-houriversary since arriving!) and offered to wheel me in my cot to the scanner. I politely declined movie star opp #2 and decided to walk. After the scan, I was delivered back to my cot, where my phone was waiting full of well-wishing voicemails from my coworkers. Rosey even called to ask if I needed someone to come down from the office in East Harlem to keep me company and bring me food. Awwwwww, not to beat a dead horse, but I have the best coworkers ever. I assured them I was fine and being well-taken care of. Erin Gunn even called, in the midst of her work flight from SLC to NYC being delayed because it was struck by lightning, to let me know that she’d come keep me company when she got into the city if I wanted her to. I felt so lucky all around!

I was back in my cot after the scan by 9:45, but then no one came to check on me or update me for ages. Eventually, I saw Nurse Jason walking by outside my “tent” (no wonder I felt so at home!) and called out to him. Do you know what is happening to me next? Nurse Jason asked if I’d had the CT scan yet. Nearly two hours ago. He let me know that someone would share the results with me when they came in. Thanks.

Around 11:30, Dr. Eddie came in to introduce himself and apologize for his prolonged absence. Dr. Eddie let me know that he’d be back in five minutes with the results of my blood tests and the scan. I was a fan of his action-oriented timeline approach. Twenty minutes later, Dr. Eddie returned to tell me that my blood was perfect and that chances were slim to none that I had appendicitis. The scan results were still unavailable, but he’d let me know when they came through. Excellent. 12:00 … 12:30 … 1:00 … 1:30 … I started to get hungry because I had not eaten since my six servings of Stacy’s pita chips over 12 hours earlier. I went back to wandering the halls with my IV stand (hooked up to another bag of water) in search of Nurse Jason or Dr. Eddie to find out if I was allowed to eat. I couldn’t find them, so I begged a guy I found behind a desk to help me. He found Dr. Eddie:

Dr. Eddie: I bet you want to go home.

Me: Yes, please. But also, can I eat?

Dr. Eddie: Oooh, good question. Because if you have appendicitis, you can’t eat.

Me: Do I have appendicitis?

Dr. Eddie: Hmm, hold on a minute. Eddie makes phone calls. No one answers. Give me 15 minutes, and I’ll let you know.

The man behind the desk connected me with a tray of food and let me know I could keep it in my room in case I got the go-ahead because he didn’t want the food to run out before I got some. Hallelujah! My dream meal:

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Errrrrr. Beggars ….

Eddie came in right when he said he would to let me know that I did not have appendicitis. Good, but I’ve been nauseous and in pain and unable to sleep for four nights! Eddie went on to explain that my troubles were due to intestinal issues and prescribed me a couple meds to take care of it. How glamorous.

And that is the story of how I spent 17 hours in the ER to be prescribed laxatives. OK, not laxatives. But colonoscopy-prep medication (which might be worse) and more chemo-inspired anti-nausea pills. I am also under strict orders to moderate the expansion. Uh oh! Expect to be seeing lots of broths for a while. I’m a sucker for fun, so I went straight to CVS to fill the scripts and pick up necessary supplies for a year’s worth of prune “mocktails” because I never want to go through this again!

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This one does not so much remind me of a mojito. But it was still tasty!

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And then I settled down for a peaceful night’s sleep … finally.

What has been your most embarrassing diagnosis?

The slow room

Like I said, I ended up taking Monday off of work because I felt so yucky and out of it — I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. As I joked to my old co-volunteer from Peru, Nick, maybe I was having anniversary sympathy pains for all of the stomach trouble I was having there at this time last year! I devoted an entire page of my photo album to the experience:

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Little did I know how close to the truth my joke would turn out to be!

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Aside from the debilitating stomach pain and somewhat visible stomach bloat, I had no symptoms — everything else was chugging along just fine, grrr. All the possibilities were running through my head: Was the yogurt bad? Was I suddenly lactose intolerant for real? Had I managed to catch some scary old-fashioned disease like dysentery or typhoid, the likes of which have not been seen in this country since the days of Oregon Trail? A quick wikipedia check told me that my symptoms had nothing to do with those ailments (phew!), so what’s a girl to do?! I called my mom, of course. My mom told me to call my doctor. The receptionist at the doctor’s office told me my doctor (who I haven’t even seen yet since my insurance just started last month) was away until 8/10 and they wouldn’t have someone to cover until the next day. Sigh. I drank some ginger tea and went back to bed again. I slept until 10 and was super antsy when I woke up, so I tried to keep myself busy by doing mindless things like cleaning the apartment, etc.

Around 2:00, I thought I detecting a growling tummy amidst all the other tummy feelings, so I had a cup of the flax pudding I had made on Sunday:

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The pudding had a teeny bit of yogurt in it, so I also wanted to see if I noticed any sort of reaction or worsening of my condition in response. I actually felt a little better after eating this, so I decided to rule out the “bad yogurt” scenario.

My mom called to check in and told me to stop trying to make my body process all of this produce “roughage” and to just be nice to myself and have chicken broth. I sort of followed her instructions by defrosting some of my homemade veggie broth along with some of the matzoh balls mom sent home with me after Passover.

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With some balcony basil on top to make things more presentable:

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I had a little more soup later on for dinner and then followed it with … ice cream!! (the cure for stomach ailments everywhere). I had about 1/4 cup cinnamon oatmeal cookie gelato, 1/4 cup Stonyfield raspberry white chocolate chunk frozen yogurt (but what are those dark chocolate chunks, you ask?? Ohhh, just a chopped half-square of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate because HEAB is a genius!), and some rhubarb-blueberry compote on the side:

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And look what I found:

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A chunk of oatmeal cookie, ahhhh!!!!!! It was worth the wait 😀

Unfortunately, the stomach situation tumbled precariously downhill from there. I went to bed at 9, fell asleep at 10, woke up at midnight, and never went back to sleep! I knew there was no use even trying, so I did some reading for class, some blog business, read for pleasure, drank ginger tea and ate dry bagel toast, watched early morning TV, and decided at 7:20 that there was no point in staying home again because it clearly wasn’t going to help me get any better. I toasted half of a freezer bagel (I knew there was a reason I had been saving all of these refined carbs in there!) and had some egg and black beans on one part and peanut butter on the other part:

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Looove crispy egg (with CSA green onion stirred in):

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I also packed a bunch of formerly frozen toasted bread for work and class in an attempt to give my body easy (though not entirely healthy) foods to digest. Over the morning and at lunch, I had a big hunk of toasted french bread with butter (unpictured) and half of another toasted bagel with peanut butter:

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I also had one piece of this champagne cheddar cheese that Danilda brought down because it just sounded too yummy to say no, tummy issues aside:

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And half of this piece of cracker barrel aged reserve cheddar left from Friday’s breakfast because cracker barrel aged reserve cheddar is my absolute favorite cheese of all time:

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At some point, I called my doctor’s office to see if they had found coverage, and they had not. Awesome.

For an afternoon snack, I split this container of coconut (the man at the juice bar hacked it into pieces specifically for us, so it was soft and fresh and amazing) with Jessica:

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Mmmm, coconut has such a mild and smooth flavor, and it made my belly happy 😀

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In class, I had more matzoh ball soup …

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… with the rest of Lillian’s Maria biscuits for dipping:

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With my class dinner, I drank what I was expecting to be the best thing that had happened to my stomach since comfort:

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I nearly jumped for joy when I saw this in the deli near school. I really wanted some ginger tea, but I couldn’t find any places with it. Kombucha seemed the perfect solution because it already has good stomach benefits, it’s fizzy, and this flavor had fresh pressed ginger juice as the only other ingredient, and ginger is obviously a miracle worker with stomach ailments:

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I was in love from the first sip. It tasted like sushi ginger in juice form!!!! Some people may find that thought repelling, but I felt as though I had discovered the perfect marriage of taste and functionality. My stomach disagreed. Apparently, despite the benefits of kombucha for normal healthy stomachs and ginger’s miracle properties, kombucha’s high acid content is not exactly ideal for an already-irritated stomach. My stomach started to feel as though it was going to rip itself from my belly and sprint across the room. I held out as long as I could but I ended up having to leave class an hour before it was over.

I called my mom from outside to bring her up to date on the latest health info (what would I do without her?!) and then spent the next half hour walking in the downtown direction while I called my doctor’s office again (voicemail said only to call 911 or go to ER if assistance was needed), my insurance (said to call back during business hours or call 911 or go to ER), and the ER. The complications were as follows: (1) I would not be able to see a different doctor without a referral that was approved by my insurance, and neither my insurance nor other doctors’ offices were open at this hour and (2) an ER visit has a $0 copay … unless the patient is admitted and needs treatment, in which case the copay becomes $1000! Ummmmm …

I stopped into deli for emergency tummy settlling snacks because I was still kind of in excruciating pain and it was hard to think straight!

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After I opened the ginger ale and took a sip, I immediately thought better of it because I realized that the fake sugars coupled with the fake ginger flavor would probably do my tummy more harm than good. I actually threw the bottle away (horror!) and opted for straight fizz instead:

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I got through to the ER finally and was assured that I would not be “admitted” to the $1000 copay scenario without my awareness and consent, and the decision was made. I was off to good ol’ Methodist Hospital in the Slope for some seriously slow motion emergency service. By the time I was called in, I had eaten the entire bag of pita chips — ummmm, that is six servings!!! I was desperate, though — relief only seemed to come while I was eating, and I had to wait for five hours to be seen, 9:30 pm to 2:30 am. Good thing I was not dying.

What is the longest you have had to wait in the ER?

Making the call

After spending Saturday night tossing and turning in tummy agony, I finally fell asleep for a couple of hours and woke up feeling somewhat refreshed on Sunday morning. After a giant stomach-calming mug of peppermint tea, I toasted half of a freezer bagel and had some with peanut butter and some with Olga‘s apricot jam:

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I love this jam!

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Enormous apricot alert:

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As sad as I was to miss all of my friends’ festivities on Saturday, my paper productivity made it worth it. I felt so much more capable of finishing it after I got all the research out of the way. Sunday’s task was simply to write and write and write and write and write.

When I needed a break, I went to the freezer and found some rhubarb-blueberry compote that my mom must have sent home with me after a MA visit at some point in the last four years. I melted it in a saucepan with a little bit of water, 8 watermelon ice cubes, and 2 chopped dates (the additions were necessary to eliminate the freezer taste) and had a few spoonfuls straight out of the pot:

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My mom’s rhubarb compote was always one of the hallmarks of spring/summer growing up, so I was glad to have little taste of it.

I went back to writing writing writing until I got hungry … or at least I think I was hungry! My stomach had started to feel angry again, like I was about to spend the rest of the day with my head hanging over a bowl, yet nothing was happening. I toasted half of an everything bagel from the freezer, globbed on some of Diana‘s hummus, and topped it with cucumbers:

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Mmmmm, I haven’t had a bagel with hummus and cucumbers in forever. This hit the [somewhat uncomfortable] spot:

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On the side, I had my CSA salad of the week:

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And, for dessert, a ramekin of yogurt with more rhubarb-blueberry compote:

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After lunch, I arranged myself in bed with my laptop and my paper research since sitting upright was growing increasing painful for my belly. When I needed a break a couple hours later, I decided homemade bubble tea was in order, courtesy of Elisabeth‘s colorful tapioca balls:

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Aren’t they the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen?

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I also snagged a little spoonful of date bliss:

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And it was back to the paper! Ayyyy this paper. It was only supposed to be 8-10 pages, but I was not even 1/3 of the way through, and it was already up to 6! I started to panic and took a lunch-prep break. I didn’t have time this weekend to get to the store for milk so that I could make yogurt, so I decided to revisit my flax pudding instead. I used Mr. Coffee to grind 1/4 cup of whole flax seeds and then mixed them with 2 cups of jasmine iced tea, 1 chopped date, and cinnamon. I brought the whole mix to a boil and then moved it to the fridge to cool and set. When it was fully chilled, I blended in my last 1/2 cup of yogurt. It was still a bit loose for my liking, so I also added 1/4 cup extra thick rolled oats to help thicken things up:

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I divided the pudding into my three little tupperwares and topped each with blueberries, CSA blackberries, chopped CSA plum, and hemp seeds:

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is nothing more photogenic than fruit!

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I went back to the paper for some more self-torture (going to grad school was a voluntary decision, right??) and then broke for dinner around 6: the other half of that Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake bulked up with about 1/2 cup extra black beans:

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Seriously, sooooo good! Hands down the best frozen meal I have ever eaten.

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Dessert was about 1/4 cup of cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookie gelato (still sooooooo worth the purchase) with some more fruit compote.

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This was a brilliant combo! The blueberries and cinnamon were a match made in heaven.

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I went back to work on the paper after dessert, and my stomach started to feel worse, a frustrating development since I had been hoping to start feeling better all day long. I started to panic that maybe I had become lactose intolerant overnight. Nooooooooooo!!!! I calmed myself with an authentic Sicilian marzipan strawberry (??) from Wife and Ted:

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I paaaaaaaaainfully struggled through the rest of my paper (I hope the prof doesn’t mind that my 8-10 page paper is actually 15 pages???!!!) and then gleefully (if not entirely comfortably) celebrated with an UliMana chia moon drop chocolate:

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This raw chocolate delight was a lovely way to conclude the homework portion of my summer sessions, mmmmmmmmm:

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(I’ll be turning in the paper and having my last class (for two weeks) tonight, woooooooooooooooooooooooot :-P)

Despite the emotional high of finishing my paper, I felt absolutely miserable physically and, once again, threw myself into bed at 8:45 pm. I was in such agony all night!! I kid you not — I did not fall asleep until 4:47 am. Thank goodness I had the foresight to reset my alarm from 5am to 6am when it became clear that a morning gym session was not in the cards. When my alarm went off at 6, I thought I felt better and got out of bed to get ready for work. The nausea immediately came rushing back, and I had to call in sick and go back to bed. Ughh, I hate having to take sick days — I’m always worried that I’m getting worked up over nothing, but I just felt SO uncomfortable and knew I would be useless trying to be help families while I was so exhausted and pained!

How do you know when a sick day is in order?

Clear my schedule (and my plate)

Initially, Saturday looked like it was going to be a brilliant day with perfect weather, hot yoga, two baby showers for two dear old coworkers, Gina’s block party, Tara’s BBQ … until I realized I was way over my head with my final paper and had no choice but to completely clear my schedule.

I was up at 7 for an early start, but I had to take a mid-morning break to go pick up the CSA because produce waits for no one!

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This week, Kate and I each got romaine, arugula, six ears of corn, 3 eggs, broccoli, green onions, baby turnips …

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… green and white cucumbers, baby bok choy…

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… baby plums, cherries, and blackberries:

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I decided to process the produce salad-style, so I washed and combined the romaine, arugula, and some balcony arugula and set it out to dry. In a separate bowl, I combined three ears of raw corn kernels (again, this has to be the sweetest corn I have ever tasted!), the chopped baby turnips (they taste like radishes!), some chopped green and white cucumbers, 3 chopped green onions, roasted broccoli (with herb-infused olive oil, balsamic, salt, and coriander), braised bok choy and turnip greens, and some edamame I found in the freezer:

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I’m obviously doing my part to support corn and soybeans, the two most impoverished crops in the country 😛

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I landed that salad mix on top of the greens (romaine and arugula) to have for lunch all week long. I love fresh food! (Does anyone not?)

I bookended my CSA trip with two mini breakfast cookies to keep me motivated. Friday night, I had mixed 3/4 cup quick oats with two melted watermelon ice cubes and a tbsp peanut butter. I divided the “batter” into two balls and flattened the balls into two cookies. I had cookie #1 as I was working on my paper pre-CSA:

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I frosted the cookie (because frosting is always critical) with a mix of date bliss and yogurt and topped it with a sprinkle of ginger:

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Post-CSA, I had cookie #2 the same way, but frozen (frosting and all) and over plain yogurt with a pile of blueberries on top:

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From the side:

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Bloobs (obv not from the CSA):

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After this brunch of sorts, I wrapped up the latest installment of “Sarah’s Twice-Baked Cakes” (thanks for the name, Julie!) and headed over to Prospect Park to drop it with Tara for her BBQ. I was so tempted to stay, but I said, No, Sarah, there is too much work to be done!! Instead, I headed over to Hanco’s for three hours of distraction-free coconut bubble tea. I know I have all the tools to make it at home, but sometimes a little peace-and-quiet is worth the $5! (Except for that one girl who was talking SO loud to her friend for at least an hour and driving me insane because I really didn’t need to know every detail about how she taught her dog to cross the street and how she couldn’t tell the difference between people from Long Island and people from Staten Island and how she could tell the difference between people from different parts of the midwest because she is from MN, and on and on and on.)

Once I had gotten all I could out of Hanco’s and was teetering on the precarious ledge of buying another bubble tea, I decided to cut my losses and head home. On the way, I stopped in at Union Market for samples (Iberico and gouda cheeses, marinated mushrooms, gardiniera veggie mix, sun-dried tomatoes, cippolini onions, and frosted cupcake pieces) and actually got suckered into buying something – GASP2009!!

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The purchase probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was anxious about my paper and avoiding going back to work on it, but I think the purchase also had a lot do to with the fact that I couldn’t imagine anything I would rather eat at that moment than cinnamon gelato with oatmeal cookie pieces:

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I dug right in in search of oatmeal cookie pieces, but it seems the cookie pieces were blended in along with the cinnamon:

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I kept digging just to make sure. Oh wait, what’s that little dark spot? My heart starting racing with anticipation …

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Hmph, just a raisin.

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Even if I was missing a cookie crunch, though, I could definitely taste the cookie influence in the gelato … and it was delicious! Before I accidentally ate the whole pint, I made the wise decision to engage in a little linner action. At this point, I had been dillydallying for far too long and decided I needed to make something quick and easy that wouldn’t trick me into spending four hours cooking:

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I’ve been saving this meal in the freezer for months and months and months and months and was so excited to finally have a chance to break into it because it had all my favorite ingredients:

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If only they could have thrown a little avocado in there, I might have just died on the spot! Of course, I could have gotten an avocado at Union Market instead of the gelato, but hindsight is 20/20 … and I stand by my declaration of the gelato’s deliciousness.

Anyway, this was a microwave meal, and I don’t have a microwave. I unwrapped the package and dumped the block of mayan harvest bake ice into a baking dish:

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Twenty minutes later, I had a meal! I had half of the bake over my CSA/balcony greens:

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And it was everything I had imagined! Just look at that giant hunk of sweet plantain:

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My tummy had started to feel slightly iffy earlier in the day and I didn’t want to push things, so I stuck with just half of the meal before moving onto cake and ice cream 😛

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Yeah I thought I got rid of all my cake the other day, too … but apparently I missed this little container of chocolate cake pieces. Oh well, guess I should eat it 😀 I topped the cake with a mix of yogurt and a couple tbsp of the gelato and let it soak and re-firm in the freezer while I did some more work. I finished the research portion of my paper around 8 and decided to be done for the day! I moved out to the balcony with my book, my cake and ice cream, and a dollop of peanut butter and prepared to relax:

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Sadly, my tum kept feeling worse and worse and seemed frozen in a larger state of expansion than normal. I finished my dessert (the reasonable thing to do when faced with intense stomach discomfort) and threw myself into bed, planning to wake up fresh as a daisy on Sunday morning! To be continued …

What have you cleared recently?