Monthly Archives: April 2012

Practically a Foodie/Dear Mr. Bourdain (2nd Edition)

Prologue:  Dear Anthony Bourdain (Letter #2) – Still a fan of your show even though you didn’t visit me in Kenya.  You missed out on my trial of ox balls and crocodile plus some local road side dishes.  No hard feelings.  I have another proposition for you – try hospital food.  In fact, try a modified diet – go out on the hunt for the best hospital food has to offer, may I suggest the pureed polynesian pork?  I have heard rave reviews.

News flash:  when people experience some sort of neurological damage or decline (stroke, brain injury, ALS, etc.) one thing that can be impaired is swallowing.  One way to get around this is modifying the texture of the diet and one of the most common modifications is fluid consistency modification.  That means you can thicken fluids.  This is a big industry and some thickened fluids are better than others.  Some companies also make better modified diet options (ie. pureed) than others.  As an SLP in acute care I’m often recommending that people be placed on thickened fluids or a pureed diet and because of this I always like to have a pretty good idea of what I’m asking them to eat/drink.  Since switching hospitals I have started keeping a list of products offered there that I have yet to try and plan to eventually get a tray and have quite the smorgasbord for lunch one day.

Then I hit the jackpot.  After work one day this week I happened to stumble upon a hall set up with all kinds of vendors with samples of various modified products.  I peeked in and there was no one taking tickets or even watching the door so I figured it was for everyone and wandered inside.  In the middle of tasting a pureed carrot cake (moist, the right hint of spices – could have used some icing though) the room became inundated with people.  Dietician’s conference – oops.  Already in the midst I decided to just keep blending in and had a great time questioning vendors about their various magic like ice cream that melts to pudding instead of thin liquid.  Just to be sure that I really blended in I also sampled the chocolate tulips with fresh pineapple and mint leaf centres and the coconut curry chicken skewers.  Dieticians know how to eat!

Besides that I made out like a bandit.  The traditional thickened fluid flavours served up in hospitals include: cranberry juice, orange juice, apple juice and lemon flavoured water (as well as milk, meal supplements, etc).  A few new flavours were on offer so I brought some sweetened tea home to try and took a few packets of instant thickened hot tea and coffee.  Plus some natural vegan gelatin for good measure.  ShanWow helped me with my research.

The sweetened tea is probably my favourite thickened beverage thus far.  Yay for innovation!  I still must continue my quest to try a magic cup (those funky ice creams) and a pureed sandwich.  


Edmonton Update

By this time of the month (3 weeks into the new jarb) I was hoping to include details of my new place to live.  Negatory.  There is no place to live at this time.  Thank goodness for friends that let you crash on their air mattresses.  First I was looking for places that someone was already living in and renting out a room however I quickly realized 1) that the second bedroom is always crazy small, 2) I want to start getting settled and get a say in how my place is decorated (ie. I want a fresh start).

It is much more affordable renting with another person.  The hitch here is that I don’t really know anyone so I can look at great two bedroom places all I want but I can’t afford to rent them without a second person.  Which brings us all to the obvious conclusion:  rent your own damn place (you adult, you!).  Fair enough.  But it might be lonely!  And one bedroom places are bordering on prohibitively expensive.  Plus, embarrassingly, I don’t like being home all alone at night every day – I get a little skerd.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I lived way way up high but all the affordable places tend to be on the main floor.  Does this thinking even make sense to regular people?

Verdict:  the hunt continues.  It should be a more fruitful search now that I stopped focusing my energy on moving into a furnished place.  Oh the furniture I could re-finish!

The Job:  Talking about work on a blog is always difficult.  There isn’t much I can really say except it challenges my knowledge every day and I am working on building my confidence in the way I practice.  The politics at the new hospital are much different and more daunting to navigate.  In the evening after work I go to the medical library attached to the hospital and hang out there eating the cookies left for med students and read books about the brain.  Or I walk home across a lovely bridge to read books about the brain and papers about dysphagia in the dining room.  Trying not to come across as a total moron at work (which it how I feel most of the time).

Fun Stuff:  Trying to keep it real I’ll be house sitting (ie playing with a small dog) for a co-worker next week in a new area of the city.  The dysphagia jedi master has also invited me to paint beehives for her new bee farm.  Update with pictures to come when the painting is finished.

I *heart* Benedict Cumberbatch

Not just because he has the best name in all of Britishdom however I do find myself a bit high school crushing over Benedict Cumberbatch.  No idea who he is?  Last week I didn’t know either.  Then ShanWow kindly introduced me to “Sherlock” the movie-length show with only three episodes per season that takes Sherlock Holmes and makes him modern.  When ShanWow first mentioned the show she prefaced the first episode by saying she had a giant crush on the man who plays Sherlock (Benedict).  Honestly, I was immediately drawn to Dr. Watson (Martin Freeman) – the more socially appropriate of the two – and not that interested in Ben. But he grows on you.  And no, not like a fungus, like an awkward best friend who is actually the nicest guy.  Excellently written character and fantastic writing.  Suddenly, you don’t even realize when, you start swooning over Cumberbatch.  Maybe it is the blue eyes.



Oh, and the show is great, too.  It is still based on that Sherlock wit and incredible eye for detail.  They managed to cast someone able to play complete insanity in a restrained way for Moriarty.  The mysteries are interesting.  Although, perhaps I shouldn’t encourage others to watch as I have found myself in a place where I have watched all available episodes (6 total, 1.5 hours each) and must now wait until 2013 for answers and more Benedict.

A Week In

Yes, I’m in Edmonton already and, yes, I have started my new job.  Crazy.  It still feels like I’ll be heading back to my “real” life in Red Deer any time now.  Probably because I have been crashing here and there but will be blow up bed bound with DIW for April (and a hearty thank you to her).  The new position is challenging – the cases are more complex and the politics are more difficult to navigate.  It took me four days but I can now locate not only my office* and 4 of the 5 units I will eventually help to cover.

The apartment hunt continues fairly in vain – my location criterion has narrowed the search considerably and ensured that anything reasonably priced smells of garbage or was last decorated in 1982 from Ikea’s cheapest offerings**.  Widening the search just a tad there are a few promising units to peruse tomorrow – fingers crossed.  I will feel infinitely better when I can begin to settle into my very own place.

One of my first acts as an Edmontonian was to attend the First Annual Edmonton Pirate Party.  Photos to follow.  There were piratey snacks like rat-infested popcorn, meat with cheese, ripped up bread, (popeye) smokes, ale, rum, pirate cookies and Cap’N Crunch.  Arrrr.  The lovely ShanWow and her man arranged a very invigorating treasure hunt with delightfully rhymey clues.  As a designated sailor I did not partake but there was a round of battleshots over skype (very difficult to call shots over skype at a pirate fest) and boat races.  Since the group was musical – and they kindly let me join anyway – we sang well-harmonized pirate tunes.  Fer’ yer hearin’ pleasure

*Not entirely my office as I share this cupboard with two other lovely ladies
**I’m not so worried about decor as much as whether I find an apartment depressing or not.  I think that is pretty reasonable.  Today I saw a great apartment which, if it hadn’t had most of its wall space covered in dark brown, fake wood, accordion closet doors I probably would have taken it.  Stark whiteness with dirty and cheap kitchen fixtures also depresses me.