Delicious Cultural Lens

As a young child, I switched back and forth easily from eating with chopsticks to eating with a fork and knife. In the same vein, my palate ranged from both my favorite dish that my mom made—spicy chicken and potatoes—to a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When I entered middle school, one of the biggest changes was that our cafeteria now had microwaves. Thus instead of waiting in line and buying lunch, I could now bring in my mom’s carefully packed meals: stir-fried dishes, dumplings, even curries.

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A Veggie Saga

When my then-16-year-old daughter announced that she was going vegetarian, I wasn’t concerned, as we all liked veggies. And it would be a healthy diet. However, I soon realized there might be an issue—a fairly big one.

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Feeding and Dressing

For months after we first started working with her, she’d show up not exactly hungry, but not exactly nourished either.

An hour’s worth of rehabilitation exercise on top of just a slice of toast and a cup of coffee, consumed as she hurried to get here on time, wasn’t working for her. She had diabetes, so inevitably hypoglycemia hit her midway through each session. Shaking, sweating, she’d rush to drink some juice to tide her over.

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October on 52nd Street

Not so far away from cornfields ripe for harvest, the pinnacle of Nebraska’s beauty unfolds each October around a two-lane crevice through a section of Omaha. It is the envy of all streets in the Happy Hallow neighborhood, yet it is not boastful. I do not reside on it, but I get to enjoy its bounty nevertheless. In summer, kids play football in yards and sell lemonade and rocks. While other seasons offer their views–spring with its purple blooms and winter with its holiday fanfare–it’s the October evening air that bestows a magical weightlessness.

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Say Yes to Food

I subsist on dark chocolate M&Ms. They go well with my morning banana and hard-boiled egg, with my low calorie yogurt lunch, and as a snack after my dinner of soup or Slimfast. I recognize that my eating habits are questionable if not terrible, but ever since my dad died on November 1, 2014, I have stopped preparing nutritious meals that he and I shared. I take the road of least resistance: opening a bag of candy and dumping the rainbow-colored treat into a plastic container.

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An Editor’s Invitation: Eating

Dear Pulse readers,
My mother used to make me finish everything on my plate.
That may not seem so terrible to many people, but I was pretty scrawny as a child, didn’t have a big appetite, and the list of foods I disliked or absolutely detested was long and included:
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Thanks to Frankie and Lucy

As anyone in health care knows, work has been difficult this past almost-two years. There are layers of dysfunction and disconnect. Despite our collective fatigue and overwhelm, however, we show up and do our best. We apologize for the system, the lapses in care, the way that everything feels complicated. This emotional work is heavy. Sometimes I have the image of myself, like Atlas supporting the globe, hunched forwards with my patients piled on my back. I am carrying them to higher ground.

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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

According to Oprah Winfrey, it’s when we feel least thankful that we are most in need of what gratitude can give us: perspective. The neurologist Oliver Sacks expressed a similar idea; his reflections on what it means to live a worthwhile life were published posthumously in a book titled Gratitude. Diagnosed with a terminal illness, Sacks wrote that his predominant feeling was one of gratitude, expressing appreciation both for what he had been given in life and what he had been able to give in return.

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Dogs Should Live Forever

I wasn’t looking for a new dog. I had recently lost my best friend of over sixteen years, a beloved terrier mix. My sister had dragged me into the shelter so that she could get a new cat. So, while she looked at cats, I decided to pet all the dogs, lingering a little longer with the ones that looked the most sad.

The shelter staff began to follow me like I was a shoplifter. “Can we help you find a dog?” “What kind of dog would you like?” “Would you like to meet that dog?” Desperation tinged their inquiries.

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Thankful RN

Late one evening, in Open Heart Recovery, my seventy-five-year-old patient’s temperature shot up from 98 to 103. I gave her Tylenol suppositories, double-checked the blood she was getting and called her surgeon. Dr. Vance instructed me to repeat the Tylenol, add intravenous steroids, then quickly hung up the phone. He needed some sleep after performing cardiac bypass surgery all day and on-call.

Mrs. Smith’s elevated temperature both worried and puzzled me. She might be having an allergic reaction or malignant hyperthermia.

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Boss

I was on the 36th hour of a 48-hour ambulance shift. We had been up all night and had remained busy all day. I was starving, so I ran into a deli for a quick fix. The kid behind the counter told me they were closed. I paused, jaw dropping in disbelief.

“Just kidding, boss,” he cackled.

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Gratitude in Small Doses

Being over ninety years old, I have a long list of things to be grateful for. I’m especially grateful for all the lessons I learned over the years that helped me become a better practitioner.

Much of this was acquired fortuitously. The era in which I began my practice. Having four dedicated children who taught me to be fully present by never hesitating to tell me when I wasn’t.

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