One More

He sits on a stool in his office, scrolling quickly through hundreds of images, slowing briefly to scrutinize one. Those of us walking by and looking over his shoulder are awed: His practiced eye knows exactly what to look for after more than 30 years doing this.

No watch discloses how many hours he’s been reading mammography images—his unconscious goal being to avoid missing even one anomaly before he moves on to the next image. His coffee cup sits empty by his elbow, next to his long-forgotten breakfast sandwich.

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Scrambled Eggs

You, an astrobiologist, fly up from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to visit me, a sophomore in college, at Yale-New Haven Hospital. I’ve just had a new type of chest catheter inserted: a “port-a-cath,” a subcutaneous device to replace my Hickman catheter. It promises a reduced chance of infection. But you didn’t need to come all this way, for such a minor surgery.

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Teaching DASH to Lower Blood Pressure

Julie was in the twelve-week, RN-to-BSN capstone course I taught. I suggested students create a project from an issue they were passionate about because it could prepare them for a master’s thesis or even lifelong work. Julie chose teaching parishioners at her church healthier eating habits. She believed they could reduce risks from high blood pressure that disproportionately affect BIPOC (Black, indigenous, persons of color) communities.

On the Mayo Clinic web site, Julie found the “DASH Diet,” (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), and she decided to implement its information and teaching materials.

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Chocolate, Holidays, and Habits

Food is often a focus of the festivities and family gatherings that mark the holidays. But unfortunately, a season that should be a time of rest and joy can turn stressful, when food that’s meant to be enjoyed becomes a source of anxiety and guilt.

Holiday behaviors for many people include overeating, followed by New Year’s resolutions to eat less and exercise more. On the other hand, those with eating disorders may dread being confronted with so much food and having to explain why they are not “indulging” like everyone else.

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Cooking My Heritage

My parents immigrated to the U.S. from a small village in Xinjiang, China—a place surrounded by the Gobi Desert and mountainous terrain. Due to Xinjiang’s geographic location, my parents were raised on salted fish, mutton, and boiled potatoes.

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Speed Eating

Eating is always an adventure in the mad rush of 9-1-1 shift work. I once inhaled an entire steak I had just barbequed in four giant bites because we were getting sent on a rural call forty minutes away. It was my only chance to eat before midnight.

Coffee has become a religious experience, both getting a cup in before the first action of the day and rebolstering in the afternoon. Some of the younger EMTs constantly sip on energy drinks but that puts me in SVT. (Supraventricular tachycardia refers to a racing heartbeat that is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.)

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A Moment on Your Lips . . .

Nine-year-old me, while devouring Judy Blume’s book Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, came upon what seemed like a brilliant adage: “A moment on your lips, forever on your hips.” I thought, “Perhaps this ditty was the missing piece in the how-to-be-thin puzzle.”

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White Meat or Dark Meat? Neither, Thanks.

I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve always loved Thanksgiving dinner. What could be better than a heaping plate of turkey, smothered in pan gravy? Or the smell of roasting turkey wafting through the house? So many memories of family and friends have been centered on that sumptuous bird—until one day last summer, driving on the interstate, when I followed a livestock truck.

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Leave the Cannoli

I grew up Italian American, which meant special occasions were marked with food. Christmas was celebrated with a white cardboard box stuffed with cannolis, napoleons, and baba rums. Family gatherings included wedges longer than I am tall piled high with capicola, salami, and prosciutto, accompanyied by bowls of mozzarella balls glistening with olive oil. Summer nights entailed grilled sausages and two-for-one ice cream sundaes at the Carvel across town. 

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Toenails and Pecan Pie

Mrs. Beazley comes in a few days before Thanksgiving. Her chief complaint: “My nails look awful.” As she sits on the exam table, I notice that she can’t reach her feet to take off her shoes and socks. I review her labs and note her blood sugar level. My mind starts to outline the lecture I’m about to deliver; I start off by saying, “So, tell me what you ate for breakfast today.”

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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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