Archive | April, 2013

The Potato

4 Apr

So, Professorgrrl, extraordinary cook that she is, texted me today, one day after my tooth extraction, and asked if there was anything that I felt like eating tonight for dinner. The dental hygienist told me yesterday that I could eat mashed potatoes, grits or scrambled eggs while the hole, formerly known as tooth #15, healed up, clotted and all that. I honestly can’t remember how long she said that I should stay on this diet, but the thought of getting something stuck in that hole made me think that I could stand to lay off the crackers and crunchy peanut butter sandwiches at least another day. I texted back to Professorgrrl, “Potato soup.” Today was a very cold, rainy spring day here in the south, and evolved from cold and rainy to sleet, then snow, then a deluge of more rain. I love the south. Like they always say around here, if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. And today’s weather just seemed to call for soup.

Honestly, though, if it had not been a cold day, my answer to Professorgrrl would still involve the use of the word “potato.” I love potatoes. They are my comfort food. There is a cafeteria here in town and every time I go there, it is all I can do to keep myself from ordering the vegetable plate with mashed potatoes, French fries, potato salad and a baked potato. And of course, cornbread, for color.

In fact, when I had my second knee surgery (outpatient) back in 1997, I woke up with my usual allergic reaction to the anesthesia, i.e., throwing up on myself. The medical personnel wheeled me to a room and would not allow me to leave until I could sit up without throwing up. Finally, after several hours of being in this holding tank of a room, with my parents patiently waiting by my bed, I told the nurse that I felt fine and was ready to leave the hospital and go home. I proved this by sitting up without throwing up. So, she helped me to a wheelchair and wheeled me down to the lobby. While my father went to get the car, I sat in the wheelchair and threw up on myself. That poor nurse just went into a tizzy, saying, “I can’t let you leave! You just threw up again! We should admit you to a room! I have to tell my supervisor!” I looked at her and told her that I had absolutely no intentions of spending the night in that hospital, that I was leaving and I would be fine if I could just get home to my house, and my bed, and a bag of baked Lays potato chips. I looked at my mother and said, “Let’s get out of here.” So, we piled into the car and left and went to my little house, where my mother, at my instruction, opened up a bag of baked Lays potato chips and I ate a few and all was well. I am telling you, potatoes have HEALING properties! Well, for me anyway. My mother thought this was all very funny. My dad was just glad to be out of that hospital, which made him nauseous anyway.

So, what else could I possibly want to eat after a tooth extraction? And now, I will share with you Professorgrrl’s Delectable Low-fat Potato Soup recipe. She usually finds several recipes on the internet, and then makes up her own recipe based on her research, her own ideas, and my high cholesterol. This works about 99.9% of the time. She knows about that .1% time when she made the Thai green beans. I made it very clear that she should never repeat THAT mistake.

Professorgrrl’s tooth removal low-fat potato soup

Bake or microwave 3 medium-sized baking potatoes; cool and peel

Dice (well sorta- baked taters don’t dice easily) 

Meanwhile:

Sauté 1/4 to 1/2 cup minced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter

When softened, add two tbsp. flour (heaping)

Slowly add 3 1/4 cup skim milk

Add 1/2 chicken bouillon cube

Add salt and pepper to taste

Add 1/8 tsp. celery salt

Heat on medium high until boiling

Cook 3-4 min or until thickened

Add diced, semi-mashed potatoes

Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Stir

Add another chunk of butter

Heat through

Serve hot with low fat cheddar cheese and turkey bacon crumbles

Optional diced chives to adorn (Sheila’s note: Adorn is Professorgrrl’s word. I think the usual word is “garnish” but I kept “adorn” because it made me laugh. Not a big toothy laugh, mind you, but a chuckle-type laugh.) 

Makes about 6 servings unless you are really hungry because your tooth has kept you from eating your usual crunchy peanut butter sandwich.

Thank you, Professorgrrl, for a delicious potato soup dinner. I know my many XLH friends with their many tooth problems will appreciate this recipe during their recovery from various dental procedures, since very little chewing, if any, is required. As I have told my dentist many times, we all (everybody, if you live long enough) end up eating mashed potatoes, and I love potatoes. Did I say that already?

Copyright 2013-2018, S.G. Hunter and Banjogrrldiaries

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The Loss of Innocence

3 Apr

Someone once told me, “The primary job of every parent is to protect the innocence of their children. Once a child loses their innocence, they can never get it back.”

I have thought of that statement many times since that moment she said this to me. I believe I was a very innocent, even naïve child. My first instinct was to trust people. I had no reason not to. For many of us, there is a gradual, or sometimes a traumatic loss of innocence. My belief that other people were kind and good fell away to the realization that people can be cruel and mean. Anyone who has ever felt different or outside the dominant group, whether it be for physical differences, mental, social or religious differences, knows that this loss of innocence can be painful and sad.

This week, I learned that one of my aunts had died. It was not unexpected. She wasn’t someone I was close to, but still, to this day, I hold on to my child-like view and opinion of her. I thought she was beautiful, with a movie-star like quality. The way she looked, walked, talked and carried herself was, to me, very glamorous and mysterious. I saw her last year for the first time in many, many years, and though I would have never recognized her by the way she looked, she still had the same voice and it evoked that child-like awe of her movie-star quality. She was like Ginger on Gilligan’s Island.

I might be the only person in the universe who thinks this about her. I have never, as an adult, heard one single nice thing about her. I have struggled to reconcile my childhood view of her with the things I learned about her as an adult. When I was a child I had no idea that she was such a disagreeable person, but apparently there are many stories out there to support these stated claims about her. I learned some new ones this week, including that her own husband, my uncle, called her “That Woman” and never used her name when he talked about her. I know he cared about her, though. No one chooses to live with someone for 40 years without having some shred of love or care for that person. So, I called up Uncle to express my condolences. To me, she was still my movie-star-like aunt, a child-like perception that I could never get rid of, even though I knew now she wasn’t ALL THAT.

“Uncle, I’m sorry to hear about Aunt T.W.’s passing.” (T.W. is short for “That Woman.”)

“Well, these things happen when you go to the hospital. You live longer if you stay at home. They kill you at the hospital. Or refer you to someone else.”

“I’m sorry I won’t be able to come to the funeral tomorrow. I have to go to the dentist in the morning to get a tooth pulled.”

“Oh. Is it loose?”

“Yes, loose and cracked.” (All you XLH’ers know what I’m talking about, I’m sure!)

“I pull my own teeth. The dentist will just take your money if you let them do it.”

“Do you use pliers?”

“No, I use my fingers. Last year I pulled out 4 loose ones, including a jaw tooth. What you do is work it a little bit, twisting and pulling. Then you might have to stop for a day or two, because it’s gonna hurt. Then, work on it some more and eventually, you can pull it out yourself. You do have to twist and pull on it to get it out. It may take a few days.”

“I think I’ll get my dentist to do it.”

“Well, you’ll need to rinse out your mouth about 3 times a day with warm salt water afterwards. The dentist won’t tell you THAT, because he’s going to want to give you some pills. But the warm salt water is all you need. About 3 times a day for a few days.”

“Okay. I’ll keep that in mind. And I’ll be thinking about you when I’m at the dentist tomorrow.”

“Okay, bye.”

“Uh, bye!”

I have to say, it was the most bizarre condolence conversation I’ve ever had. But he’s not one to express a lot of emotions, and so I think he was just being kind, recommending what I would need to do after the extraction. He’s done this kind of thing before. Last year, I saw Uncle and Aunt T. W. when I was on the way to the beach and he gave me a very stern warning to wear a hat and long sleeves or the sun would ruin my skin. He showed me his arms as proof of what damage the sun can do. Though he’s never had children, he told me all this in a very fatherly sort of way and with not very many teeth in his head. I’ve always liked him. He is definitely his own person and doesn’t care what others think of him. Missing teeth, disagreeable wife, and all.

This morning, as I was getting ready to go to the dentist, I realized that the loss of innocence can cause a lot of anxiety. There was a time when I did not know what it was like to have to go to the dentist so much, but now I dread it. And I don’t really know why. I have a great dentist who can shoot Novocain in gums and jaws and cheeks better than anybody in the world, I am sure. He just says I’m very tough, but I tell him that he is THE BEST. The anxiety about the extraction was way worse than the actual extraction itself. I think it’s because I have had some very painful dentistry experiences, none of which Dr. Tooth was a part of. So, I get anxious. It only takes one or two bad experiences to lose that Pollyanna view of things. I told him about my uncle’s self-extractions. Dr. Tooth was quite amused. The visit went quite well. He pulled the tooth out in one piece and said that I must have brought my lucky rabbit’s foot with me today, since it did not break in pieces. He handed me the tooth, after cleaning it, and suggested that I put it under my pillow for the Tooth Fairy. (Okay, losing my innocence about the Tooth Fairy was not painful and sad. I have no residual damage from finding out the truth about that.) I told him that I was sure that the amount the Tooth Fairy would leave would not cover my bill.

Now, I’m at home, with a mouth full of gauze pads. And, if you made it to the end of this post, then I will reward you with a photograph of my extracted tooth. Dr. Tooth derived great pleasure in pointing out the internal resorption, the cracks, and the bone loss, and he affirmed our decision to remove it now. I’m pretty sure the silver filling in it won’t pay for his bill, either.

Extracted Tooth

Photo of today’s extracted tooth. Good example of internal resorption, according to Dr. Tooth. Good example of why I must continue to work for a living, according to me.

Copyright 2013-2018, Banjogrrldiaries and S.G. Hunter