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Love him or hate him, Senator Obama is our new president, and health care most likely won’t be immune to his push for “change.”

Prior to the election, Obama shared his ideas for healthcare reform in the October 9th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article can be found here. Unfortunately, the article seems to sugarcoat what Obama really wants the U.S. to move toward – government-run health care. Now even within the medical community there exists some ideological segregation on whether a form of socialized medicine is good for this country. I happen to belong to the camp that balks at big government and thinks any type of universal healthcare program would be bad for this country. However, I welcome discourse on this topic and will be addressing it in more detail in the near future.

I realize this isn’t a political  blog, but as medical wives we will be more personally affected by healthcare reform, and it’s our responsibility to stay informed and be engaged in conversations about health care in this country.

Daddy’s not a big fan of quiches, but my preschooler loves them.

“When Daddy’s on-call again, can we have quiche?” she recently asked.

And so we did.

Here’s our favorite quiche recipe:

Basic Quiche

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup feta cheese
1 cup half and half
Dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
1-10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, cooked (Make sure to squeeze out the extra moisture once the spinach is cooked or the quiche will turn out soggy.)
OR about 2 cups shredded fresh baby spinach (just tear leaves into pieces with your hands; this is a great job for little ones)
Prepared pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Puncture pie crust with a fork, and bake for about 10 minutes.
3. Whisk eggs in a bowl.
4. Beat in remaining ingredients.
5. Fill pie crust, and bake until golden brown, about 35-45 minutes.

Quiche variations: Add one or more of the following: bacon, mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of chopped chives, chopped tomatoes, etc. You can also try making it with different types of cheeses.

In the spirit of Fall and all those Pumpkins out there here is a Pumpkin dish that is sure to warm you up.

Makes 8 servings.

In a 4qt pot over medium heat, whisk together 2 cans of vegetable broth and 1 cup of pure pumpkin puree, until well blended.

Stir in 1 (15 oz.) can of black beans, drained, and rinsed; 1 can of rotel, and 1 (11 oz.) can of Mexi-corn, drained.

Cook 5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Garnish with sour cream or cilantro

My preschooler has a new obsession with The Wizard of Oz. Saturday mornings are movie time at our house, and our TV-hungry child (I maintain strict television-viewing rules during the week) is always eager to choose a movie to enjoy. For the past few weekends, she’s wanted to watch Dorothy explore the wonderful world of Oz. She’s even decided she wants to be Dorothy for Halloween (she’s recruited her baby sister to be Toto).

I enjoy the classic movie, too, and the other day something struck me. When I heard the faux wizard command, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” I couldn’t help but think of my husband.

Sometimes I want to say just the opposite: Pay attention to the man in the white coat. He’s not a wizard. He’s a human being. He has a family at home, including two, little girls who miss him terribly. He is committed to being a physician, but there’s more to his life than his work.

Oz’s great wizard wants Dorothy and her gang to see him as all-powerful, a superhuman. But I want people to see my husband and all physicians – even when he’s in his scrubs or in a pristine white coat – as a person, not some omnipotent, omniscient god.

I know some doctors might not seem compassionate or caring. I’ve had a few of my own, but I’ve also had great doctors. And I know my husband is one of them.

As a wife of a budding doctor (we have two more years of residency plus a fellowship remaining before he will be out in the real world practicing), one of my greatest challenges is to be understanding when my husband calls while we’re sitting around a set table with the dinner staying warm in the oven waiting for him to come home so we can eat as a family. “Go ahead and eat without me. Something’s come up. I’ll be late.”

I turn to my 3-year-old and relay the disappointing news. Her face drops. She misses her daddy. I miss him, too. But people are depending on him – not only patients but other physicians and health care providers. He’s a real team player, and I’m always so proud when we go to social functions and people come up to me and say that my husband is one of their favorite people to work with, that he’s not only bright but dedicated.

Still, the unpredictability of his schedule (and we’re lucky because radiology happens to be a much more family-friendly specialty than many others) can be tough on a family.

I share this because the next time you or a family member sees a physician (I may be preaching to the choir here, but I think even spouses of doctors need to be reminded of this) remember that he or she is not only serving you or a loved one, but he or she may have a family waiting for their mommy or daddy to return home.

And don’t forget: As much as we’d like them to be, especially when we’re hurting or watching a loved one suffer, doctors aren’t wizards.  My husband tells me over and over that despite all the advancements and cutting edge technologies, medicine is often not an exact science. Just like people in all professions, doctors make mistakes.

I recently saw the following headline for an article: “Should You Trust Your Mammogram? “It went on to say that even good doctors make mistakes, and I thought, “Of course they do,” but when their mistake means they miss cancer, people get angry and want to point their finger at someone. I don’t blame them,  but the truth is mammograms can be very difficult to read, especially if doctors don’t have a baseline image to compare it to. Believe me, they don’t want to miss cancer. They want to save lives first and foremost, and they’d rather not get sued.

But the bottom line is that yes, good, even excellent doctors do make mistakes. And even good doctors may seem distracted at times (maybe their wife just called to say they were having contractions five weeks before their due date; I made such a phone call when I was pregnant with my second child).

As a wife to a doctor, all I ask is that you pay attention to the man or women behind that curtain of medical professionalism. When you strip that doctor of his white coat, scrubs, scalpel, stethoscope, etc., he’s just like the rest of us – human.

 

I have recently found myself praying for the state of our economy, our well-being, our upcoming election, our nation as a whole.  These things jump to the forefront when you go two and a half weeks without being able to get gas.  Really, we have not been able to get gas in my city for over two weeks!  It’s a result of panic and greed among the citizens of this area, but none the less, we have no gas.  Being born in the late 70’s, this was a shocking experience for me.  I’ve always lived in a “you want it, you got it” era.  

Back to the point.  As the price of everything (except my pre-buyout purchase of Wachovia stock) goes up, I find myself being thankful for some things that I really never imagined I would be.  Could I ever have imagined that I would be thankful for:

  • A husband who had to spend a lot of our pre-children days studying?
  • A penny-pinching budget that felt more like a slap in the face every time my husband worked a 100 hour work week?
  • Lonely nights that come along with call and lonely days that come along with post-call?
  • Moving to a different state every few years?  And on that note, losing friends and having to make new ones so frequently?
  • Being married to someone who has a whole brain-full of info that I know very little about?
  • Trying to go out for supper as a family and having two or three people interrupt us to get my husband’s medical advice?
No, I didn’t think I would ever be thankful for these things.  But, the reality is that I am so very thankful that my husband is a doctor.  I am so thankful that he can provide for us even as our economy comes crashing down further every day.  I am so thankful that my husband has a job that can’t be outsourced.  I am so thankful that my husband put in long, sleepless nights hitting the books so he would be prepared for long, sleepless nights caring for others.  I am so thankful that my husband gets up early most mornings to head off to a profession that he loves.  I am so thankful that I can still afford gas when it goes over $4/gallon (even if I can’t find any to buy).  Being thankful for these things, I in turn have to be thankful for the things I never thought I would be.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am so thankful that I have to share my husband with his tireless pursuit to practice good medicine.  Some girls have all the luck! 🙂   

Seeking a Second Opinion

Preschooler, as she colors a picture of a rabbit with one floppy ear: Mommy, this rabbit’s ear is broken.

Mommy: I don’t think so.

Preschooler: Why not?

Mommy: Well, some rabbits just have floppy ears. Besides, I don’t think rabbit ears have bones in them, so they can’t be broken.

Preschooler: Why? 

Mommy: Ears have cartilage, and you need a bone in something to break it.

Preschooler: Oh.

A long pause…

Preschooler: I’ll have to check with Daddy. He’s a doctor, and he knows more about bones than you.

This is a great dish that can go from freezer to oven with no thawing required.  This recipe makes enough for two casserole dishes which is perfect making one for your family, giving one away to a new mom or putting the second one in your freezer. Oh yes and did I mention that one serving is 470 calories. Not bad if you ask me! Add a green salad and some garlic bread and dinner is done!

Yield

2 casseroles, 5 servings per dish (serving size: about 4 stuffed shells and about 1/2 cup smoky marinara)

Ingredients

  • 1  pound  jumbo shell pasta (40 shells)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  (12-ounce) carton 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1  (15-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh chives
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley- I used Italian parsley (flat leaf not curly)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained-(you could use fresh baby spinach too)
  • 6  cups  Smokey Marinara (recipe to follow)
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat 2 (13 x 9-inch) baking dishes with cooking spray; set aside.

Place cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese mixture, Asiago, and next 6 ingredients (Asiago through spinach).

Spoon or pipe 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each shell. Arrange half of stuffed shells, seam sides up, in one prepared dish. Pour 3 cups Smoky Marinara over stuffed shells. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat procedure with remaining stuffed shells, Smoky Marinara, and mozzarella in remaining prepared dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

To freeze unbaked casserole: Prepare through Step 5. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked casserole: Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover frozen casserole with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the shells are thoroughly heated.

Smoky Marinara

Yield

6 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh basil
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2  teaspoons  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  pepper
  • 1  (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained

Preparation

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, basil, parsley, and oregano; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar and remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light