Confession No. 63 — When a patient deserves no patience
Ferris Bueller I’m not.
I’m incapable of fluttering eyelashes pathetically at my caregivers. Neither am I able to feign sympathy for those people who stop everything to nurse me back to health. Hell, I’m not even good at showing gratitude in such situations.
My name is Adam J. Holland and I might just be the world’s worst patient.
As far back as I can remember — and I’m thinking about an incident that happened at age 3 during which the ER nurse threatened to give me a shot in the knee if I didn’t drop my pants — my refusal to cooperate has been documented in the charts of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, x-ray technicians, orderlies … even janitorial staff and parking attendants.
My own godmother, a doctor herself, remembers chasing me around her office — syringe in hand — until she finally had me cornered. I was about 14 and didn’t realize how fortunate I was. She and others who witnessed this brief episode of absurdity laugh about it today. Not me.
And I wasn’t laughing about it 10 years later when the phlebotomist couldn’t find a vein.
“I’ve found it, but it keeps rolling off my needle,” the lady in scrubs said to my then-fiancé, a nurse.
“I hate it when that happens,” the love of my life responded.
“Look ladies,” I barked, “I’m getting clammy over here and I’m about to pull that damn needle out of my arm and call off the wedding! Quit talking about my vein rolling around!”
But it was too late. The cold sweat had begun to bead on my forehead. The contents of my stomach were creeping upward. At that point, I couldn’t have cared less whether I had the syphilis test (required for a marriage license in New Jersey).
“Pull it out!” I ordered.
“I almost have it,” the phlebotomist responded.
“No, you don’t! Pull out the damn needle!”
She did and I bolted from the small exam room to the parking lot. From there, I took off my shirt, laid on the hood of the car and insisted that someone go get me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
“I was this close to calling off the wedding,” I said to Catherine after a subsequent successful attempt to draw a few drops of blood.
“Oh, Adam,” she laughed. “It was a few drops of blood. Were you really in pain?”
Truth is, those needles have never brought about any more pain than a little pinch sensation. Still, after begrudgingly giving a few drops of the red stuff in a hospital lab, I was handed an apple-flavored Laffy Taffy as the nurse applied a small bandage to the back of my hand. It was emblazoned with a smiling cartoon character and the words ‘I didn’t cry!’
I was in my mid-30s at the time.
Yes. I’m that bad. But my lack of medically related cooperation extends well beyond needles.
I once faked feeling fine when I thought the doctor and his attractive young assistant were considering bending me over a table and inserting the latest technology. I also once tried to trick the CT scan by not drinking the dye. On both occasions, the medical professionals thought they were dealing with a rational 34-year-old.
I have been telling the optometrist for years that the little burst of air in my eye (glaucoma test) incites uncontrollable vomiting. I’m also a pronounced self-diagnoser. Trust me, doctors don’t like this. And neither does my nurse wife.
Truth is, my wife, the other nurses and the doctors are the only people who feel worse than me when I’m feeling under the weather.
I hope you like what you’ve read here. Please consider telling 50 of your closest friends about me, and joining me on Facebook. I promise that I’m a much better Facebooker than I am a patient. Just click the ‘like’ button.
Non-Texans might look at the recipe and photo below and think ‘That doesn’t look like a taco!’ Welcome to the wonderful world of gooey rich Tex-Mex cuisine, where tacos can be crispy, folded or rolled and topped with hot chili con queso. Yes, this is the real deal, with no processed cheese product — only rich, buttery melted cheese. It’s similar to what you’d find in those wonderful hole-in-the-wall Tex-Mex dives.
Tex-Mex Cheese Tacos
1 lb. – Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 TB - Dad’s Chili Mix
15 – Corn tortillas (or 30, if you prefer some extra thickness)
Corn oil for a quick fry. (optional)
Combine the cheeses and Dad’s Chili Mix. Soften the corn tortillas by either frying for about 5 seconds per side in hot oil; or by microwaving* for about 5 seconds (2-3 at a time).
Place about 1/3 cup of cheese mixture into softened corn tortilla and roll tightly. Place in a lightly oiled baking dish or pan. Repeat until you’ve rolled all of your tacos.
*If you’ve softened the tortillas using the microwave method, spray the top surface of the rolled tacos lightly with oil or non-stick spray. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.
Preheat oven to 400F.
2 TB – Butter
2 TB – All-purpose flour
1 cup – Milk or Half & Half
1 lb - Shredded melting cheese (Queso Asadero, Manchego, Mozzarella or Provolone)
3 TB - Dad’s Chili Mix
3/4 cup – sour cream
1 – 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (drained, liquid reserved)
1/2 cup – Fresh cilantro, chopped
3 – green onions, chopped
While oven is preheating, melt butter over medium heat in a 2 qt. saucepan. Add flour and stir constantly for about 15 seconds. Add milk or Half & Half and stir until combined. Add fire roasted tomatoes and 3 TB of Dad’s Chili Mix. Stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.
[Your oven should be preheated by now. Place pan of rolled tacos on center rack and bake until warmed through — about 10 minutes.]
Meanwhile, add cilantro and green onions to sauce. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and 1 lb. of melting cheese. Stir until combined. If queso seems too thick, add reserved juice from tomatoes.
Ladle queso over warmed rolled tacos and pretend like you’re eating in a Tex-Mex dive. This goes perfectly with Mexican rice and refried beans. Don’t forget the chips and salsa!
Makes about 15 cheese tacos. Enough for a family of five, with a few for leftovers.