Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Recovery (or a Very Specific Holiday)

Cool rug I'd like to buy, by Dan Golden

This one's long but there are lots of links:

The Story of Recovery, Take 1: the Early Days:
The night before my surgery I downloaded the audiobook version of My Life in France by Julia Child and her nephew Alex Prudhomme. Also on the old i-pod, I made a playlist consisting of 4 episodes of the “Splendid Table” along with some soothing music: Luna, some Belle and Sebastian, The Libertines, Feist, with a little Django Reinhardt thrown in---happy feel good stuff.

I did that because I was under the impression that I could listen to music while I was being operated on—at least that’s what they told me in my pre-surgery "try to relax" meeting the week before. I figured I’d wake to the soothing voice of Lynn Rosetto Caspar. I was thinking I could put some of my Learn French by Podcast on there, and when I woke up, I’d be parlezzing Fran├žais.
But none of this happened. Just before I walked through those doors, the resident said no way.

I handed Jim the i-pod.

No worries. When I came to, I could barely parlez English. It wasn’t until the next morning (they wake you up at 5 am), I could even figure out how to make my i-pod work. For the next few mornings I’d listen to Julia Child’s story, and then nod off in a morphine haze. Then I’d try to look at a magazine. I only brought 2 mags: Blueprint and Vogue. I never got past a few pages of Blueprint before I nodded off again, sometimes with my finger in my eye, my nose or where ever it was when I fell off. Later that day Kaelea brought all kinds of British Gossip rags which I later nodded off to as well.

On my last night in the hospital, ironically and possibly as a tribute to my hard work at being drugged up, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was on AMC, and I dozed off with that in one ear, my loud roommate’s loud son telling his mother about his roommate problems in the other.

Then: Home Coming/Coming Home:
I was lucky that Joie, my oldest friend and also step-niece came with Jim to drive me home. A cab driver would have hit bumps I think, and that would have hurt. She helped us settle in at home, brought all kinds of food for the week and also I book that I’d put off reading for some reason, Julia & Julia, about Julie Powell’s year of cooking all 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art Of French Cooking. (I found the blog she kept that year, one of the first blogs I’d ever seen, The Julie/Julia Project when I put in Julia Child in a Google Search. Anyway I loved that blog and how inspiring a story to know that Julie Powell found her way via cooking and writing about her experiences.)

Last Week's Schedule:I read Julie & Julia in the mornings, listened to Julia Child for a while before lunch and then turned on BBC America around 1 pm to watch Naked Chef and Gordon Ramsay’s Boiling Point, the documentary made about him after he quit Aubergine and opened his own restaurant in London. I happened to get a copy of an April 2nd New Yorker which had a great article by Bill Buford ( I really want to read his new book where he trails Mario Batali for a year) about Ramsay so I simultaneously read that while watching daily half-hour doses of Boiling Point. You could say that both Julia Child and Gordon Ramsay have been well researched by me during this recovery.

One day I watched back episodes of Top Chef, one day I watched back episodes of Food Network’s weird competition show, Top Food Network Show Star or whatever it was called ( I didn’t think much of it—I prefer PBS style cooking shows to Food Network shows any day (although I like Nigella and the Barefoot Contessa). In between, I’d ask Jim, who’s been wonderful throughout, for food like, scrambled eggs, buttered toast and ginger-ale, smoothies made with big fresh strawberries he bought for me and my new favorite yogurt brand besides the Greek Stuff called Wallaby. One night, I craved boiled then pan butter roasted potatoes of which he did an excellent job. I can’t remember eating much more but I nourished myself watching all the food shows whenever I wanted.

On Thursday night, exactly one week after the operation, we watched back to back episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, where Gordon goes into failing restaurants and helps turn them around into viable businesses again. I love that show because Ramsay’s tough-love approach, simple marketing ideas and downright entertaining bouts of anger and honesty helps me look at my own business to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then I’d read the book again and look through my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, old copies of Saveur and the new Food And Wine. I didn’t touch the computer all week because I just wasn’t up to it yet I figured out you can still find out about all sorts of things without it. Oh yeah and one day I watched all of Season two of The Office. One day, when it rained monsoon rains all over NY, I went right back to bed where Jim had found Knocked Up on tv-links.co.uk and then Little Mosque on the Prairie (confirming that Canadians are the coolest) on Joox.net. That was a good day to go back to bed and watch Jim’s laptop. Anytime someone came to visit we’d make them watch Flight of The Conchords (on-demand). You know what Wednesday means.

Afterthoughts on the First Two Weeks:
I realize this has been both a dull yet inspiring journey. I’ve been on an amazing virtual culinary vacation laced with narcotics, anti-inflammatants and bland foods. And it hurt (a lot) when I laughed.
When I’m completely recovered, whenever that is, I’m ready to eat and take a vacation.


P.S. Thanks to my great husband who never left my side and made that first week bearable (and made unbelievably good potatoes). And my great mom who took great care of me the second week when my great husband had to go back to work. And also to my great friends who called and visited and beared great gifts that totally cheered me up (dvd's, nightyshirt with pictures of skulls all over it, bunches of sunflowers, zinnias, lavender roses, hydrangeas, a banh mi sandwich. ) I also have a great assisitant to thank, who worked several market tables for me and made me completely proud of her abilities to run the show.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've been a super trooper, darlin', and you're the prettiest little invalid in PJs I've ever seen. I'll miss the percoset-clouded you, but won't it be fun to laugh again?!! love, HG

kathy said...

Hi Deb,
I had no idea, all these years, what a foodie you were! Or a food reader, or a Julia Childe worshiper! I bet you are a great cook too beacuse you put so much loooove into everything you do.
XOXO,
Kathy

Germy said...

I'd like to leave a longer comment but it's business time!

Get well soon Deb!

Deb said...

Thanks you guys! I'd write more thank yous but Anthony Bourdain is on...

Tracey said...

What a wonderful, foodie-inspired jam-packed post! I'll be mining it for future ideas and inspiratoins . . . take care and glad to hear you are on the mend.

molly said...

AWESOME post, deb. and dare i ask? what kind of surgery? did i miss something in a much earlier post? i knew you were going in...but i didn't know what for...and now, curiosity has got the best of me!

ana said...

glad you're back in action- and posting like wildfire. hope you're feeling much, much better!

Deb said...

Thanks so much for your great wishes everyone...still taking it slow and loving all the internet has to offer.
I think Bonbon will be fully operational again in a few weeks!

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