Three things again:
- When I was running today I went by this pond in the park and I came within three feet of a great blue motherfucking heron. It was just standing there, it was really cool.
- Last night I wound up going to bed really late because I read “Chemo World,” and then I couldn’t sleep. It’s a memoir in this month’s Harper’s written by a cancer ward nurse and holy shit it is one powerful piece of writing. She combines the scientific details about how chemo works with anecdotal evidence and perfectly-placed details, and I won’t lie, I could feel my bones freaking out. Seriously:
Worse than the nausea for many people is a condition called mucositis. Many drugs damage the DNA of cells in the mucus membranes of the entire digestive tract, from mouth to anus, as well as mucous membranes in the vagina. The damage and the release of inflammatory chemicals destroys tiny blood vessels and connective tissue, creating ulcers. Some patients are in such severe pain from mouth sores that they can’t swallow or even speak. They require narcotics and may need days or weeks of what is called TPN, total parenteral nutrition, a metabolically balanced liquid given through the veins. (Now and then, if a patient has a certain sense of humor about his or her dark condition, the nurses will label the big, milky bag: “Steak, baked potatoes, apple pie,” changing the menu day by day.)It’s pretty visceral, and that’s not even the part about how the chemo drugs are so toxic that the nurses have to wear gloves when handling the plastic bags, or how one treatment essentially constitutes destroying all your bone marrow and then replacing it with pre-harvested other bone marrow. I think I found it so harrowing because chemo’s universally acknowledged to suck, but no one really talks about it, and I know people who’ve had cancer. I think probably everyone does. And those people I know, this stuff has probably happened to them, privately. But they don’t really talk about it because cancer? Not a fun conversation topic. Ugh.
- This delicious pineapple dessert thing I made for lunch:
(This is for one person, for more people you’d have to double it I guess):
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a small nonstick pan.
While that’s going, hack up the amount of pineapple you want to eat into big cubes — my pineapple was slightly dried out and in the fridge in giant wedges already.
Once the butter’s melted, throw the pineapple cubes in the pan.
Sprinkle the whole mess with ~2 tbsp sugar.
Grate a bit of nutmeg directly into the pan.
Stir it around until the sugar’s all melted into the butter, so it looks kind of clear and syrupy.
Grab a chair to get your rum from the back of the liquor cabinet over the fridge.
Splash a small amount of rum into the pan — it will start boiling, but don’t put your face over it unless you won’t a noseful of booze. Let the alcohol cook off, then let everything cook up and start to get a bit of colour in the syrup — not really full on caramel, just a little darker.
Throw in a bit more rum when you start to worry the sugar will burn. Let the booze cook off again. You could add lime juice instead of more rum if you kept limes in the house, and I’m sure that would taste even better. (I will do it this way if I make it again.)
Dump the hot rummy pineapples into a bowl, top with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Spoon any syrup left in the pan over the ice cream.
Eat right away, so you get that hot-cold thing before the ice cream all melts. Tell yourself what a genius you are.
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