On Work Versus Home

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

   Being a resident in the medical profession requires the willingness to give up a lot of control over your life. From a big picture perspective, you're doing great things for yourself and others: contributing to the care of people in need and in medical crisis, achieving life long learning and job security. All good things, no doubt.

   But on the micro level, the day to day stuff, it can be nothing short of painful for an intelligent, type-A personality to hand over so much of their lives to the twisted machine that is the business of medical care. There are simply too many variables, too much "it's not in your control, just let it go."

   Hospital administration and politics aside, a career in medicine is notorious for eating up your insides in the wee hours of the morning: Did I really tie that last suture securely? Should I have rechecked that potassium level? Did I evaluate every single margin from that cancer resection? And that can lead to burn out faster than you can say Bob's your uncle.

   For me, one of the keys to avoiding this is not only to keep the big picture of my job in mind, but to also maintain its separation from my personal life. In medicine, there are a thousand details that will eat your home life alive unless you can check them at the hospital exit.

   For example, no matter how crazy things in the hospital get (if I hear the phrase "budget cut" one more time I'm afraid my brain might melt), I always have my lush backyard, my quiet kitchen and my jump rope (best exercise on the planet, bar none). A 95 pound pit bull who thinks she's a lap dog never fails to melt away the day either. We must remind ourselves to save time for the things that soothe our souls and keep our bodies strong.

   The only downside to dedicating myself to maintaining my healthy home life activities while also attempting to be an exceptional resident is sometimes there must be a give and take. I've spent these past two months on a particularly busy service, and in the process of amping up my exercise routine for stress release and keeping up my nightly meal making, I had to give up a bit of blogging.

   But this month is drawing to a close and I can sense the puzzle pieces of my life beginning to settle back into their familiar picture.

   Today's recipe has been a life saver these last few months. It's exactly what I look for in a salad dressing: packed with flavor, silky smooth and the exact opposite of greasy palate syndrome. Steve and I have eaten salads almost nightly with this stuff drizzled over it and we're contemplating using it as a dipping sauce the next time we're inclined to grill some kebabs.

   I've been keeping a Tupperware of it in the fridge and on mornings I have no leftovers for lunch I dice up a cucumber, peel several carrots into ribbons and pack a small container of the dressing. Put those two together plus an Ezekiel bread peanut butter sandwich and I'm good to go.

   Adding sprouts of any sort boosts the awesome factor.

   As an additional bonus, this dressing is not only a zingy taste explosion (yes, I said taste explosion... make the dressing and you'll be right there with me), but it will get some fresh ginger into your diet. Ginger is a power house antioxidant as well as a gentle vasodilator- ergo it's great for circulation and will keep your skin and heart young!

Miso Ginger Salad Dressing

3 coin sized (use a quarter as your reference) pieces of peeled, fresh ginger
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white (mild) miso paste

   Combine all ingredients in your food processor. Process, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom once or twice, until everything is perfectly smooth and blended.
   Keeps in the fridge for one week.
   Serves four over generous dinner sized salads, or 6-8 appetizer sized salads.

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