Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Of Hospitals, Holidays and Happy Late New Years

Okay, so shouting "Happy New Year!" now that it's almost the end of January seems a bit like finding some goodie in the back of the fridge you had hid for bit of a treat just to find when you open it, the smell is worse than a guys' locker room (at least the one at SCF after a tournament)! I don't know if that really has anything to do with what I had started thinking about writing tonight, but I am sure there's at least a couple of you that might get it.
Keatley kids, or should I say, young adults,
 trying to be serious (before bursting into hilarity!)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season. Ours was really quite amazing as we celebrated with all of the kids~while realizing there had been a possibility one could have not been with us. You see, Mary had gotten what we thought was just a stomach flu the Monday before Christmas. She ended up being rushed via ambulance to Salem Hospital after having passed out twice and throwing up a few times in the course of a couple of hours. David and I were at work then got the phone call from Brian saying she wasn't feeling well and to get home. By the time we left the salle, we had called him back and told him to call 911. He called back in a short while (already I had starting losing track of the time). He said for us to go straight to the hospital. Upon arriving, we found out she hadn't gotten there yet, and so we waited. After a bit, we were shown into a small triage room where lay a very ill-looking young lady. Finally, they took her into the actual emergency department & started checking for what was wrong. The doctor was terrific as were the nurses. We had all thought she was just dehydrated and that fluid would work to get her better, so we could go home. Little did we know how ill she really was. Two and a half hours and three bags of fluid later, her blood pressure was still around 80/30 and not getting better. Being the clueless mom, I figured that wasn't too bad until I saw the doctor's worried face, not to mention all the tests & consultations that were going on. About 2am, they told us she'd be going up to ICU which let me realize the gravity of the whole situation. She then spent the next two days in ICU hooked up to all kinds of machines, not being able to hardly eat & still smiling and joking with the wonderful staff that had to do all kinds of things to help try to get her better. She starting improving by Wednesday evening & they transferred us to a "regular" room for the night. We laughed about it being like going from the Hilton to Motel 6 (the room, but by no means the staff- they were all great). We came home Thursday, and she started what has been quite a long road of recovery. She spent most of her Christmas week at home- with the exception of Christmas night at the Fordyce's. Brian took her for a re-check on Christmas Eve day with Dr. Farah, who told Mary to "never, ever get that sick again". It was then explained that her body had gone into hypovolemic shock. Once we actually knew what had happened, we were all so grateful for her still being with us, and for the amazing care & prayers she received during her stay at the hospital and during recovery. It has taught me so much about being grateful for each minute I have with my family and how much I love my kids!
Our Epiphany Feast table
all decorated by Mary
Mary was starting to feel good enough to be able to host our 1st annual Epiphany Feast on January 5th. She had been planning this since the beginning of Autumn, and I knew it meant a lot to her for us to have it. We had invited the Matitches and Fords for a traditional English dinner (with, of course, a few Keatley "twists"). We even had English "crackers" complete with paper crowns, trinkets & silly jokes. We enjoyed roast turkey, chestnut dressing, gluten-free forcemeat (the British word for sausage) dressing, boiled red potatoes, mashed potatoes, bread sauce, roasted parsnips & carrots as well as a salad brought by Cristina (very un-British, but for we Americans, nice to have some green vegetables). This was all enhanced by a variety of wine, hard cider and beer as well as sparkling lemonade for those who needed something non-alcoholic. After lots of good discussion along with the dinner, Cari made some delicious cappuccinos for a few guests while the rest of us enjoyed hot mulled wine or tea. This was the intermezzo before singing Christmas songs & listening to Joshua play his penny whistle for a bit. Then it was on to desserts- panettone bread pudding and berry cheesecake (brought by the Matitches). Fully sated, we sat and talked some more until everyone realized the time and remembered that we all needed to arise before the sun the following morning so as to be to church for 7:00 a.m. Mass.

So our "holiday season" passed in what felt like a whirlwind. Mary is slowly, but surely recovering, Joshua is back at school, David started his second to last term at Chemeketa, and Cari is busy at work as well as re-vamping her apartment. Brian has been enjoying his books- his latest are a few books about pairing wine & food and one about making sausage. This year has so far started with me trying to get our home a bit more organized which is why I am hoping to actually stay up with my blog. To be honest, it helps me feel more accountable- even if hardly anyone reads it. I realized I am probably not ever going to have a bunch of followers, and that's okay. If I can help one person try something new or make someone laugh a bit, then it's worth doing. That is something I can for sure do in 2013, along with continuing to have a grateful heart!

Here is the recipe for the Panettone Bread Pudding. You'll probably have to wait until this coming Christmas to make it as that's when the pannetone can be found. If you can't wait, you can always make the pannetone and egg nog yourself! Hmm, wonder if "Groundhog Day Panettone Bread Pudding" sounds good???

Panettone Bread Pudding:
  • 1 (1-pound) loaf panettone bread, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 cups egg nog
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
To make the bread pudding: Lightly butter a bundt pan. Place bread cubes in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, egg nog, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. Pour into bundt pan.(Recipe can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, and serve with sweetened whip cream.