Day 138: The biggest thing we have cooked this year

May 18, 2007

At 5am this morning we got up to take Baby A to the hospital to have her adenoids removed. It wasn’t until she was almost in surgery, at about 7am, that she realised that she hadn’t eaten since 6pm the previous evening, and then she was very upset. I got the dubious joy of taking her into the operating room for the second time and holding her down while they administered the anaesthetic by gas. We had gone through a whole routine earlier in the morning of asking Baby A which scented lip balm she preferred so that she could smell the delicious fruity smell inside the mask. Fun, not scary. Except when we got to the operating room there was no mention of lip balms and smelling nice smells. It was more of a hold your child down while we gas her, type of experience. I was a mess. I’d blame the pregnancy hormones, but I know I’d have been a mess anyway. Even though I held her while she went under last time, and knew what to expect, it’s never pleasant watching the shear panic in your child’s eyes as a mask is held over her face till she passes out. And moving her from lap to bed is too much like moving a dead weight to be in any way comforting.

By the time I had composed myself and gone on a treck to get us coffee in a hospital which only takes cash, where the ATM’s are also broken, the doctor had told L that the surgery was over and Baby A was fine. It took her 8 minutes to remove the apparently huge and disgusting adenoids. When Baby A came out of recovery she looked really rough and was covered in gunk on her face. We carried her down to her room with the IV trailing behind us. One arm was all taped up to a block for the IV, meaning that she couldn’t suck her most favourite finger. The other hand had some sort of taped on light thing that was hooked up to another monitor. We were in that tiny room for a few hours, most of which she slept lying on my chest. Whenever she woke up, she would get upset about her hands and the wires, but she did eat and drink, although not the hospital issue mashed potato and macaroni cheese. She was much happier with an oatmeal raisin cookie from Starbucks; we have trained her well. Just as we were starting to despair as to what we would do to distract her and entertain her in that barren room, the doctor came by and asked when we’d like to take her home. “Now” said L, and so we were discharged. Not before Baby A got inconsolably hysterical after a dose of steroids, but eventually we got bundled out of there and even found the car. (Note to selves: pay attention to which level you leave the car on next time). Since we came home, she has been fine, a bit grumpy and occasionally tantrum filled, but no more so than normal. I think if they’d have kept us in hospital overnight, we would all have been completely and utterly bonkers by now.

There are occasional moments when it dawns on me that we have made a family; that we’re not just a couple with a child, but that we are our own little family unit, and we’re all we have. Living so far away from home heightens that sense of isolation at times like these. We kept in close contact with my mum via text message to keep her updated on Baby A’s progress, and a friend who lives locally called to say she was thinking of us. But other than that, I don’t think we’d even told most of our friends back home that surgery was scheduled. Everyone’s so busy and life just flies by. You can’t help thinking how things would pan out if anything had gone wrong. But it didn’t thankfully, and all in all Baby A did pretty great. And when she got home there was a present waiting for her from her Grannie; a couple of books on piggies, some of her favourite things in the whole world. My heart goes out to all the families dealing with sick kids, it must be unbelievably difficult day in and day out. This was a hard day and, in the grand scheme of things, adenoid removal is a pretty minor procedure; we know how lucky we are.

So, back to food, we were home in plenty of time to make Spinach and Artichoke Calzones which built upon the pesto recipe of yesterday, albeit with more garlic. The pesto was then mixed with frozen spinach and ricotta cheese and seasoned to taste. We fought valiantly with a tube of refridgerated pizza dough, but the dough won. We were supposed to be making two 6″ diameter circles, but the dough kept tearing and contracting. Eventually we decided to make one large calzone, so we each grabbed a corner of the dough and threw the filling in, before it shrank back to miniscule proportions. We put shredded Italian blended cheese on top of the ricotta filling, and wrestled the dough over the filling and sealed the sides. We painted olive oil over the top of the calzone, and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. At one point the calzone was about 5″ high; this was some monster. We served it with a little side salad to counteract the enormous amount of stodge we ate today, including this dinner.

Overall, this meal was much better than the pesto yesterday; it was a little less bland and a little more interesting. We have an enormous amount of the filling left over and are planning to make little pasties for lunch tomorrow with puff pastry rather than pizza dough. I guess you could also stuff a chicken breast with the filling too. The extra garlic helped boost the pesto and the cheesiness was complemented well by the frozen spinach. Tomorrow, we will be making Lettilas: Mix-n-Match Lettuce Tacos, which aside from the cutesy name seem to feature a beef and a shrimp taco filling. It’s always good to use as many different types of protein as there are people eating.

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  • Reply Alisha May 18, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    I’m glad to hear your daughter made it through surgery okay. Hope her recovery is quick (like by tomorrow morning!)

  • Reply Joannie May 19, 2007 at 5:11 am

    I’m glad surgery went well. My in-laws live 10 minutes away and my father-in-law is retired. It’s so great to get so much help (I’m currently growing baby number 4). I constantly wonder how people with no family nearby manage. Raising children is tough!

    This recipe looks delicious. I love calzones and think it’s a better idea than pizzas. It sounds like there would have been too much filling no matter which option you chose. I like the idea of stuffing chicken with it. Anything to brighten up chicken!

  • Reply Doctor D May 19, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I am so happy all went well with Babe. I thought of you all yesterday, as I understand the wacky experience of putting your baby under general anesthesia (It is all too familiar). I can’t believe you composed yourself enough to make calzones later in the day, you guys are completely amazing.

  • Reply Helen | One Year Project May 20, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Thanks everyone, we are delighted it’s all over and the little one did well. She’s pretty grumpy today (2 days later) but apparently that’s normal.
    4 children Joannie, phew! We find one pretty tiring. Hope your family continue to help out, and congratulations!

  • Reply The Home Cook May 21, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Glad to hear Baby A is doing better. I love calzones (although I make ours with pizza dough from an Italian baker) so I might give this one a try since I love spinach and artichokes and garlic. 🙂

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