Sunday, May 18, 2014

Graduation 2014


   This week was filled with the busy whir of multiple graduations.   One of Daniel's brothers (our son Matt) graduated from college, as did one of Daniel's friends.  It still hurts unexpectedly when a friend or contemporary of Daniel's reaches a milestone here on Earth that Daniel will never reach here. During the reception afterward, we saw many people who had met or knew Daniel. I wonder if I will ever attend a graduation reception without thinking how much Daniel would have enjoyed it.    Most of the time I can summon the mettle to tell myself that God has a plan and that Daniel achieves great things in our next life, and also that Daniel was always God's to call. Sometimes the sorrow catches us unexpectedly, especially during life's milestones, particularly those of his siblings.   Certainly, if I, a mere human woman, understands how fine a person Daniel was from his time here, then God would know also.

                           So I persist in this strange world, doing my best and raising our remaining family and our animals as best I can.   Daniel's brother who graduated this week will be going to yet another university for an additional degree. With the economy persisting in tatters and jobs as scarce as hen's teeth,  this is probably a very good idea.



                     And so now, a Summer break begins.    Appreciate the family you have left with you. Keep them safe this Summer, and enjoy the days we all have remaining.  I will try to do the same.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Meet Nancy Capelle

Nancy Capelle, EMT, CET

         I usually discuss sudden cardiac arrests as they apply to Sudden Cardiac Arrhythmias, or heart rhythm disturbances.  Today I would like to tell you about another type of cardiac issue which can also cause arrhythmia and sudden death.

               Nancy Capelle was a Connecticut wife and mother who commuted to a job in the corporate world. She loved her job and it meant a good deal to her.  One day, at only forty, while she was home with her two young daughters, she developed some chest pains.  Nancy is an educated woman, and had a history of esophageal spasm, which in itself can be quite uncomfortable, and so she sat at the computer expecting this to pass.  Her chest pain continued to radiate to the back, and to her left arm and to her jaw.  She was a healthy, beautiful woman of forty, who was of normal weight, and who liked to run for recreation with her husband.  She googled her symptoms before eventually calling an ambulance.  Nancy experienced a full cardiac arrest in the ambulance while the ambulance turned out of her driveway.  A diligent paramedic first tried a precordial thump, which was ineffective and then used a hospital grade defibrillator which saved Nancy's life.

               The cause of Nancy's cardiac arrest was not high cholesterol, or a bad diet, or stress, but is something called spontaneous coronary artery dissection  (SCAD)       SCAD afflicts women 80% of the time, and has a 70% mortality rate.  Yes, that's correct. 70% of the time, afflicted patients die.

             Fortunately for everyone, as a result of her experience, Nancy has devoted herself no longer to the corporate world, but to CPR, AED education and to educating others concerning cardiac sudden death of all varieties.  Nancy is now a motivational speaker and the founder of Cardiac Companion LLC.

             If anyone, particularly those in the US Northeast would like to talk to Nancy, for television or radio appearances, or as an excellent organizational or corporate speaker, this is contact information for her.  I think Daniel would wholeheartedly approve of the manner in which she is spending her time !


Monday, May 12, 2014

On Mother's Day


        I have explained in the past that Mother's Day, even before Daniel's passing never held any particular fascination for me.  I believe, as my own mother did, that I should be treated with respect and consideration the year round, and not simply honored on one allocated day.  I already have a birthday, and my family values me already.  The meager offerings of a child should therefore be spent on things they need.  Of course, following Daniel's sudden and unexpected departure, Mother's Day became a day of endurance and often, of sorrow.  Since most of our kids are grown or near it, they have each chosen to do something to perhaps soften the difficulty of the day.  I received a private recognition from each of my children.  My husband busied himself doing some chores I needed done here on the farm, and I spent the day doing exactly what I wanted to at home, which entailed organizing my disaster supply room. (Something I really need to be doing as it entails giving some things to my daughter at her home, and both rotating some stock and using other items.)   When I was finished, I spent extra time with the dogs and the horses and the alpacas.   This day, there were no tears. It was calm and I mothered both people and animals.

           My balance was upset very slightly this morning when a friend sent me an article written by a Harvard pediatrician who had lost a son.  I read her thoughts about how difficult a day it is and how she copes.  With that, the tears came. Oddly, what I took from it is that even a Harvard pediatrician can lose her child.   I suppose that in the deepest recesses of my mind I have wondered that if I had stuck to my original plan of being a physician, that I would somehow have detected Daniel's predilection for arrhythmia and sudden death and somehow have interceded.  Perhaps I have wondered that if by being a nurse, I missed the snippet of information that would have allowed me to prevent Daniel's gorgeous light of a life slip through my CPR performing hands on the bathroom floor on that terrible, terrible day five and a half years ago now.  Perhaps a pediatrician losing her child is the nod I need to realize that sometimes terrible things simply happen in this life no matter how much we love someone, and no matter how much we would be willing to do to keep them here on Earth with us.

            I hope your day was pleasant, or at least without palpable sobs.  Most years will be better.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Happy Eighteenth Birthday, Daniel


  If we had been lucky enough to have Daniel remain on Earth, this week he would have been eighteen years old.  Daniel, we have spent six Christmases without your being here in the flesh and five of your last birthdays without your smiling face. We celebrated these holidays quietly, but we still celebrated them. There are so many things I would like to have done, and had you with me while we were doing them.

Perhaps by now you would have grown in to liking sushi !

          You were so bright at 12 1/2 and had been looking at colleges with an eye to going early. I find it hard to imagine what you might be doing now had you stayed.  Perhaps you would be working on a Ph d by now.
In any event, as you know, we are all still here. We still celebrate your birthdays and the holidays with a cake and a quiet family celebration.  Please know that you are loved and remembered by your people who remain on Earth.  I love you, Bug.

Happy 18th Daniel !

A cake of the cosmos is probably the most fitting.

Last evening, I remembered you by making a yellow Bundt cake, and then when it was out of the pan, drizzling it with lots of lemon curd.  Your siblings thoroughly enjoyed it.

Once cooled and thickened, lemon curd makes an excellent topping to cakes and cheesecakes or as a generous glaze to a Bundt cake.  I know you would have loved this.

Daniel would want me to give you a recipe for the British Standard Lemon Curd:
    (No, you really don't need salt)

  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4cup sugar-1 cup depending upon taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons. . Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Mix the eggs with a fork and add them to the mixture. one at a time, and then add the lemon juice. . Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool and then refrigerate.   I have done this very carefully using a microwave.   A percentage of the thickening does occur while cooling.

This is an excellent drizzle for shortbread, scones, pound cake, pastry tarts, cheesecake, and is divine on pancakes.

Calories per tablespoon: About 50

    Happy Birthday, Daniel !

I don't believe that Daniel ever heard the music of Sarah Slean, but she has a straight shot to some of the music of Heaven.