Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Calorie-Restricting, Coffee-Addict's Love Affair With Irish Coffee

My friends dropped their Irish cream and whiskey shots into Guinness and gulped as quickly as they could before their drinks curdled. Most succeeded, but Downtown wasn’t so lucky. I laughed at him, disgusted at the thought of Downtown’s drink. My decade-long allergy to milk—one of my genetic acquisitions from my bone marrow donor—saved me from having to try Irish Car Bombs and offending my palate (and the Irish).

My immune system isn’t quite a teenager, and it outgrew my milk and peanut allergies like the child it is. Last year I self-experimented on my milk allergy and called victory after chugging 26 ounces without reacting. Months ago I duplicated that experiment with peanuts until I ate 66, which has the same number of calories as I’ve consumed this whole day as of 3 p.m. (Kiddies, don’t try this at home. Leave it to the professional idiots like me.)

I assumed I would make up for my lost milk years with so many enormous milkshakes, and bowls of banana pudding and ice cream that I would cause a new milk allergy. At the least I would finish each of my cheat meals with a milk product.

love that I no longer have food restrictions and I indulge sometimes, but it turns out that I mostly drink milk just as a weight training supplement. And I can’t imagine ending my cheat meals on anything besides candy, for which just writing the word spikes my glucose. Looking through my photo gallery, I realize I photograph new candies at supermarkets and share them with my other candy-loving friends and brother. I nearly cried when I couldn't find these the evening of my last cheat meal:

unique candy at the supermarket for Easter including Starburst jellybeans and LifeSavers gummies

I overconsume coffee, a calorie-free beverage, which was inevitable due to my addictive personality and obsession with shedding body fat. During the last snow day, CantSleepWontSleep and I couldn’t find a single open coffee shop in our Crystal City neighborhood. We searched everywhere within a 600-foot radius, for at least 12 minutes. We were tired, snowy and thirsty. When we found Bar Louis open, we were so relieved. But with the snow accumulating an inch an hour and our poor bartender itching to leave, we couldn’t simply order $2 coffees. “What is Irish coffee?” I asked our bartender.

The hot, freshly brewed coffee had that classic aroma and mouthfeel I was accustomed to. The brown sugar and Baileys added a sweet, creamy flavor. The Irish coffee soothed my soul, and if not for its $12 price tag and nearly 200 calories I would have drunk until my heart arrested from caffeine overload.

Now I really may make up for those lost milkless years with Irish coffees: in the mornings after exercising (not on workdays, obvi J); to complement my candy during cheat meals; and at home on the next snow day which is today, now at 3:45 p.m.

I will not catch up on all those lost Irish Car Bombs, however. If my friends never know I can now drink them then they won’t pressure me, so shh, don’t tell them. Especially not Downtown.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What It's Like to Live in a Hospital

Weeks ago I wrote about the sequence of events leading up to, and directly after, my dad's admittance to the hospital with pneumonia. Today I share what it was like to live with him for the bulk of 17 days in the hospital including 15 days in the emergency room and intermediate care unit. You can watch the video on YouTube or by clicking the play button below (if your Web browser allows that).

Leia Mais…

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Fragility of Life and Lung: My Dad's Severe Pneumonia Story

As published on The Huffington Post

The first message arrived midday on a Sunday, picking up the latest in the long paper and electronic trail that chronicles our family's health.

Mom, Jan. 4, 12:49 p.m.: Yesterday morning Dad woke up very sick. He has a terrible cough.
Mom, Jan. 5, 2:52 p.m.: Dad has the flu.
Mom, Jan. 6, 3:40 p.m.: Doc said Dad has to get down fluid. He spit up water twice. If he can't, I have to take him to an urgent care clinic. Don't come home! This is highly contagious.
Dad, Jan. 7, 2:15 p.m.: I will be visiting the doctor again today. I had a very bad night last night and I am very weak. You must stay away from the house.

When I was 4 years old, my dad lived on red meat and his total cholesterol reached 300. His doctor began him on Lipitor -- a cholesterol-reducing medication -- and told him he must change his lifestyle through diet and exercise or else he'd have a heart attack.

When my dad played music with his band on Saturday nights, my mom would take my older brother, JD, and me to Pizza Hut. This was our only chance to eat pizza. My dad quit eating most everything besides poultry and broccoli. My dad hasn't eaten steak in 27 years.

Mom, Jan. 7, 4:40 p.m.: Dad lost 6 lbs from not eating. He keeps wanting to go to the hospital. Yesterday the doc told him he didn't need it.
Me, Jan. 7, 5:00 p.m.: Holy crap. I've never seen him want to be admitted to a hospital before.
Dad, Jan. 7, 6:11 p.m.: The doctor has added a strong antibiotic to calm the cough. I hope that it works. She was confident that it would work. I also had a chest X-ray to determine if I had pneumonia.
Dad, Jan. 8, 9:02 a.m.: The X-ray led to a pneumonia diagnosis.
JD, Jan. 8, 9:12 a.m.: Man this is scary. Anything we can do? Keep reading, here.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Dad is Sylvester Stalloneing Pneumonia

My dad has been at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center since Friday, January 9, 2015, with the flu and pneumonia. Many of his wonderful family, coworkers and friends have been reaching out to us to wish him a complete and speedy recovery. I decided to collect these messages in one place so please post a comment here for my dad if you wish (by clicking the "comment" link below). You are not required to include a Sly reference in your comment, but it can't hurt. If you and my dad share mutual friends then please share this with them.

I will not update this blog like a CaringBridge. There is nothing wrong with CaringBridge but since I pretend that all my blog posts are of high quality, I'll forgo quantity updates. I also do not know if my dad would appreciate public updates. We are thrilled that so many people care about my dad and want updates, but we can't keep up with the number of inquiries. For groups (for example, his coworkers and his Sylvester Stallone fan club members [joke, I think]): please designate one point of contact to obtain updates from me, my brother or my mom.

Thank you.

-the Rubenstein family

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Benjamin, Here’s What Your Year Looked Like!

Apparently my 2014 was too boring for Facebook to create my 2014 Year in Review. Or I didn’t really post anything, leaving Facebook nothing to work with. Regardless, I missed out on something horrific and I hate missing out. So I created my own Year in Review.

You got a little fatter—not enough to collect navel lint, but enough to feel heavy while rock climbing and for the button in your climbing pants to pop. You were too frugal to buy new pants so you continued climbing with unbuttoned ones. You were thankful your harness kept your pants on.

Your friend died of cancer and you don’t need a Year in Review in order to remember her.

At Some Point in Early 2014
You quit using dating websites and apps, all of them, because they wasted your time and the girls ignored you, probably because you popped your pants.

You made a cat video. Check that off your bucket list.

All Day Every Day*
You spoke to audiences who may or may not have been forced to listen, and you signed books.

*which means, like, a bunch of times

Your older brother, JD, recently said he can’t remember a single thing he did in 2011 and barely remembers what he did in 2014. Just kidding, Lolo, of course he remembers getting engaged to you! We all can’t wait to not remember your wedding next year.

You were a candidate for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man & Woman of the Year campaign and your fundraising team raised over $50,000. Hopefully LLS won’t use your donation on hookers and blow unless researchers think that hookers and blow can improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

You spent two amazing weeks in Europe: one week as a solo traveler and the second with your Americans-temporarily-living-in-England adopted family, Mr. and Mrs. Stroopwafel. You stayed awake for essentially 48 consecutive hours, until 4 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time the day after arriving in London, in order to participate in your fantasy football draft. Le’Veon Bell skyrocketed you into the championship which you lost by four points because Russell Wilson scored 38. You can’t even force animosity towards Wilson because he fights childhood cancer.

You ate soooooo many stroopwafels in Amsterdam that you finally caved and bought new rock climbing pants. You later returned to online dating for one whole day—specifically the app JSwipe, which has the motto “Finding someone to take home for Matzo Ball soup is finally as fun as it should be!”. As it turns out, girls ignore you for reasons beyond your pants popping.

You predicted, as always, that your beloved Washington Redskins would win the Super Bowl.

You made a new Super Bowl prediction.

Over three years after you began the project, your second book Secrets of the Cancer-Slaying Super Man published. You hope and believe that Secrets is a great general leisure read; and can be a wonderful resource for families of sick children, schoolchildren learning about overcoming struggles, and oncology nurses and social workers. You will devote yourself in 2015 to reaching this goal.

End of 2014
Your new roommate, CantSleepWontSleep, has prepared a meal in the apartment just twice in two months and has eaten out the rest. This led you to reconsider your frugality, and how wealth is often simply text on a Web page that waxes and wanes for many reasons beyond the amounts you spend and save. So you bought a Starbucks latte.

Happy New Year!
Facebook did not create your 2014 Year in Review but Google+ did. Since Google+ could not differentiate who is in the photos stored on your computer, your Year in Review ends with a lovely girl from Chicago rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago. You met her once. You did not take the photo. At least you were there (on a different climbing wall away from the photo). See you next year!

Leia Mais…