Shredded Salad & Ramblings on being Essential Hospital Personnel


Last weekend I had my first moonlighting shift as an attending in my hospital’s emergency room and inpatient unit. It was also the weekend of the blizzard that pummeled DC and Baltimore with over two feet of snow and paralyzed the whole area. Being an attending is terrifying. Being the only pediatrician in the hospital in the middle of a blizzard was even more terrifying. But I survived, and more importantly my patients survived.

I had different emotions while working the blizzard this weekend, which led to some feelings of guilt. I was scheduled to only work Friday night. On Saturday it became more and more clear that not only was someone not going to be able to come in that night, I was not going to be able to leave. So I stayed for an additional shift. On the one hand I was moonlighting, so I appreciated getting the extra money. On the other hand I really wanted to go home to my own bed, or to my friend’s house down the road, sit on the couch and sip martinis. I was happy I was able to help scared parents that night with their children in respiratory distress. I was also sad I couldn’t be home to play with my dog and husband in the snow. I felt guilty about being frustrated about being stuck there knowing that it was infinitely worse for the parents bringing their sick children to the hospital.

Being essential hospital personnel is tricky. Your patients are counting on you to be there to take care of them, your colleagues are expecting you to come help out and relieve them from their shifts. The hospital sends out emails that you are expected to be at work, and please get there as safely as you can. They also remind us that they do not offer transportation. So my co-workers powered through as best they could, many driving through the blizzard despite the Phase 3 warning, camping out in the hospital days at a time knowing that if they leave they might not be able to come back and report to work, coming in early so that others could get out before the storm. I read a story about a nurse walking 2 miles in the blizzard to get to work. So we all stayed, and we worked, and we bonded. We didn’t see that many patients because not many people came into our small unit, but those we did see appreciated that we were there. And even though many of us were frustrated at the moment (we are only human after all) we appreciated being there as well. Soon after I learned that a friend from residency had spent the week in the hospital with her newborn who needed emergency surgery. I thought about her and I thought about all the terrified parents whose children needed respiratory treatments or extra oxygen that we provided. It’s humbling.

When I finally got home about 56 hours after I had first gotten to the hospital all I wanted was some fresh food. Something about having to eat hospital cafeteria food for two days straight made me crave cold lettuce despite it being -10 degrees outside. So I made this salad. It is an adaption of a salad from one of my new favorite cookbooks, from one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. She makes it with miso dressing but I didn’t have miso so I remembered a recipe for the best carrot ginger dressing ever. We also were starving so I threw on some shrimp I had on top. Those of you that love carrot ginger dressing at Japanese restaurants and even put it on their sushi (please tell me that’s not just me), this recipe is awesome. Getting to try out our new Vitamix mixer made it even more awesome.




Sugar Snap Shredded Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

1 Napa Cabbage 
1 carrot 
medium to large radishes
1 cup of edamame 
1/2 lb (8oz) of snowpeas 
3 large scallions
3 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds (can buy toasted or toast in 300 deg oven for 5 min)
1/2 lb (8oz) of snowpeas
1 lb shrimp
This dressing 

Slice the napa cabbage into thin ribbons. Use a mandolin to slice the carrots and the radishes into matchsticks. Thinly slice both the green and white parts of the scallions

Blanch sugar snaps by boiling for two minutes in salted water, and cool in an ice bath. Then dry, trim ends, and slice in thin slices.

Toss together with the sliced napa cabbage, carrots, radishes, and edamame.

Sautee shrimp in one teaspoon of coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss salad with your choice of dressing amount and sesame seeds. Serve with a few shrimp on top.

Serves 3 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish.

Prep + Cooking Time: around 45 min to an hour



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