Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I Work for BJC

I've recently taken a new position within BJC, so things have been a bit busy. However, the following story gave me a great reason to post.

My dad was recently seen at two of our facilities, which not only resulted in the identification of an unknown problem for him, but also indicated a genetic risk for our whole family.

Dad was originally sent to Northwest HealthCare by his internist at Christian Hospital for an MRI, because he was experiencing severe back pain. The MRI report identified a herniated disc, and his doc referred Dad to an orthopedic surgeon at Missouri Baptist Medical Center to evaluate the problem. When Dad met with the orthopedic surgeon, his back pain had subsided and the disc appeared to have moved back into place on its own. The surgeon said that, more than the disc, he was concerned about an abdominal aortic aneurysm that had been identified on the MRI.

Dad followed up with his internist, who performed a sonogram to look at the aneurysm. Because its size was nearing the point at which surgical intervention is recommended, he referred Dad to a vascular surgeon at MoBap. The vascular surgeon and his physician assistant explained the condition to dad, mentioning that it can be hereditary, and sent him for a CT scan to determine if surgery is necessary. The results should be in this week.

Dad is now the third generation of his family to develop this condition, and this knowledge will help my brother and I (who both have a genetic risk for cardiovascular problems from Mom's side of the family, as well) better manage our health. It was suggested that we both be screened for the condition at age 45, which is well below the suggested age for screening individuals without a family history.

Dad went on and on about how great his experiences were at both facilities. The staff were friendly, explaining everything to him and making sure he understood. They reassured him, and made the experience much less stressful. He says it's no wonder I work for this organization, everyone is great!

As his daughter, I am grateful to the staff for taking care of my dad and for identifying a problem that could affect our whole family. As a BJC employee, my first thought when dad said how impressed he was with the care he received was, "Well of course, you were at a BJC facility!" This is exactly the type of care patients expect, and it's great to see that we are exceeding their expectations!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I like to cook. And bake - I looooove to bake.
The problem is that, at our house, it's just DH & me, and the dogs - who do their fair share of enjoying the yummyness that comes from the kitchen but, let's face it, they can only eat so much. I have, therefore, built up a list of people and departments at work that I can take goodies to, in order to limit the calorie buildup at our house.

I absolutely LOVE it when a special occasion arises that lets me flex my creative muscles - like birthdays! My mom used to decorate cakes semi-professionally (and was darn good at it, too!), so I use her "secret recipe" for the cake and had, for years, used her recipe for buttercream icing. But then something happened . . .

something terrible . . .

the powers-that-be changed the recipe for shortening to make it trans-fat-free! This may not seem too terrible, but in fact it turns mom's trusted recipe from yummy, stable icing into yummy, slide-y icing. Good for eating, not good for decorating. It's like watching a glacier melt over a milennia - sloooooowwwwwwwllllyyyyyy it slides off the edges. At first, I thought it was just me having a "consistency" issue, since cake decorating isn't something I do regularly and getting the icing just right is an art.

The first cake I did turned out relatively well - you can hardly tell there's any sliding, but the outline of the numbers didn't quite hold shape:

(this was especially cute because my boss loves the Cardinals & shared a last name with one of their players)

Then I read an article in a Pillsbury saying that the shortening was the culprit, but I did not pay heed. The next birthday:

Can you see the slipping around the edges? juuuuust barely, because I kept the cake in the fridge all night and, as I said, it happens slowly - so I didn't notice any slippage until the next morning, when it was too late!

So I went back to the Pillsbury book, which gave an "updated" recipe for icing that used meringue powder. When I bought the meringue powder, though, it had it's own recipe for buttercream icing -- both of these, of course, used different amounts of powdered sugar than mom's trusted recipe, and they both used WAY different amounts of meringue powder. So I used mom's recipe & guessed at the amount of meringue powder to use:

This was a cake for my personal trainer's birthday - the icing consistency was better, but not fixed completely.

Finally, I decided to just use the recipe that came in the meringue powder, from Wilton - because Wilton rules the world of cakes, cupcakes, icing, etc. This time, the result was much more awesome:
I take full responsibility for the slight bowing of the lines on the bottom edge - that's me, not the icing. Now I'm trying to decide what to do next - any ideas?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cinco de Mayo = Tres de Oscar!

Okay, it's been a long time since I took Spanish, and the above isn't a good translation, but today is Oscar's third birthday! When we got him, he:

- was chunky
- wasn't used to long walks
- hated car rides (would sit and tremble)
- had a chronic medical issue that is too gross to mention
This is a picture from the very first walk we took him on - please notice how he is more "barrel-shaped" than "wiener-dog-shaped":

Now he:
- is wiener-dog-shaped
- loves to run and hike in the woods
- loves car rides more than Pepper does (and that's saying something)
- has had surgery to correct the medical issue and is noticeably feeling better

If you look closely in this picture, you can see that his tummy now tucks up the way it is supposed to, instead of being level with his ribcage:

He is, totally and completely, mommy's boy!