Showing posts from May, 2009

Kimchi recipe

I love Kimchi. For those as yet unfamiliar with this korean staple, it is spicy fermented vegetables. I have been told that in Korea, kimchi comes in many many types. I learned to love it as fermented cabbage. I should note that I have an addiction to pickles. From a young age, I could eat a full jar of pickles at one sitting. I'm not too particular, any pickle will do, but I really enjoy sour garlic dills and pickled green tomatoes.
A few years ago, I came across a recipe for Kimchi in Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything. It was very good, but I still wanted more. Mark's original recipe is for quick pickled Kimchi. This means that it does not ferment, so it has much of the flavor, but not the pickle-ness.
I co-worker recently gave me a recipe from a book on fermentation. Since then, I've make it twice and I love it!
Be prepared to either love it hate it. There is no in-between. Kimchi has a very potent smell and taste. You have to love garlic, gin…

Shavuot Meals

For my new readers, this blog was originally started as a place to put menus for weekend meals. Hence the name weekend-hospitality. It been taken over by Asaf's transplant, but slowly, I expect it to return to normalcy (along with my life (B"H)).
This long holiday weekend, we will have a nice mix of experiences. Tonight we eat alone! Tomorrow lunch, we have Shalom and Fruma. This meal is a tradition. I usually stay up all night, go to the first minyan at 5am and then crash until lunch. Tonight, I'm planning on sleeping in and getting up for the minyan. Lunch should be nice and perhaps I will not be so groggy!
Dinner tomorrow night (Friday night) will be at my cousins. A nice break for us. Asaf should be fine since they have older children and most are no longer living at home.
Finally, Shabbat Lunch will be with Caryn and her family. Should be simple and easy.
Cooking with milk is interesting. I made a really nice mashed potatoes with onions and mushrooms. It u…

Transplant Update Day 18

Everything is on track. This week has been a bit of a roller coaster. Sunday night, we went to a wedding and I was feeling pretty good. Sort of like the worst was over and we could start to relax. For the first time in months, I had a good positive attitude and outlook. It was nice to meet people and say hello without feeling like there was a cloud waiting to rain on my parade.
Monday Asaf took another bagrut, this time in Mathematics. The proctor came to the house and the test went pretty smoothly. All was well.
Tuesday Asaf had a checkup at the hospital. They gave us a major scare. His creatinine had gone up (no number were disclosed) and we would have to go back the next day for more tests and an ultrasound. Not knowing any better, I assumed the worst. Asaf had a bad day, because he needed an infusion and the doctor had trouble putting a port in his hand. It bled all over and Asaf became understandably overwrought.
Wednesday, Asaf went back and the prognosis was not so ba…

We're back (sort of)

Casa Jaffe has been closed since the weekend before Asaf's transplant. That has not stopped people from calling to see if we can have them over for Shabbat.
For about a year now, we have handed out business cards to our guests, complete with our address, phone numbers and this blogs URL. These cards have been a wonderful marketing device and we rarely have an empty weekend.
All of this came to a stop with the transplant. We have been turning away seminary students at a frantic pace. It seems that as the end of the seminary/yeshiva year approaches, students are looking to go to places that have good reputations. We seem to be on that list (thank god) and so our phone keeps ringing.
For most of the caller, once we explain that we can't have guests because of the transplant, they stumble, go silent and then say "Refuah Shelema" (May you have a complete recovery). Then they hang up.
This past week, after I mentioned the transplant, the caller said something different. …

Asaf is home!

Just 7 days after his transplant surgery, Asaf was released from the hospital and is now at home. Our first task upon entering the house was to organize his medications. The nurse told us that Asaf is very lucky to have so few medications. So far, its 7 different types of meds, comprising 16 pills taken two times a day. Not bad.
Asaf is in good shape. Creatinine is 1.1 and steady!
We are pleased and relieved to have him back. Now we need to travel to the hospital every few days for checkups and blood tests. After a month, the visits will taper off.
Come and visit if you like. Asaf can have visitors, but we will probably try not to have more than 2 at a time.
Thanks God and the donor, Elliot and Leiah

Transplant Day #7

Asaf continues to improve. Yesterday, they removed the last of this ports and drains. He's a free man. Mentally, he has been is very good spirits for the past few days. Seeing improvements in his physical state, probably accounts for most of the positive outlook.
Yesterday, they moved him from his private room to a shared room. We take this as a sign that he is close to being released and that the major physical challenges are past. There is a chance that they will release him today!
Asaf walked around the hospital yesterday and have a double burger with fried for dinner. He has been missing beef and potatoes for some time since they are contradicted for patients with kidney failure. Attached are three pictures from the hospital. The first is when he ate chocolate on day 4. The second is after he had all his ports removed. The third is when he ate his hamburger! The smiles say it all.
We look forward to having Asaf back home, Elliot and Leiah

Caring for the caregivers

It is hard to recognize how draining it is to be the main caregiver for a critically sick person. My wife and I have been taking turns at the hospital 24/7 for the past week. As my mother says, "you do what you need to do", but it still takes energy (and sleep).
I'm not looking for sympathy. There are patients in much worse shape and caregivers who go on like this for months or even years. I do now have a better understanding of their dedication and commitments. Toward that end, I can offer a few points of advice.
1) Go and visit the caregivers. The patients are the focus of attention, we want them to recover. All the resources of the caregivers and the hospital are dedicated to making that person better. The caregivers need your support. They are grudgingly tolerated by the hospital. Talk to the caregivers, spending just 30 minutes having coffee and chatting about the community or the latest sports game provides much needed relief.
2) Help the patients family out …

transplant +4 days

It is just before shabbat and I only just got back home from the hospital.

Asaf's recovery continues to be spectacular. His creatinine is now down to 1.38. The removed is drainage tube today and will probably remove the other connections tomorrow or Sunday. Asaf was in very good spirits today.

For the past 9 months, Asaf has been on a diet that cut out chocolate and coca-cola. Today, he was told that he can have anything he wants, but that he should hold off on carbonated drinks for a little while. My wife (who is of course wonderful) left a package of reeses peanut butter cups. Wow did Asaf's eyes light up when he found out that he could eat them. The pleasure in his face as he tasted chocolate again brought tears to my eyes!

With thanks to Hashem and the donor,
Elliot and Leiah

TX +3 days

Asaf continues to improve. Creatinine is 1.58!!!
he started steroids today. We will just have to wait and see what kind of side effects he will have to endure.
Asaf walked up and down the ward today.
Would you believe that its possible to take a matriculation exam (Bagrut) three days after major surgery? Asaf took the second computer bagrut today! He knew the material, sat is a chair and finished the test. A proctor from the education ministry sat in his room while he took the test to make sure that there was no cheating.
Will miracles never cease Elliot

TX +2 days

The transplant was on Monday afternoon. As I write this, its Wednesday afternoon. Call it 48 hours since my son received his new kidney. My wife and I are taking shifts at the hospital. She had the first night, I had the second. Tonight is her turn again. I just got back from the hospital and that's why there have been no posts. There is no Internet in the transplant ward.
Medically, my Asaf is doing VERY well (as is the donor). When we went in, Asaf's creatinine level was about 6.4 mg/dL (GFR: 12). It means that his kidney was pretty much not doing anything. Today, we got the latest results. His new creatinine is 2.03 mg/dL (GFR: 46). That's better than my own and almost in the normal range (0.9 - 1.2 mg/dL). Each day its getting better and better.
What this means is that his new kidney is working! He is able to eat a normal meal and is no longer on a restricted diet for kidney disease. This is great news!
Our next hurdle is to make sure that his body does not reject the ne…

Transplant Day #1

Asaf received a kidney today, May 11th, 2009 from one of our neighbors. We thought this day would never come. The system currently in place is well meaning, but certainly makes it hard and stressful to find a donor and complete the transplant process. It has been about six months since the donor began the process. She was subjected to numerous tests, both physical and psychological which of course, she passed with flying colors. I doubt that I will ever understand her dedication to her altruistic donation, but I will always appreciate it and treat it with the respect and awe that it deserves.
Our day began at 5:30am. The donor was hooked up to a drip line last night to make sure that she was hydrated. Asaf was shaved around 5:45 and then had to take yet another shower with antibacterial soap. Around 7am, the donor was wheeled down to pre-op. At 7:15, she was taken from pre-op to surgery.
We had a crowd with us at the hospital. The donor's husband, myself and my wife, my si…

Pre-op Shabbat

It is with gratitude to God and the person who is donating a kidney that we enter this shabbat. On Sunday, we enter the hospital and the transplant operations for my son Asaf will occur on Monday. The tension is palpable, but we are in good spirits. Asaf has been helping around the house today, getting ready for Shabbat. It is eerie how healthy he looks. If you didn't have his blood tests, you would think him just another skinny 18 year old high school senior.
We have closed Casa Jaffe for sleep over guests. For some reason, we got about 10 calls this week from different groups of people looking for a place to stay for Shabbat. We had to turn them away. Sometimes, we need to take care of ourselves first.
Of course, nothing is ever that simple. My Chavruta (learning partner) had surgery this week. I spend an afternoon with him at the hospital (different from the transplant hospital). His family will be eating dinner with us tonight. In addition, our very good friends …

TX: 11 days and counting

Our lives revolve around the upcoming transplant, but they don't stop. We try to maintain a normal live style. At least what passes for normal at our house. This weekend, we have 4 guests staying with us, my son is on leave from the army and we have a family eating over for lunch. Nothing unusual at the Jaffe household.
As far as menus, I went for spicy at dinner and slightly blander at lunch. I'm tired of making chicken soup with vegetables, so tonight, we are having roast cauliflower curry soup. Add in Cajun Chicken and vegetables and the meal is going to be hot!
Lunch is simpler. Corned beef for the army brat and shnitzel for the picky eaters. Cold cuts rounds out the meal.
Parshat Acharei-K'doshim Dinner - 11 Roast Cauliflower Curry Soup Cajun Chicken Chicken Balls Braised Chicken and Garlic Cajun Vegetables Cucumber Salad Rice
Lunch - 19 Corned Beef Shnitzel Cold Cuts Spicy Cabbage Salad Israeli Salad Cucumber Salad Sangria