Third-year rotations come with a mix of emotions. It’s exciting to get out of the classroom and onto the floors where all the action is, but at the same time reality can set in with every patient that you see. The patient that you see with the acute lymphoblastic leukemia which you had read about extensively in Pathoma is now in your hematology-oncology clinic getting chemotherapy, surrounded by family members who are giving her support and encouragement to battle this disease. Or your patient on the medicine floor with congestive heart failure is in his last days, and you are witnessing your resident deliver this news to him and his family.
These feelings were especially apparent on our inpatient rotations in both pediatrics and medicine, but we both learned to cope with the overwhelming emotions from each day. A pediatrics faculty member told us that these feelings and emotions stayed with her throughout medical school and residency, and that she needed to take up a hobby or activity to escape.
Whether it’s going to the gym, reading that trashy romantic novel, or just coming home for a long, hot shower, anything to get your mind off that day of work and reset for the next is important. For us, our cooking and experimenting in the kitchen provides that escape from an overwhelming day on the floors.
This week we experimented with a sandwich with an Italian twist. Muffaletta mix is an Italian classic pickled olive salad with Sicilian olives, Greek olives, Greek peppers, marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts, carrots, celery, fresh garlic, olive oil and spices. This tangy topping is sure to spice up any item, especially sandwiches.
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Time: 15 minutes
1 white onion
1 green bell pepper
1-2 tbsp butter
1 pinch of salt
8 slices of bread (try sourdough or Italian bread!)
1 jar of Muffaletta topping (You can buy it in the international food or pickled food aisle, or the local Italian store.)
4-8 slices of Havarti cheese (make it as cheesy as you like)
First, cut the peppers and onions into long slices and sauté with butter until caramelized and then sprinkle in a pinch or two of salt.
Then, heat a flat skillet on medium (or use a panini press if you have one–it makes life so much easier!) and melt a sliver of butter on the skillet. Now assemble.
Put the bread down first, then some cheese, followed by the sautéed onions and pepper. Next add the Muffaletta topping and top it off with some more cheese and bread. Press down until the bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Flip the sandwich to toast the other side, and you’re finished.
As medical students, we often find ourselves attending countless hours of lecture, studying late at night in the library, and eating junk from the hospital cafeteria. We forget that there is a life outside of the bubble that is medical school! Read our column to take a break from the work and exist outside of medical school.