Surviving the Holidays with AS
Or Dawn's alternate title: How To Make the Nakatomi Plaza Souffle
Souffles, meringues, and mayonnaise are intuitively recognized as special kitchen achievements capable of ending in puddles of disappointment, but my money's on the souffle for breaking the most hearts. All of that lofty goodness depends upon keeping enough bubbles together to hold a powder or paste aloft, as it continues to rise higher and higher above itself. Calamity awaits a souffle at every step. An errant droplet of yolk lurking in whites prevents froth and stiff peaks forming. Open the oven a minute to soon and you've made a Grand Canyon diorama.
For some, souffles represent the pinnacle of baking, while others see as a proficient execution of moderately difficult technical skills. This elusive golden fluff demands an investment of time, tools and ingredients, a solid recipe, and a certain amount of courage, upfront, all for something that last for a few moments under the best of circumstances.
The bad guys
I'm late to the Die Hard holiday movie party, but it makes sense, especially for those of us living with AS.
In the movie, bad guys barge in on the good guys during their work Christmas party in Nakatomi Plaza, leaving a hail of bullets, broken glass, and mayhem in their wake. I don't recall any souffles in the movie, but we can agree that none could've survived. Holidays comprise a set of personal souffles, easily knocked flat by pain, fatigue, issues with mood, clashing expectations, and grief reactions.
With a bit of luck, my recipe for Nakatomi Plaza Souffle can help you feel more golden than flat this holiday season.
Preheat your oven, grease your dish, and coat it with the dry ingredients. This makes a ladder for the souffle to climb up as it bakes.
- Remind yourself that the holidays will come around again, so there's no need to do everything this time around.
- Make a list of seasonal activities that bring you happiness. Give at least one of them a try.
- Take note of activities that suit your body or situation. Try to limit exposure.
- Select some people to exchange holiday greetings with. Methods include letters, cards, emails, texts, or pictures.
- Pick something to do for yourself. This could be anything, but naps, naps, and more naps are on the top of my list!
Whip it up!
Whisking breaks the surface tension on the whites, taking them from gloppy to foam and ready to incorporate the remaining ingredients.
- Identify three holiday things you've never done before. Give at least one a try.
- Turn toward activities that nourish your soul. Some examples might include: community concerts, art shows, charitable giving, or touring your neighborhood to take in the decorations.
Gently place your souffle into the preheated oven, set your timer, and wait.
- Prepare a warm and inviting space in your home.
- Bring some seasonal beauty inside.
- Use your boundaries to limit exposure to anything that drains you.
- Bake cookies even if you're the only one eating them. Store bought dough is a perfect way to get started.
- Display cut paper snowflakes out of junk mail, scrap paper, or the most beautiful thing you can find.
- Remember that you're important to everybody here.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?