Tuesday, December 4, 2012

this year, i am thankful for...

...Blood clots and biscuits and gravy.  Sounds weird, right?  Let me explain.

I've been M.I.A. in the blogging world (and house cleaning world, and laundry world, and exercising world) because of my dear dad.  It all started with calf pain at the beginning of November that later turned into a cold, pale foot.  He went to the ER to get it checked out - it was an arterial blood clot that landed in his leg.  He had surgery to remove the blood clot that night and therefore save his leg.  This prompted a full work-up that was long overdue - as in, he hadn't seen a doctor since he was drafted for the Vietnam War in 1969 (!!!).

He spent 4 days at the hospital in Lawrence where I work, and I joked with everyone that it was "take your dad to work day".  While at LMH he went through numerous tests to find out where this blood clot came from.  They found that he had multiple silent heart attacks that damaged a large part of his heart and later causing the clot.  I hoped that his heart could be fixed with a heart catheterization and stents, but the doctor said he needed bypass.

On election night, he was transferred to KU Hospital and Friday he finally had his surgery.  Quadruple bypass.  My dad is a "healthy" guy who exercises vigorously everyday, eats better than I do but unfortunately had genetics against him.  But I'm thankful for that blood clot and where it landed.  It left his heart, made its way around the bend of the aorta without going up to his brain where he could have suffered a massive stroke or death, and went down to his leg.  He's got the luck of the Irish with him.  (And lots of prayers and positive thoughts.. thank you, everyone).  

Two weeks after going into the ER, he was discharged from the hospital, just in time for Thanksgiving.  Normally, my dad smokes the turkey out in the Weber, but this year was going to be a little different.  We made homemade pizzas instead and it was a lot less stressful than a 22 pound turkey with all sides.  All that mattered to us was that we were together, who cares what we ate?

One of my dad's specialties is biscuits and gravy from scratch.  I have childhood memories of waking up on weekend mornings to the smell of B&G and the sound of either Car Talk on the radio or Meet The Press on TV.  I loooove his biscuits and gravy and I haven't found anything else to compare.  So, this Thanksgiving I was thankful that my dad was here (and alive) to teach me how to make B&G myself.

We spent most of Thanksgiving break in Kansas City at my grandma's house.  The first step of this ordeal was to grab my favorite coffee mug at her house and pour some java. 

I think for the first time ever, my dad's famous recipe was officially written down on paper. 

The man, the myth, the biscuit making legend, my dad. 

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Enough buttermilk until the dough holds together
  • 1 lb good quality breakfast sausage
  • olive oil if the sausage is lean
  • flour until the sausage turns to paste and there is no liquid fat anymore
  • milk until thickened and boiling, then to your desired consistency
Whisk the dry ingredients together, then take the cold stick of butter and break it up in the dry ingredients until all the butter is in pea-sized chunks.  Then add the buttermilk until the dough holds together.  Roll out flat, about 3/8" to 1/2" thick.  Take a drinking glass that is about 2 1/2" around and cut the biscuits.  Place on baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top.
Cook the breakfast sausage in a 3 qt. sauce pan or a large skillet, breaking it up into small chunks.  Depending on how much fat the sausage renders, you may have to add olive oil to it (a few tablespoons).  Sprinkle flour little by little to the sausage until it makes a paste and the liquid fat is gone.  Then start adding milk until it thickens and boils.  Then continue to add more milk until it is to your desired consistency.  
Then, as my dad would say, grab a plate and growl!

Not only did we have a big family get together, we also had a dog fest.  Five dogs that is.

Chalmers, Bruno, Cozy, Winnie, Rudy

Many people posted what they were thankful for on Facebook throughout November and everyday, I thought to myself "my dad".  I'm also thankful for all of our family and friends, doctors, nurses, aides, everyone.  I'm thankful that he is alive to teach me how to make biscuits and gravy.  And I'm thankful that we've spent so much time together over the last month.  He's doing really well now and has started cardiac rehab.  He never lost his wit and humor, even while he was in the hospital.  In fact, when he was wheeled off to go to surgery, he exclaimed, "so long, suckers!".  And while we were in the ER not knowing what he would go through over the next two weeks, we had a conversation like this:

Me:  So, does this mean you're going to start going to the doctor now?
Dad:  Yes.......... every 40 years. 


  1. Yikes- I was wondering why you hadn't posted in so long. So glad he's on the mend!! How scary!

  2. glad your dad is doing better, Jamie. I had no idea.

    my dad has not gone to the doctor since he was drafted for vietnam either!! i get onto him all the time but he refuses.

    good to see you at the reunion!!!

    1. You should tell your dad about my dads story.. You never know!

  3. Scary stuff! Your dad sounds like a real trooper :)

  4. Um. Holy crap. So glad this tale has a happy ending.

    Cindy in Olathe

  5. Hey girl! I nominated you for the Liebster Award! See more details at my blog post! http://designerinteal.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-liebster-award.html

    1. Wow! Thank you.. I will have to check it out.


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