It’s been far too long since I’ve shared a new recipe with all of you. There is a legitimate reason for that though. I had an unexpected scare a few weeks ago that landed me in the hospital for 10 days. I had been getting really bad headaches several weeks ago in the front part of my head as well as horrid pain behind my eyes. I’m not one that usually gets headaches so I went to my doctor to see if I possibly had a sinus infection. They put me on antibiotics, but after 3 days of no relief and the pain actually intensifying I finally decided this was not a sinus infection. I woke my husband up early Sunday morning because the pain was more than I could handle.
He immediately drove me to the ER. This was the first time I had ever had to go to a hospital. On the drive there I couldn’t even keep my eyes open or focus on anything because I was in so much pain. After checking in they immediately hooked me up to an IV and gave me pain medication, then wheeled me off to get an MRI. I had never had one, and for me being claustrophobic, it was terrifying. The results from my MRI were something I never in my life expected to hear. I had blood clots in my head that were causing swelling in my brain. I couldn’t really even comprehend what the doctor was saying. He then said I would have to stay there at least a couple days. Shock number two of the morning. Everything was so overwhelming that I completely fell apart. Luckily, I had my husband there with me and he was so supportive. After an hour or so they got me a room in the hospital.
They kept me hooked up to an IV for about 5 days, continuously giving me pain medication and fluids. Those first few days in the hospital were the worst for me pain wise, but luckily I was blessed to have the most wonderful nurses in the world. They were so helpful, compassionate, and took the time to talk to me and comfort me when I felt horrible or was scared.
There wasn’t much sleeping happening for me during those 10 days in the hospital. Nurses were constantly coming in to read my vitals and give me medication, my blood was drawn every morning, and neurologists and internal medicine doctors came to check on how I was progressing.
You would think all of this interrupted sleep would make me more upset, but it was actually reassuring knowing that so many people were there caring for me and that with a click of a button they would be there if I needed help. My mom flew in from Arizona to help relieve my husband during the day so that he could work. She was such a big help to us and it was very comforting to me to have her there. I think we all feel more comforted when our parents are near us in difficult times. My Aunt and Uncle and cousins all came to visit almost every day which I always looked forward to. Having visitors always brightened my day, it made me feel less lonely and a little more normal.
Nights in the hospital were always the worst for me. I insisted that my husband and mom not stay over night because I knew they wouldn’t get any sleep. My pain was the worst at night, probably because I would go for longer periods of time without medication. When I would wake up in the middle of the night I felt like I was waking up with the worst hangover of my life. I would try to sit up or stand up and end up falling back down into bed. I often had to call a nurse in for more medicine and put ice packs on the front and back of my head.
Once I was stable enough to walk on my own, one of my night nurses would go for walks around the hospital with me at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Those walks are something I will never forget. They made me feel less lonely. I was able to get out of my room and off the floor I had been on for what seemed like a month. She would take me to different departments in the hospital where we would look for the best magazines and flavors of tea.
I was finally released from the hospital on October 23, which also happened to be my 3rd wedding anniversary. I had lots of mixed feelings that day and was emotionally a big mess. On one hand I was ecstatic to be going home and be in a more comfortable setting, but on the other hand I was terrified. The nurses wouldn’t be there with the click of a button to help me, I had lots of upcoming doctors appointments, blood tests, and would be depending on others to drive me around for a while until I was off pain medication. I am a pretty independent person and having to ask people for so much help had been really hard for me. The scariest part was remembering all the pain I had been in in the house before coming to the hospital. I was so afraid that it would happen all over again. Luckily though I have a strong and caring husband and the most helpful mom in the world who would be helping me get through this scary transition.
I’ve been home almost two weeks now. It’s been tough, I have good days and bad days. I’m a very energetic person and sitting around doing nothing or napping are not things I’m used to doing. I get to a point in the day though where my mind and body just have to stop. It’s so frustrating to me, but I know the rest will help me recover faster in the long run. I haven’t been able to run much and it makes me sad and angry. I had been running 60-70 miles a week before all of this happened and now I mostly walk on my treadmill and run half mile repeats broken up in those walks. I get lightheaded and tired very easily when I try running now. The lightheaded is from the blood clots I’m sure, and the tiredness is largely due to the fact that I was laying on my back for almost two weeks. I am afraid I will never get back to where I was with my running. To take my mind off of that thought I’ve been looking in to trying other physical activities such as Pilates or rowing. I am also terrified of falling, hitting my head, and cutting myself. Now that I am on blood thinners it is something I have to be very careful with. Despite all of these fears, sadness, and anger that I am feeling, I am also more grateful than I could ever imagine. I think back to the night where I was debating if I needed to go to the hospital. What if I hadn’t? Would I be hear today? They are questions that scare me and bring tears to my eyes to think about. I thank God every day for helping me make that decision to go to the hospital and for looking after me and helping me heal.
Now, enough of all that drama, and back to the lighter and fun version of this blog where I get to share delicious recipes with you! The last thing I cooked before all of this happened was a delicious Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Sauce.
With it being fall and winter squash coming in to season I couldn’t wait to try this out. What is wonderful about this sauce is all the different ways you can use it. I served it on top of spaghetti with grilled chicken for my husband and put mine on top of spaghetti squash with chicken. Both ways were amazing!
This would also be great spread over a toasted baguette, or on top of chicken or pork chops. I love the creamy texture of the sauce and the slight tanginess that the goat cheese gives it. The addition of sage to flavor the sauce was the perfect combination. I think sage and squash go beautifully together.
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 T. half and half
- 1 oz. goat cheese
- 1/3-1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4-1/2 t. dried sage
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- Peel the butternut squash with a good vegetable peeler.
- Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Cut the squash in to 1 inch cubes and add them to a pot of boiling water.
- Cook the squash over medium high heat until it is very tender.
- Drain the squash and then add it back into the pot.
- Add the goat cheese, half and half, vegetable or chicken stock, salt, pepper, and sage to the squash.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the squash until it is creamy.
- If you find that the sauce is a little too thick add in a little more stock until you get the consistency you desire.
- Serve the sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash, chicken, pork, or toasted baguette slices.
If you don't have an immersion blender you can also puree this sauce in a standard blender or a food processor.