My sister-in-law Anna and I were discussing how frustrating it is to get a referral that turns out to be wayyyy too early. I’m braced for referrals that turn out to lead to no further action, and that those just HAVE to occur sometimes: the referral is like saying “Is this a problem?” and then sometimes the answer is “No, it’s fine.” It might feel like a waste of time or money (since you could see it as the doctor being wrong to worry), but it isn’t: the question needed to be asked and answered, and if the doctor is worried, I WANT her to refer me to someone who will know. But what I mean is when the referral turns out to be a sort of MISTAKE of the sort that wouldn’t be difficult to avoid.
For example, our dentist recently referred Edward to an orthodontist. Edward is only 9, so I thought I’d wait a bit: two earlier kids have needed orthodontics so far, but neither were able to start before age 11, and Edward’s situation didn’t seem severe. But the dentist was very insistent: Edward needed to go Right Now. So I took him, and the orthodontist kept saying things such as “only 9,” and “Let’s let him have some more childhood first,” and “only 9,” and “Edward, I can tell your mom is REALLY organized,” and “only 9.” (Luckily she also said things such as, “Now…WHY did you bring him in? Did you have…any particular concern?” so I could say “THE DENTIST MADE US.”) Since our orthodontist gives one free evaluation per patient, this means that when we have to go back in a year and a half, we’ll pay over $300 for that evaluation, which we wouldn’t have had to pay for if we hadn’t had this unnecessary evaluation now.
Anna mentioned a similar thing, where a doctor said her daughter needed to see a surgeon, so they took her to one, and the surgeon said, “Er, yes, maybe she’ll need surgery or maybe not, but we can’t know for three or four years.”
Perhaps doctors have no idea, which is WHY they refer to a specialist. But if that’s the case, perhaps there could be some way for them to FIND OUT a little more, perhaps a handy little chart of GENERAL GUIDELINES, such as “Do not refer to a surgeon three years before a particular surgery can even be considered.” It is such a huge hassle and expense to see a specialist, and too many unnecessary referrals gradually make me suspicious of motives.
SOMEONE recently recommended Easy One-Pot Lasagna. I’d thought it was Laura Diniwilk, but I can’t find it on her blog so it must have been someone else. If you wrote a post about a few recipes you’d recently tried, and one of them was this recipe, I’ll bet it was YOU. [Ah ha: Temerity Jane reminds me it was Linnea!]
Anyway, it looked good to me so I made it, and it was what I would call a hit for our family: Paul and I and three of the children all liked it a lot, and the children who liked it less still ate it. Downside: the melted cheese makes clean-up a pain. It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s “one pot,” if I have to use my fingertips to gradually wear down a fine layer of resistant cheese. But it might not be a problem in a non-stick skillet: because I was doubling the recipe, I needed to use a larger cooking pot.
And here I go with the “I made this recipe exactly, except I changed a bunch of stuff!” part. I used ground turkey instead of Italian sausage, because (1) whoever wrote the blog post I read about the recipe said she wasn’t crazy about the Italian sausage and wouldn’t use it the next time, and (2) the idea of peeling raw Italian sausages didn’t appeal (though I could have bought a packet of ground Italian sausage). Because I was using an unseasoned meat instead of a seasoned meat, I measured a little heavy on all the seasonings; I would use even more next time. I might also use more meat: I used a 1.3-pound package of ground turkey for a doubled recipe, so about 10 ounces of meat per batch, and that seemed a little skimpy. I didn’t use freshly-grated Parmesan; I used the kind in a plastic container. I didn’t buy fresh parsley and chop it; I skipped the garnish. I didn’t use freshly-ground black pepper or Kosher salt; I used the salt and pepper shakers on the counter. I like my one-pot meals with one-pot-type seasonings, and with fewer dirty graters and cutting boards.