Month: October 2015

The Knick recap part deux

Here it is y’all, part deux of everything anyone really needs to know about season one of The Knick, just in time for season two. Thanks again to Ann from McIntoshmd for the medical input, and for going halfsies on the pizza.

Episode Six = Start Calling Me Dad (Monster-in-Law) Did you know that Typhoid Mary was a real person? ‘Cuz she was and her mad peach Melba dessert making skills made her a much in-demand cook for the NYC richie riches. Unfortunately for them, she did not have the same mad skills when it came to her potty habits and the combination of the two took out more than a few of the one percenters she worked for. Lillian, the Gallinger’s baby dies and honestly I should be much more sad about that but my cousin’s Baby Alive from back in the 70’s looked more real than her so I don’t.

Dr. Thackery discovers Algie’s underground railway hospital but before he can even fire his sorry ass Thack also discovers Edwards has perfected hernia surgery and since Thack wants in on that action offers him an alliance instead. When Cornelia finishes her day of running around the upper east side looking for the dessert-making, disease-spreading Typhoid Mary she has a major skin-crawling, cringe-worthy encounter with her soon to be father-in-law. which you would think would make her think twice about marrying into such a family but SPOILERS!!! it does not. Thack with the help of Bertie and a couple of the hookers from the opium den come up with a new placenta previa idea. He puts the call out for a patient and because it is a tv show one is quickly found and for the first time ever, both the mom and baby live. Yay!

Ann’s medical professional opinion: we call that method of transmission the old fecal/oral route, in plain English to eat shit, literally. Poor hygiene habits or lack of proper sanitation still kills people across the globe. 

Episode Seven = Get The Rope (Can’t We all Just Get Along?) Cop/wannabe pimp Officer Sears (Collin Meath) gets himself stabbed by a black man after trying to recruit his non-professional girlfriend to his stable of ho’s. This starts a race war that only gets worse after Sears dies from his wounds. Thack saves another black man from a lynch mob and the Knick pays the price for his for once human-ness when racist cops and thugs (sadly mostly Irish) trash the place and even steal the ambulance horses.

The underground hospital’s jig is totally up now as the ensuing melee leads to it being discovered by none other than Sleazy McSleazerson Barrow. After the riots subside, the hook-ups begin. First the inevitable Lady Cornelia and Algie one we saw coming about five episodes ago and then the Dr. Thack and Nurse Lucy one we saw seven episodes back. No good can come from either.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Leprosy was not/is not that communicable but people were petrified of it, which is why those with the disease were shipped off to leper colonies. 

Episode Eight = Working Late A Lot (I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke or at Least Nurse Lucy) Cocaine is a helluva drug and to think it was not only legal but one of the original ingredients in Coca-Cola (hence the name) is mind-blowing. There is a war going on in the Philippines and now cocaine is no longer coming to America and that is turning coke’s number one fan Dr. Thack into a basket case of epic proportions. Bertie’s dad Dr. Bertie Chickering the original (Reg Rogers) wants his son to cut his ties with the Dr. Thackery and all the poors at the Knick. Bertie junior of course says no because he does not mind the poors, thinks Thack is a genius and happens to be in love with Nurse Lucy. Poor deluded Bertie junior, Nurse Lucy has sold her soul for some sex sprinkled with coke and only has eyes for Thack.

Cornelia and Algie continue to live life very dangerously with their ill-fated Romeo & Juliet affair conveniently forgetting the fact that Corny is about to be married soon to someone else named Philip. It’s so hard to believe I know, but it seems insurance companies were crappy even back in the golden age because they won’t pay the hospital for the riot damage. The board wants the Knick to move uptown (little do they know how silly that idea would be a mere one hundred years later when all the cool people live downtown). Typhoid Mary is scheming to get out of quarantine on a technicality so she can kill some more rich people. Sister Harry has an orphan baby girl named Grace that she wants the Gallinger’s to adopt, thinking a new baby will pull Eleanor out of her deeply depressed state. Methinks Sister Harriet is a better abortionist than she is a social worker because this does not seem like a very good idea at all.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Drug shortages happen all the time. Interestingly it is often the cheaper, more commonly used drugs that go AWOL so you are forced to use expensive substitutes. There can be real reasons like contaminations at the manufacturing plant but it can also be because of opportunistic creeps like the Martin Shrekli’s of the world.  

Episode Nine = Golden Lotus (Lucy does Wu) Thackery is so desperate for a fix that he breaks into a pharmacy like a common meth-head. Of course he gets caught because Thack is a brilliant surgeon not a cat burglar (not even a hamburglar) which means Barrow and Mr. Moneybags Robertson have to bail him out and try to keep the news of his arrest on the DL. Something so much easier to do back in the pre-internet days. Eleanor Gallinger is not getting any better and is neglecting poor baby Grace. Barrow goes to his loan shark to try to score some cocaine but that Bunky is a sly one and gives him a placebo instead.

Because she is Beyoncé levels of crazy in love (emphasis on the crazy part), Nurse Lucy goes to Thack’s favorite opium den to procure some drugs for her one true love. Mr. Wu (Perry Yung) deeply admires Lucy’s dainty feet and has a proposition for hers which will result in Lucy scoring not only some opium for her beloved but also a little nest egg for her future. Our other crazy in love lady Cornelia tells Algie that they made a baby and it would be awfully hard to pass it off as her fiance’s seeing as how they haven’t ever had sex and the baby would probably not be blonde. Algie won’t abort his own child so Corny is now in quite the pickle. Eleanor drowns baby Grace and gets carted off in a strait-jacket by the legendary men in white coats.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Lucy is a grade A enabler and unfortunately for the addicts, there are way too many of them. The drug seekers and their enablers are one of the many contributing factors as to why physicians leave emergency medicine. 

Episode Ten = Crutchfield (They Tried to Make me Go to Rehab) Cornelia gets a ride to her procedure from none other than Mr. Cleary but the surprises don’t end there as she finds a non-habit-wearing Sister Harriet will be the one to kindly help her out of her predicament. The next day when she is at home recovering Algie comes to visit and kinda breaks up with her which is kind of weird considering Corny is engaged to be married to someone else named Philip the next day. Having conquered previa, appendectomies, hernias and a bunch of other problems Thack is now obsessed with figuring out why blood transfusions hardly ever work out right. The fact that his nemesis Dr. Zinberg (Michael Nathanson) is already working on that very same issue makes him even more manic in his quest to win one of those new-fangled Nobel prize thingy’s.

Bunky wants his money from Barrow and since he has none to give Barrow wants Dr. Thackery to use his influence with Mr. Wu to kill the pain in his debt-ridden side. Thack says no way so sleazy goes directly to the source and asks Wu to do the deed. You know the old saying, meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Apparently Barrow never heard that Who song before because he gets a new boss alright one that will make Bunky seem like a bro. Thack’s mania about blood types leads to him testing his theory on a little girl who dies and all is not right with the world. Bertie finally realizes his hero is a flawed junkie ass-hole and enlists the help of Bertie senior to get Thack into rehab. To ease his withdrawal symptoms the clinic injects him with a thoroughly harmless little drug called heroin.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Cocaine is a stimulant, which is how Thack could stay up for days on end. Heroin is a depressant so the high is not the same. Not sure one is any more addictive than the other, it is more of a personality issue. He was using opium to sleep already. 

Will Thack turn in one addiction for another? Will Cornelia move to San Francisco with her new husband? Will Algie ever stop staging his own version of Fight Club every time he gets in a mood? Do either of us like this show enough to pay iTunes money to watch season two? Stay tuned!

Season two starts on Cinemax this Friday October 16th. Season one is available on all forms of HBO, Amazon Instant and iTunes. 

Just in the knick of time, your season one recap

This is what happens when a home-schooled doctor of pop culture and a for reelz doctor of medicine (University of Minnesota, class of 1993) get together and binge watch ten episodes of Cinemax’s only hit show. We (mostly me) thought it would be great fun to critique the series both for entertainment value and it’s attention to medical reality. As an extremely squeamish person I had to watch all the surgical scenes with the remote control shielding my eyes which is where my fully trained emergency medicine physician pal Ann* came in handy. That and she brought Dairy Queen. The Knick is basically a 1900’s version of General Hospital crossed with an awful lot of House and a little bit of Upstairs/Downstairs set in downtown NYC before it became super fabulous and none of the patients in the show could ever afford to live there.

Episode One  = Method and Madness (Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?) Drs J.M. Christianson (Matt Frewer aka Max Headroom) and Thackery (Clive Owen) lose a patient during placenta previa (rhymes with stevia) surgery which causes Dr. Christian to commit suicide and have even more room in his head. Now Dr. Thack gets to be sheriff of everything surgical and has to choose who gets to be his deputy between two not so lovely contestants, the mega stuck-up Dr. Everett Gallinger (Eric Johnson), or the super-sweet Dr. Bertram Chickering jr (Michael Angarana, who if he looks at all familiar means you watched Will & Grace because he played Sean Hayes and Rosie O’Donnell’s son Eliot). I know who I’d pick, but no one gets to pick because old Mr. Moneybags Robertson (Grainger Hines) who funds the hospital wants it to be his hired help’s son, the Harvard educated and European trained Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland). Did I mention that Dr. Edwards was not white? Because he isn’t and Thack is not down with integration so he says no way. Sleazebag hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) hires Edwards anyway, not because he is a nice progressive kind of guy (he is the total opposite of that), but for Robertson’s money so the Knick can install some electricity.

Also Thack is a cocaine addict, thanks to Max Headroom’s bad influence, but he tries to go cold turkey one day which of course ends up with him having major withdrawal issues right when he is needed for an emergency bowel surgery (can there be any other kind?). Seemingly innocent southern belle newbie nurse Lucy Elkins (and if she looks familiar it is because she looks exactly like her dad, Bono) has to inject him in his personal bits so Thack can come back to the Knick and save the previously up the creek without a paddle patient. Dr. Edwards decides to stay even though no one likes him because of the being black thing and Nurse Elkins also decides to stay probably because of that whole penis thing.

Ann’s medical professional take: My experience is not in OB/GYN so while I have diagnosed women with placenta previa that is about the extent of it. The depiction seems legit to me. Sadly physician suicide is a very real issue. An entire medical school class is lost to suicide each year in the U.S. 

Episode Two = Mr. Paris Shoes (Hospital Flowers for Algernon) We meet Cornelia Robertson (Juliet Rylance), Mr. Moneybags daughter, chair lady of the hospital board and all around do-gooder. Algernon is now not only working in a shit hole but also living in one where he has a run in with a fellow shit hole dweller who is jealous of his fancy shoes from Paris. When Algie goes to work he finds out his new office is not one with a view, unless you count the furnace, and decides to open up his own hospital for African-Americans who are not allowed in the Knick, except to work there. Sleazebag Barrow has the electricity installed in the Knick and of course it is shoddy (mainly because he skimmed some of the money for his own nefarious purposes) which leads to a surgical patient catching on fire (thought that only happened to drummers?) and a nurse being electrocuted because they obviously did not teach basic safety rules in nursing school like how water and electricity are not a good combo, ever. Bye-bye nursey, we barely got to know you.

Barrow owes lots of dough to his loan shark Bucky Collier (Danny Hoch) but can’t pay him so Bucky kindly has one of his goons remove one of sleazy’s teeth for collateral. Ouch. There is a cadaver shortage in NYC, Thack loses another patient, this time to an aortic aneurysm, and when downstairs hospital basement baby Algie says he knows a procedure to make sure that doesn’t happen again Thack tells him to get lost and sends his two flunkies, Gallinger and Chickering, to steal a medical journal with Algie’s procedure in it. Only the journal is in French. Guess who knows French? If you said Mr Paris Shoes Algie Edwards then you would be 100 % right.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Aortic aneurysms have a pretty good survival rate these days as long as they are diagnosed in time. AAA’s are very bad news but are somewhat preventable. Risk factors would be hypertension and smoking. While the surgical scenes are grossing Amy out the scenes to me seem way less messy than they would be in real life. 

Episode Three = The Busy Flea (When Love Comes To Town) A former flame of Dr. Thack’s Abigail Alford (Jennifer Ferrin) asks him to fix her fallen off syphilis nose (just like in Candide) thanks to her cheating scumbag of an ex-husband. Dr. Thack does not want to do it but of course does in the end because deep down inside he is not just a crabby junkie but a kind of okay guy, kind of. The surgery is super gross and requires the patient to have their arm be attached to their face for like a month and I am starting to think the blue metal nose seems like a much better option for poor Abigail. Barrow has a teen-age prostitute friend (which is one of the reasons he is so in debt to Bunky) but the less said about her and the busy flea that gave this episode its title the better.

Algie hosts a job fair for his underground hospital, hiring a seamstress as a surgical nurse which makes perfect sense if you think about it. He successfully repairs a huge hernia on a patient with strict instructions that the man can not go back to work for six weeks. (Algie’s hospital was ahead of its time kicking patients out the door as soon as the anesthetic wears off. ) Of course the patient goes back to work because he is poor and they did not have disability insurance in the bad old days. The man dies and Algie gets a major case of the sads. This leads him to pick another fight with a random stranger and we learn the hard way that Algie does not have very good coping skills. The stolen medical journal is now in the hands of Dr. Gallinger’s teeny tiny wife Eleanor (Maya Kazan) only her French proficiency solely involves being able to order crepes off a menu which is no help at all. Mon Dieu!

Ann’s medical professional take: In way too many years of medicine than I care to count I have never come across someone losing their nose to syphilis. I have seen the disease plenty of times but it generally gets diagnosed before appendages fall off. STD’s are 100% preventable, practice safe sex people.

Episode Four = Where’s the Dignity? (Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves) Edwards tries to talk Gallinger through a cardiac surgery but instead has to take over to save the patient because the blonde pretty boy is not a very good surgeon. This does not endear Algie to Gallinger so alas these two will not be going out for beers any time soon. In his off time Algie meets with a Hoover salesman, buys an upright for his underground hospital, tweaks it and invents modern suction. Thack has been ignoring his former flame, because he is probably still pissed about her choosing her STD-riddled ex over a cokehead. Nurse Lucy puts him to rights and guilt trips him into a little meet-and-greet. (FYI: her arm and nose are still firmly attached and I can’t even imagine how much that is gonna hurt when she finally gets to put that arm down.)

Dr. Thackery tries to save a woman who gave herself an abortion and just like the 5,000 women a year prior to Roe v. Wade, she dies. After seeing this, former judegy blackmailing ambulance driver Tom Clancy (Chris Sullivan) joins forces with Sister Harriet (Cara Seymour) who as a trained mid-wife at least knows how to safely perform the procedure.

Ann’s medical professional take: Open cardiac massage been there, done that. Usually when the patient is a member of the gun and knife club and has penetrating trauma. This technique was pioneered by Moritz Schiff  in 1874 so it being used in 1900 by a surgeon at the Knick makes sense.

Episode Five = They Capture the Heat (What Happens In Nicaragua Stays In Nicaragua) Barrow thinks that if Thack saves one of his loan shark’s wounded henchmen Bunky will clear his debt. Of course Bunky doesn’t and we would feel bad for him if he was even one ounce human but he isn’t so c’est la vie. Hospital basement baby Algie is perfecting his hernia surgical skills. The Gallinger’s daughter gets sick and the stunt baby they are using makes the one in American Sniper look convincing. After Barrow gets insulted at a posh restaurant by Gloria Vanderbilt’s daddy (Anderson Cooper’s granddaddy for the youngsters) he decides to buy the Knick a new fangled x-ray machine, used of course, because he is a cheap bastard.

Thack must not be getting enough love from the ladies at the opium lounge he regularly crashes at because he starts creeping on Nurse Lucy. Bertie is in love with her but Lucy has the fever for the cokehead old enough to be her dad. Gross. Perhaps Owen is going all method in this role because he is not looking at all like his hot Croupier/Children of Men days. We also learn in this episode that Mr. Moneybags Robertson and Dr. Thackery go way, way back to Managua which quite possibly explains why Dr. Feelgood still has a job at the Knick.

Ann’s medical professional opinion: Never seen that trick with a belt before, ever. The only time we used belts were to tie patients down for their own safety or ours.

This recapping thing is way more wordy than we could have imagined. After five hours in my lady lounge we had enough of cocaine addicts, racists and gore, even with DQ treats. Part deux of this very special edition of Oh-Amy will be posting tomorrow. 

   * For real legit medical and wellness information check out Ann’s blog at Link below or on the right sidebar, depending on your device.

The unemployment diaries

Kinda like the Vampire one, only not nearly as sexy. Also there are no werewolves involved, unless you count the occasional coyote who wonders into my yard in broad daylight just to freak me out or the eight-and-a-half pound dog who lives with me who thinks she can take it on, poor deluded little dreamer. Change they say is good, and I am making a big one. Sometimes leaving the band should not be seen so much as a break up but more as an opportunity to finally make that kick-ass solo album you always dreamed about. And yes, it is scary because sometimes those solo albums are terrible (see anything by Mick Jagger or Ringo Starr) but sometimes they are fantastic (hello Jack White, Bjork and the Power Station) and that is exactly what I am aiming for.

These same old know-it-alls also say when life gives you lemons make lemonade which sounds like a great idea to me. This honey basil lemonade is fantastic on its own or with a little dollop or two of vodka, depending on how you are feeling about the whole going solo thing.


For the syrup you will need:

2 cups filtered water

2 cups fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup raw honey – I used slightly less, I find simple syrups made with honey just a bit too sickly sweet even for me, and I like the sweet.

2 TBS lemon zest – I used two medium lemons for this, remember to only zest the yellow bits, the white stuff is NASTY.

Now you don’t have to use honey from your own town like I did but why not? Think of it as supporting your local bees who can use all the help they can get these days thanks to all the bad plants with neonicotinoids trying to kill them off. My own basil was looking a little bit shabby because I generally lose all interest in my plants by Labor Day (which was quite late this year) so I had to supplement mine with basil from the store which is so annoying.

And while lemons are not part of the EWG’s dirty dozen I still buy the organic ones even though they are never as large or as pretty. Being a new member of the non-working group (does that make me a poodle or a Frenchie? I like them both, it’s so hard to choose), I should probably start buying the ones chock-full of pesticides at Wal-Mart but some habits just can’t be broken no matter how uncertain one’s future may be.


Bring the water and honey to a boil, stir it a bit every once in a while to dissolve the honey. Add the lemon zest and basil. Remove from heat and muddle the basil just like a fancy pants bartender would. Cover and cool, I let mine sit in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. I mean, why be in a rush? Strain this seriously chilled mixture into your very best serving pitcher. Just because you are a struggling writer/blogger person does not mean you don’t have any standards.

Check out the bindi on that dude, he did not even notice for like an hour

Dude does not look like a lady, even with a bindi

When I was a kid I used to like to wear the little oval brand labels from Sunkist lemons and Chiquita bananas on my forehead, sort of like a corporate sponsored bindi. I am an old now and beyond such silly things but my cat on the other hand is quite young and was made precisely for these kind of silly things, especially since he sucks at real cat stuff like mouse hunting and bug killing.

For the finished lemonade you will need:

basil lemon syrup

3/4- 1  cup fresh lemon juice – depending on how lemony you like it, I  juiced three lemons and called it a day.

5 cups filtered water – give or take.

pinch of chunky salt – don’t even think about using table salt. The original recipe called for Celtic sea salt and although I am mainly descended from the Celts I used Kosher because where the hell do you find that, Ireland? I can’t even think about going on a trip right now people.

ice cubes – as many as you feel like, I like a lot.

basil leaves and lemon slices (boring) or twisties (way cool) for garnish.


Combine the basil lemon syrup with the filtered water ( I have a built-in Brita thing in my fridge for these types of situations), fresh lemon juice and the salt. Stir to combine and then pour into ice cube-filled glasses. Add your garnishes and serve immediately.

The finished product

The finished product is lovely and delicious