Mind the Gap Peppermint Patties

Last Monday I had a little mishap and well, the best way to describe what happened is to tell you exactly what happened.  Below is an email I sent to some inquiring friends the night of the incident.  Rather than recreating the tale from scratch, I thought I’d share the words at their freshest (and yes, slightly manic), just hours after… 

I left work at 6:30 and got on a C train with the plan of switching to the 1 train at Columbus Circle so I could get off at 72nd & Broadway because I had to go to Fairway. As I was walking up the stairs from the C platform to the 1 I saw that a train had just pulled in and ran to catch it. Just as I was jumping into the car the door started to close so with my right hand I tried to push it out of the way so I could get on. I should add that there were still plenty of people boarding other cars and I didn't think I was being reckless.

I need to get to that train!
In the blink of an eye somehow I either slipped or was thrown off balance by the door and I started to fall. There was a guy right next to me also getting on the train who caught me, but not before my right leg fell between the edge of the subway platform and the subway car. And by leg I mean up to the top of my thigh. No, I’m not that skinny—the space was that wide.  When I say the whole thing happened so quickly I really mean like 2, 3 seconds. Like a fast up and down dip. You know when they announce “Mind the Gap" over the PA system?  I guess I didn’t mind it enough.
The gap
I was then safe on the train, thanked the guy profusely and was standing holding onto the pole.  That should be your first clue that something was awry since I do just about anything to avoid touching anything to do with a subway.  Anyway, slowly what had just (and could have really) happened started to dawn on me and my heart started to pound and my right leg started to really hurt. Coupled with feeling kind of embarrassed by the whole thing, all I could think was "I just want to get home." So the train made its next stop at 66th street and I was going to get off at the one after that. Between 66th-72nd I started to feel a little whoozy and by the time the doors open at 72nd I was totally dizzy and lightheaded.

Somehow I walked to the staircase to climb to the main part of the station by gripping onto the banister and hoisting myself up step-by-step. Again, note that I am touching something I usually deride others for even lightly grazing.  Realizing I was feeling very faint I grabbed onto something. Maybe it was a garbage can or a gate. I don't know because I was so dizzy that all I remember is looking up to see three people standing above me.  One seemed to be calling 911 and another said, "Are you okay? You just passed out." And I realized I was on my back LYING ON THE SUBWAY STATION FLOOR! 

The Bannister
Again, I was totally mortified and I insisted that I was fine and I started to stand. One of the guys put out his hand to help and I thanked him but then the next thing I knew the three people were standing over me again and a woman said, "You know you just fainted a second time, but I stuck out my arm so you wouldn’t hit your head.”  And rather than even attempting to stand I just sat up and crossed my legs – crisscross applesauce as my niece would say.
Yup, I was lying next to this garbage can
At this point they really wanted to call 911 and I begged them not to and a cop happened to walk by and they grabbed him. He started asking me lots of questions and insisted on calling an ambulance. I could tell his real concern was that I was going to sue the city but that’s neither here nor there. So an ambulance came, he helped me to my feet and I felt freezing because I had been totally sweating.

I got into the ambulance (BTW, my first time ever) and the EMTs were so incredibly great. They took vitals and I kept saying I was okay and really, just wanted to go home. (I was no longer feeling faint and in my heart I knew I was okay.) Then they said, "Is there anyone home who can keep an eye on you?" Um, no. And the guy EMT says, "I'm sorry. Pick an emergency room.  You can't be alone."

I then tried to reach my parents with no luck so I called my sister to ask her where they might be but she basically jumped in her car to drive to the city from Westchester to meet me at Lenox Hill before I even hung up.

I got to the ER (I knew it wasn’t a life or death situation since they didn’t even put on the siren and I was just sitting up on that little bench) and considering how terrible it could have been, it was really fine. My sister got there 10 minutes after I did and they checked me in, made me change into a gown and hooked me up to an EKG. All I wanted to do was go home and shower, and eat dinner.  Even though at this point my tail bone was really starting to hurt (from hitting the station floor when I fainted the two times) and a bruise was starting to bloom on my right hamstring. The doctor then announced he saw something on the EKG; either an extra beat or something tiny but a little funny so he insisted on doing blood work and more blood pressure stuff. I explained to him, “it’s nothing” (because I’m a doctor?) and I was sure it was like a delayed fight or flight thing. Like shock, when adrenaline surges and your blood pressure plummets. Not to mention the ER was freezing and I was shaking with nerves.

Yeah, it was a little more crowded than this
He was great but said, "Um, it’s not nothing because I saw something and we're doing these tests and I'm giving you saline." So I sat there with an IV, thinking about how dirty I felt and hoping the results would come back soon so I could go home.  Meanwhile, my sister, who had been up since 5AM with one of my nieces, really needed to get back to her house. My brother was about to jump on the train from Brooklyn when sister reached bff Rich on his way from the gym. Rich got in a cab, relieved my sister and waited with me while I was being hydrated. Ultimately the blood work came back, my heart was normal and I was allowed to go home.  (See, I really am a doctor.) I'd say I was there from 7:45-10:30.  Not bad for a New York City ER, right?  It could have been so much worse on so many levels.

But the moral of the story is two-fold. 1) nothing is worth running for and, more importantly, 2) despite what the EMT said, I am not alone. 

The overwhelming thing though, and the thing that has brought me to the brink of tears, is just how much kindness I received from people whose names I don't even know, like the nice man who offered me his hand at the station. And I wish I knew the names of the EMTs.  Their warmth, care and humor made me feel so much better.  “Remember, take a cab!” the guy EMT said when he left me at the hospital.  And when the doctor said I could go home I told him I loved him. And at that moment I did.   Anyway, other than not being able to wear shorts until at least next summer (my hamstring looks like a giant eggplant) and having an annoyingly sore tailbone, I know I am so, so lucky. Can you believe it?!!!! And all I wanted to do with buy groceries.

So that’s the story of my mishap.  And I’ve sworn that I’m going to stop rushing.  And I’m going to wear my glasses so I see the gap before I fall into it.  And I’m going to carpe diem.  And for all those reasons I made myself a treat.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a mint and chocolate person.  I’ve had this recipe for homemade peppermint patties in my files for awhile but for some reason haven’t tackled it. Probably because they idea seemed time consuming.  But with my commitment to calming the hell down, I thought waiting for the sugar to reach the “soft ball stage” and the methodical dipping of the fondant disks might serve my jittery brain well.  And it did.  And these taste so good I urge you not to be scared of the words “candy thermometer” or “marble slab.”  
They are truly doable.  All you need is a little patience.  And trust me, if I found some, so can you.  

Mind the Gap Peppermint Patties
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From Saveur Issue 107
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
1⁄4 tsp. cream of tartar
1⁄2 tsp. peppermint oil
6 drops green food coloring
2 1⁄2 cups dark chocolate chips, melted in a bowl (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao and melted the chips in the microwave)

Stir together sugar, cream, milk, butter, and cream of tartar in a medium, heavy pot. (I used a Le Creuset and it worked beautifully.) 
Bring to a boil, without stirring; reduce heat to medium. Attach a candy thermometer to inside edge of pot; cook, without stirring, until it registers 236°, 12–14 minutes.
Pour sugar mixture onto a marble slab. 
Using 2 heatproof spatulas, scrape mixture back and forth to make a fondant, moving it across the marble quickly until it becomes thick and just cool enough to touch, 3–4 minutes. 
Toward the end, completely work in the oil and coloring.
Gather fondant into a ball; knead until it resembles smooth dough, 3–4 minutes. (If it becomes powdery, work in a few drops of water.) Mine got a bit gritty because I stopped to take photos. So I really had to knead it for awhile to get it smooth.  
Shape fondant into thirty-six 1 1⁄2"-wide disks, each about 1⁄3" thick. (Keep unshaped fondant covered with plastic wrap while you work.)
4. Working with one fondant disk at a time, dip them into chocolate using a fork; let excess drip off. Transfer to a wax paper–lined sheet pan. Let set in a cool spot. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool spot for up to a week.

Yield: 3 DOZEN

1 comment:

Kim said...

Glad you're OK Miranda. A good reminder for all of us to slow down a bit. And those peppermint patties... ahhh.. they look like the perfect remedy.