Saturday, May 17, 2014

Me vs. Salmonella

Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi

Due to some really bad luck and a weak immune system, I spent last week in Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi fighting a really bad case of Salmonella Typhimurium. This girl isn't a fan of hospitals, so waiting until I lost several pounds and needed what the doctors termed "IV resuscitation and rehydration" bought me a week long stay.

Before you start feeling bad for me having to endure a week in the hospital, this post is not about sympathy or pity. It's about my experience at Burjeel Hospital.

You see, since moving here one of my biggest fears has been having to be hospitalized. My family and I have had some less than desirable experiences with medical professionals here over the past few years, and the thought of having to stay in a medical facility for more than a day quite frankly scared me. I can honestly say Burjeel has laid my fears to rest.

First of all, let me say just stepping into Burjeel the germaphobe in me relaxes a bit. Yes, you can laugh at the fact that a self confessed germaphobe got Salmonella (I assure you it didn't come from my house though). Burjeel's facilities are immaculate, and their housekeeping staff is on hand cleaning throughout the day. When you're being admitted due to a bacterial infection this really means a lot.

Next, and the part that shocked me and my visitors is it's really hard to call Burjeel a hospital. As I was wheeled into my room, it was like entering a hotel suite not a hospital room. Yes, there was a hospital bed, but there was also a sitting area complete with sofa, coffee table, chair, and fridge. There was also a separate regular bed for guest and a changing area and wardrobe along with a large private bathroom. Oh, and I can't leave out the balcony! Although it had a safety lock, I had a balcony that ran the entire length of my room with an amazing view of Abu Dhabi and Reem Island. Friends joked that they were going to book their next staycation at Burjeel.

It wasn't just the amenities in the room that gave Burjeel a hotel like feel. My guest were able to order room service and have it delivered to my room on linen covered rolling tables complete with origami folded napkins. I didn't get to eat any of it, but my visitors all said the food was quite delicious and not what you would expect from a hospital restaurant. I was able to eat a bit of the the food prescribed for me my last 2 days there and it was not your typical hospital food. Even my bland diet wasn't bad. I should also mention, there's a lady that comes around with afternoon tea or coffee like clockwork everyday. Sadly, the state of my insides did not permit this coffee/tea lover to have any though.

Burjeel was plush and comfortable as hospitals go, but none of that would mean anything if the staff wasn't competent. Though extremely leery at first, the doctors and nursing staff put my mind to rest and I was able to relax and let them take care of me knowing they were all looking out for my best interest. The awesome nursing team on the 4th floor all went out of their way to try to make sure I was comfortable. Their round the clock care was the best nursing I have seen in Abu Dhabi.

My doctor, Dr. Hassan, was also top notch. My husband was in the US on business while I was in the hospital, and I joked that he must have been paying Dr. Hassan or telling him how hardheaded I can be. I'm not a fan of hospitals, so if I could have had it my way I would have been released way earlier than I probably should have been. I asked Dr. Hassan daily when could I leave, and he held fast to goals he had set for me with fluid and food intake before even considering my release. Looking back now and reviewing my lab reports I know I was very sick, and I'm so thankful Dr. Hassan stood his ground and kept me in the hospital where I needed to be.

I'm currently out of the hospital and still recovering on medication at home. I have conquered my fear of being hospitalized here, and might even not wait so long before seeking medical attention next time. Although, I pray there isn't a next time. Salmonella is serious stuff folks, especially if you have a weak immune system. This germaphobe will be even more cautious in the future.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Girl Time at The Galleria

Have you been to The Galleria at Maryah Island?  This weekend my daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting as The Galleria wrapped up its Spring Festival, an entertaining month filled with art, music, and films for audiences of all ages.

I don't think I have been in a more breathtaking "theater", as The Galleria had the Abu Dhabi skyline as its backdrop for its movie screenings. That's right, my daughter and I got to lay underneath the beautiful night sky on big comfy loungers and take in the Cherien Dabis film, Amreeka. Amreeka is about a Palestinian family that finds themselves plucked out of Bethlehem and dropped into American society. Great movie, and I especially recommend it to any expats here in the Middle East. It's an interesting look at the flip side of the coin.
The Galleria's theater with a view.

Al fresco dining at Emporio Armani Caffè
Prior to getting all cozy and enjoying the film, we enjoyed some retail therapy. With labels ranging from Gucci to Dior, and my daughter's favorite, Alexander McQueen, The Galleria will bring out the inner Carrie Bradshaw in any woman. I behaved myself for the most part, but I've put together an impressive birthday wishlist.

Perfect spot for a quiet dinner.
I can't leave out another magnificent part of our evening at The Galleria.....dinner! My lovely dinner date and I enjoyed a quiet dinner at Emporio Armani Caffè. As the name would suggest, Emporio Armani Caffè was created by the man himself, Mr. Giorgio Armani, and it serves a variety of Milanese fare. A perfect dinner choice for two girls that just so happen to love Milan.

Sorry, but as always, I have to share when I have a fabulous meal. For starters we shared the Vellutata di Zuchinne, a zucchini cream soup with Robiola cheese and croutons. Zucchini is one of my favorite vegetables, and as I enjoyed every spoonful of this soup I felt slighted that I hadn't experienced it before now.
Vellutata di Zuchinne

We also enjoyed an Insalata di Tonno, perfectly grilled sesame and black pepper crusted tuna served over a bed of mixed greens with cherry tomatoes and eggplant. The flavorful warm tuna mixed with the robust flavors of the cold mixed salad form a perfect duet.

Insalata di Tonno

For our main course, we both were feeling carnivorous and opted for some of Armani's beef dishes. My daughter had the Tagliata di Manzo, a melt in your mouth beef tenderloin, that she claimed was "pure Heaven". Served atop a bed of plump perfectly cooked asparagus, she said she could not dare let a piece go to waste despite feeling quite full.
Tagliata di Manzo

I opted for a tender slow roasted veal shank, the Ossobuco. Served with a medley of some of my favorite roasted vegetables including squash and zucchini along with creamy mashed potatoes, the Ossobuco was one big delicious serving of comfort food. This dish reminds me of one my mother would have spent hours cooking while filling the house with delightful aromas.

We could have stopped at the main course, but my daughter's eyes lit up when she saw a warm chocolate fondant served with pistachio ice cream on the dolci menu. Suddenly, she got her second wind and had to have this Tortino al Cioccolato with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Based on the fact that she did not leave a single crumb behind, I would say she quite enjoyed it.
Tortino al Cioccolato

I believe it is safe to say that The Galleria and Emporio Armani Caffè get two thumbs up in not only my book, but my daughter's as well. She spent the entire night posting her "story" to her friends on Snapchat. As a mom of teenagers it's always nice to know you have successfully entertained them, and it would seem our evening at The Galleria was a smash hit.

The Galleria at Maryah Island
Thursday: 10am - 12am
Friday: 12 Noon - 12am
Saturday – Wednesday: 10am - 10pm

Weekdays: 10am - 10pm
Weekends: 10am - 12am

The Emporio Armani Caffè
Telephone: 02 676 6995

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Bedouin Affair

I was going through my pictures this week for other posts and came across my pictures from Valentine's Day. This year I took on the task of planning our Valentine's Day dinner, since the hubby did it last year. Knowing I could not compete with or even top his performance that made all of our male friends mad for making them look bad, I decided to go with a more simple affair.

I went with a Bedouin style Valentine's Day surprise, and chose the Kite Beach on Yas Island as the backdrop. The beach is about 10 minutes from our house, and gets its name from the hoards of kite surfers that you'll find there during the day every day of the week. We both love Abu Dhabi, so I thought enjoying the emirate's uniqueness and beauty would be a perfect way to spend Valentine's Day. I should also mention, it was wayyyyyy cheaper than Emirates Palace. Enjoy the pics!

Yes, they even have cleaners on the beach here.