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Week 33: Cardiac Care Units

Dear Batter Up friends, look who got battered—it’s the cardiac care units at the VCU Medical Center, Chippenham Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital!

I have to admit, I’ve always been a little bit of a Valentine’s Day Scrooge. So, when I was thinking about this week’s delivery, I decided to embrace the holiday, Batter Up style, with some heart-inspired cake. But, this delivery wasn’t just in honor of Valentine’s Day. The month of February is also heart health awareness month so it only seemed fitting to honor these nurses and doctors who work so hard to keep the heart patients of Richmond healthy and happy.

As expected, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with all of these recipients. I didn’t even get most of their names. They have important jobs to do and having a complete stranger pull up a chair in the middle of the nurses station to hang out for a while isn’t exactly helpful. But, if you read my blog regularly, you’ve read a sentence or two (or three or four) about my family. Having had three out of my four grandparents go through heart disease and bypass surgery (and tragically losing one to it) I have become quite accustomed to the various heart units around Richmond. So, while I wasn’t able to get to know these awesome people in the pictures, I’m all too familiar with their daily routines and I was honored to be able to brighten up their Valentine’s Day.

Delivery day was a bit of an adventure and only further proved that I am, most definitely, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I had made 60 heart shaped brownies the night before the delivery and waited until the next morning to ice them. I have to give my poor brother some props. I do most of my baking late at night and I never do my dishes. I always come down the next morning to find them all done, sitting in the dish rack drying. (One of these days he’s going to pull that little good deed out of his back pocket and use it against me. But until then, I’m happy to have his assistance.) I got all of the cakes iced and boxed up, I filled out the ingredient cards, and packed up the little bags. I loaded the car, gave my dog a cookie, and headed off to my first delivery at VCU. For those of you who weren’t in Richmond on Valentine’s Day, you probably don’t know that it was also the first ever RVA Coffee Love day. So, before hitting I-64, I ran into Whole Foods to grab three bags of fresh ground coffee to deliver with the cakes.

The VCU hospital has always been a bit of an enigma to me. I knew where it was, I just didn’t know how to get into the building. Luckily my brother is part super-hero and often drives an ambulance, so he gave me some directions. Between those and stopping to ask for directions three times in a one square block radius, I managed to find the entrance to the parking deck. I made my way into a rock-star parking place and, as I was getting out of my car, realized that I had left my camera at home—30 minutes away. I sat in my car and debated for what seemed like an eternity about what to do. I have a camera on my phone, but the image quality just doesn’t compare. I finally decided to go back and get it. I made my way through the levels of concrete, paid to exit the facility, and headed back to the West End. An hour later I arrived back at VCU, camera in hand.

Now that I had everything I needed to make my delivery, I had absolutely no idea how to navigate this massive hospital. Twenty minutes later I landed in the hallway of the cardiac floor only to discover that I couldn’t get into the unit. (For those of you who have read about the week one delivery to the NICU, this is probably sounding familiar.) Finally someone let me in and I went to the nurses station. It was ohmyfreakinglawd busy. No one was interested that I was delivering cake and I actually felt a little like a nuisance. There was a person in charge of the nurses station that I asked about a picture. She didn’t want to be in it, nor did anyone that she asked—not that I blame them. Everyone was darting from one place to another, clearly with more important things to do than take a picture with a cake. I was about to give up when a friendly voice behind me spoke up offering to be in the picture. She recruited another person, they posed, I hit the camera button once, and the camera stopped working. (Arghh!!!) It was completely dead with no response whatsoever. In a bit of a panic I tried to figure out what was wrong and eventually gave up. At least I had fired off one shutter release. Hopefully it was in focus—not that I could tell at the moment. As I made my way back through the hospital I decided it had to be the battery. So now I was faced with going back home—again—to charge the battery, or continue on and take the remaining photos on my phone. I decided to go back home. Of course, I had to find my car first. You see, I didn’t pay attention to where I parked it this time. I started  looking on deck seven and made my way down. I finally found it on deck four.

When I arrived home I put the battery on the charger and waited. At this point it was almost 3:30 pm. So far it had taken me almost four hours to make one delivery. After about 45 minutes I put the battery back in the camera only to find no response whatsoever. Completely befuddled, I started turning the camera around, shaking it, pushing buttons—nothing. Then, it hit me. Apparently in the seconds between taking the first picture and adjusting to take the second picture, I had turned the camera off.

Doh! Facepalm.

I got back into the car and headed to Chippenham. Luckily that delivery and the following delivery to St. Mary’s went smoothly. The cardiac units were much less hectic, the camera worked, I didn’t get lost, and the cake recipients were thrilled to have their pictures taken. I finally got home around 6 pm. It literally took me ALL. DAY. to make three deliveries.

And now, more about the cake. I keep calling them heart cakes but they were actually Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Icing. The recipe (found here) is from Southern Living and, much like the Red Velvet Cake that I made at Christmas, my kitchen looked like the scene of a homicide from all of the red food coloring. But not to worry, I’m sure my brother will eventually scrub the red stains out of the cutting board—just like when vacuumed the oven after he had to extinguish my fire a couple of months ago. I think he’s really enjoying living at Batter Up headquarters.