May 25, 2020

you can numb it, but it still functions . . . well, that sounds worse than intended

I wasn't going to post on Memorial Day, but this might take you two days to read it, and I finished it, so why not . . . 

Google photos tells me the middle finger incident took place Monday, Sept. 23rd. So, it's been awhile.  I always intended to share the drama, but more pressing topics cropped up, I guess.  True, right?  Because you 're regularly enthralled by the exciting content shared here.  Me:  envisioning a group nod.

I only had one super sweet, beautiful baby to sit for last school year on Mondays.  His parents regularly make comments to me like:  "We feel like we won the lottery when we found you."  Keepers.  

I started watching baby Cutie-Pie in mid September when he was 3 months old, so on this Monday his family was still 'new-ish' to my crazy life.  The dad was coming to pick Cutie-Pie up around 4:30.  I started making dinner and warming up Cutie's bottle anticipating that he would wake up.  I didn't want to hand over a hungry baby.

This photo is unrelated, but it makes me laugh
and it is from the days when shopping was less
restrictive.  I do NOT typically drag babies
with me while shopping . . they hog the cart.
For dinner, I had decided to cook sweet potatoes.  I eat the same things A LOT- I feel like this is dictated by celiac, and combined with my quest to try to eat healthy, I grabbed giant sweet potatoes at the store that week.  This was back when masks weren't worn and I puttered around the store thinking about what I might make.  

I think I last made sweet potatoes when I used to make my own baby food.  So, forever ago.

Have you ever tried to cut a sweet potato?  Holy crap, an impossible mission.  I wanted to cut them in smaller chunks so they would boil faster.  

Over the summer Ed's then-girlfriend was selling Cutco knives.  Ed asked me if she could come and give me her presentation as practice.  I was not supposed to feel compelled to order anything.  I said, Sure, and I DO need knives, so maybe I will place an order.

Order, I did.  My new knives were weeks old and I loved them.  Understand the knives that I registered for when we got married were all broken and the cheap replacements were, well, cheap.  Cutting stuff was always a challenge.  You could, in fact, call our home dull.  Pun intended.  

I grabbed the biggest, brand-new Cutco knife available and (this is important), I hurried to cut the sweet potatoes.  Kids, don't try this at home.  

Little sliver of skin.  Almost made
my thumb look like a puppet.
Let's pause while I admit that I had already struggled adjusting to using insanely sharp weaponry to slice up the veggies and egg for my daily salad.  Over Labor Day weekend, I accidentally sliced the very tip of my thumb almost completely off.  So, that sucked.  I packed many bandages  the next weekend when we flew to Annapolis with the 4 youngest to watch Lad play water polo.  My recovery efforts were not enough and the little sliver eventually fell off.

So, here I am - rushing . . .  with a sharp knife.  Baby is starting to wake up and I need to get these taters boiling so dinner can be ready by the time I have to drive Curly to dancing.  (pausing here to remember the driving I once did and how I DO not know if I can start that shit up again.  How I hate driving to dancing). 

Done peeling, I needed to get them into a chunk.  I placed one on a cutting board and I'll be damned, the dang thing would NOT cut.  I leaned over my hand - putting all my body weight on the hand holding the knife.  

That's when the knife rolled off of the not-so-sweet potato.  The knife turned on it's side, and sorta ended up with my hand under it like I was holding it in my palm, but on the way there it had ever-so-barely-hardly TOUCHED my middle finger.  IT CUT MY MIDDLE FINGER DEEP.  "Efff" heard round the world, think back to 9/23/19 - I bet you heard it- wherever you were. 

Blood.  Lots of it.  You might recall, I am not good with blood, but passing out was NOT an option.  "Oh, hi Cutie's dad, my mom passed out . . . "  

I ran toward the sink and hollered for Reg and Curly who were the only ones home.  Reg dug out the band-aids and opened a few and I said, "We're going to count to three and then I am going to move the now red paper towel and we are gonna put the band-aids on."   Curly might have been holding the baby, or just reassuring me verbally - no recollection.  

Reg gasped at the gash but managed to help get the band-aids on - they instantly turned red.  We added some other absorbent stuff like paper towels and wrapped that up with medical tape (perks of marrying a PT - I know you're jealous) so I looked like a cartoon character with an over-sized, pulsating, bandaged appendage.  

I told Reg to call Coach at work.  Coach was like, "Crap" -but he was NOT gonna come home and take me to the ER.  Mondays are his busy day, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Me:  "Kids, the dad will be here soon.  You are NOT to tell him a thing about me wielding a knife I couldn't handle and my clear need for stitches.  No need to clue him into the fact that he left his kid with a lunatic.  We are gonna play this cool.  Damn it." 

The dad arrived to find me sitting on the couch calmly and perhaps pale, giving Cutie his bottle and Reg and Curly waving hello, refusing to open their mouths and breathing a word about how I was about to bleed out.  (slight exaggeration)

The next morning I did tell Cutie's mom the story- sort of obvious with a splint on, etc.  She chuckled because the dad worried that he had arrived late to pick up Cutie since a moment after he left I passed him driving (insert Wizard of Oz music here from the bike riding scene) the great-white, 12 seater van as I barreled along for the ER.  Smooth, right?

In the ER, I made many phone calls to try to find a ride to get Curly to dancing.  A recent college grad who moved home to do grad school couldn't drive her.  My mom, who likes to behave like she is 90, preferred I find someone else.  "The construction on Route 83, oh . . ."  My sister, Ann, couldn't help out.  

When the triage nurse called me back, I tried to tell her that I might have exaggerated my need for medical treatment.  I was squeamish after all.  Maybe I just hadn't looked at it closely.  She unbandaged it and a stream of blood hit her between the eyes (OK not exactly, but still a mess) and she was all:  "OK then, you definitely need stitches.  You aren't going anywhere."  

It is written somewhere that an ER needs to make you wait forever unless you are in fact dying, so I told her my dilemma.  I needed to get a ride for Curly to dancing, or I was going to have to leave.  Her:  "Ha, looks like your daughter is missing dancing tonight."

Me:  (internally, because I didn't want to be admitted to the psych ward)  "OK, I guess you know nothing about Irish dancing, and how busy the fall dancing season is.  My kid cannot miss dancing and if her little brother has to put her on his back and jog there, then that is how she will get there, damn it."

Tank was at golf practice and wasn't willing to abandon golf for Curly's dancing.

In the little ER room - too long!
I called my Mom back and assured her that Curly knew the way and that while there was CRAZY ASS construction, Curly can also navigate a secret route.  She may have only been 11, but she is aware.  My Mom agreed to do it.  

Please note:  My mom drives a jaguar with a built in big-screen GPS system that she refuses to learn how to use.  And - she has been to dancing before AND, it is almost a straight shot from home.  

This is already so long, sorry.  I will leave out the fun details about how I was left in a room forever, suspected they took another guy ahead of me, how a girl had to come in and 'CLEAN' my wound, and how I raised holy hell about them possibly taking another guy ahead of me.  There was also a dilemma:  did I want a numbing shot.  I think the doc talked me out of it - I don't even remember, and I am still surprised that I survived the whole ordeal.  Because I got 5 fricking stitches.  At 48, I HAD NEVER  GOTTEN STITCHES, HELLO!

A first time for everything, sadly.
Later, Coach, my husband NOT my caretaker, hid a bunch of the knives from me and I raised holy hell and made him give them back.  "You are not my DAD!"  Duh.  He gave them back but begged me to stop using them.

I went to my doctor to get the stitches out a few weeks later -the day before we flew to New York to see Lad play water polo - remember I ended up with pink eye?  Batting 1,000. 

Anyway, the doc was like:  "Can I ask you, were these Cutco knives?"  Me:  YES (insert story of son's girlfriend and how we now tease Ed about whether or not all of his girlfriends will someday try to kill me by selling me sharp shit).  

The doctor said she had just agreed to buy some knives because her friend's son had given her a presentation.  She couldn't count how many times she or her husband had cut themselves.  She is married to an ER doctor.  These are smart people, right?  I happily told Coach, "This is not just me."  

I may or may not have been holding up my newly un-stitched middle finger when I hollered this at him.  

*sidenote - I have not gotten the feeling back in my damaged middle finger, but let's face it - that finger still serves its main function as needed . . . this can only mean that I have a fresh crazy-neighbor Mary Ann story to share. 


Anonymous said...

Wow, 5 stitches, I am VERY impressed that you did not faint at any time during this “adventure” :)
Also, glad that your injured finger still “works” haha, even if you can’t feel it.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Holy shit.
YOU never have a dull day....nor a dull knife. Now.
I'm very squimish, so this would have been hell for me too. I can't believe you held it together for the dad of cutie pie...and then passed him. (I'm dying by the way at the entire story telling)
Good lord. You need a professional assistant at your side.
I LOVE MY CUTCO knives. I actually might be a little obsessed with them. But yes, if I'm not looking down and paying 100% attention, blood does happen.
Sweet potatoes (and big squashes) you can pre-cook in the microwave to make slicing easier. A trick I learned years ago. No peeling or anything; just a few minutes on high and they're soft enough to cut without taking off a beloved digit. Or two.

So..about Maryann. No BBQ at her house with your fam today?

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I was relieved that I did not pass out either. That woulda been ugly. While wearing the splint, my 'use' of the finger was that much more, shall we say, pronounced.

Suz - have I told you bout how Coach's office manager once told us that we should have a reality series? I mean, with our last name and YES the constant mayhem - it could've worked . . . but they would've been bleeping my mouth out quite a bit. I learned the nuke 'em to soften 'em advice AFTER my ER trip, but I now buy these cute little sweet potatoes already wrapped up in plastic and ready for the microwave. Experiment no more. I do love my Cutco knives and was livid when Coach thought he was saving me from myself by hiding most of them. I had a stretch there in the fall where I was getting hurt quite a bit . . . the knee was in November. Anyway, it was a comedy of errors and the Cutie people were so NEW, I was like SHIT, they cannot see me in crazy-mode. hee hee. No BBQ with Mary Ann. The whole ordeal was just discussed AGAIN at dinner. Some of my people like to be diplomatic. I'm too old for that shit.

Bibliomama said...

I'm willing to say confidently that the issue is not the sharpness of the knives, but the distraction of the user. I am not pointing bleeding fingers at everyone else and not myself here - just three hours ago I was trying to slice the thick wrapping off a hard sausage (just let it go) in a flagrantly stupid and unsafe manner and it slipped and was nearly catastrophic, but it only hit the tip of my finger instead of the whole damned thing. Sharp knives are great, but you have to be smart about using them, which apparently none of us are. Lord help my husband if he tried hiding them though, Jesus Christ. And I SUCK at peeling potatoes and sweet potatoes. I also have an extremely sharp potato peeler, and honest to god I don't know HOW you're supposed to use it safely. I always end up slicing off one of my fingernails at the VERY least.

Ernie said...

Ali - welcome to the club, well - I mean, I am not part of the hard sausage club or anything, but yes -distraction. For me, racing, rushing, running late. Not as much a problem while on house arrest, I find. Imagine. I got a potato peeler along with the knives and when I peel I take off the front part of the top knuckle/joint of one of my fingers without fail. Thankfully Coach has been doing potatoes on the grill or I have been baking in the microwave, so I have not been bandaged in awhile. Oh, shorty after my stitches Mini was cutting something and FAKED that she cut herself. Me, not ever wanting someone else to experience that, freaked the fuck out - and then she laughed. Then I freaked out more and sent her to her room for NOT being funny. So now being humorless is a punishable offense around here. I look forward to sharing a story of my neighbor with you - so that you can grasp why we don't get to do social distance fun with our neighbors. I just wrote it and it will post on Wednesday.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Yikes, your poor finger! Eeeee.

Kari said...


You lost me at the cut finger picture. I am sure it was a lovely post. ;)

Kara said...

I was using our mandolin to thin slice potatoes, and sliced the bejesus out of my right ring finger. Still can't feel the tip, makes typing interesting. My husband (a chef) helpfully told me that if we had a flattop available, I could just cauterize it, and get on with my day. Because that's what he'd do in a kitchen. It was during the early days of Corona, so I wound up using superglue to close it, because I did not want to go to an ER. That's probably why I can't feel the top of my finger. But I didn't die.

Anonymous said...

I also mandolined off the end of my right middle finger cutting potatos - but not too badly. I've since purchased a cut resistant glove and it is THE BEST for distracted cutting.

Ernie said...

Nicole- it was a bummer but I have so many others that I am still functioning.

Kari- ha, yes poor little guy. So typical of me . . . just getting a few things. And sorry I grossed you out, 'Twas merely a flesh wound.'

Ernie said...

Kara and anonymous- I meant to google mandolin but forgot. You two have more kitchen gadgets than me. I thought a mandolin was a musical instrument. Super gluing your own wound? Beyond brave. And I have said I wish there was just a glove I could wear that would promote carelessness, so must look into that.

Beth Cotell said...

Raw sweet potatoes are the WORST to attempt to cut. I'm glad it wasn't any worse! I for sure would have passed out getting the stitches without any numbing.

Ernie said...

Beth - I agree, sweet potatoes are like rocks. I have no idea who I managed to cut them up back when I made baby food. I think I sawed away with a dull knife. I was so surprised at how bad it was considering I barely touched the knife - it just sort of rolled off the 'rock' and skidded across my hand. I now find myself trying to cut food for the kids when they get ready to cut something. 'not on my watch' or I hand them an old dull knife.