Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mandolin Lessons

I almost bled out after chopping off my pinky finger in a cooking accident.

We English professor types call that "hyperbole." It is still very close to the truth.

I was using a mandolin to slice zucchini. The mandolin comes with a thingie that you attach to veggies that you are slicing so you don't put your hand near the blade, but a zucchini is a long veggie, so slicing it at one end while holding it at the other works fine.

Unless you are me. In which case, it doesn't work fine this one time when I somehow make a ballet-like sweeping motion with the zucchini and the corner of my pinky finger comes across the blade as if it, too, is a vegetable.

I'll give you a moment to let out that gasp and relax whatever it is that got all clenched up when you read that.

I threw stuff down and yelled and cursed a lot. Eddie came running in and took me into the bathroom to run water over it. It would not stop bleeding. We got a towel for me to hold on it and I clamped down over the cut, holding both hands way above my head. Eddie went back to the kitchen to inspect the mandolin. He turned it over a few times and said, No blood--it's fine. He's obviously a gourmet chef. I told him to put it in the sink.

I could tell he thought I was over-reacting. I knew if we kept looking at it, it would simply keep bleeding since I was releasing pressure, but he really thought it was a little tiny cut. We decided to pour some peroxide on it. I almost passed out. The pain. No words.

We wrapped it tightly with a bunch of band-aids and he went off to work. I got myself dressed, all the while watching blood start to seep through the band-aids. Before heading to work, I stopped off at my parents' house to ask my mom to help me re-wrap it. We had a hard time getting all the band-aids off, so there was more pain in the pulling and pushing. Then it started bleeding all over again. We decided Neosporin on a band-aid was a better idea. I wasn't going near peroxide again. We wrapped it in two band-aids.

At work, I wrapped it again in a third band-aid as I saw the blood start to ooze through. My creative writing class was having their final session, which was a reading of their best and favorite work. I write each student a letter, and this was going to be an issue with my now crippled finger. I held it up for them to see as I explained they might not get the letters I promised. I explained, I'm bleeding out. They felt sympathy and asksed how I did it. I was like, Do you know what a mandolin is?

One guy offered, It's a guitar. I was like, True, but there's another kind, to which another guy responded, It's a kitchen tool for slicing things. I nodded and everyone cringed as I made a motion of sweeping my hand across the blade.

Go ahead and let out that gasp again.

At around 3:15, my finger felt like it would be better off if it were no longer attached to the rest of me. I swung by my parents' house and got my mom to come with  me to Urgent Care because I wasn't about to fill out a bunch of forms and bleed all over them.

The doctor was hilarious. Not in a cheesy make him stop way, but in a genuine wow he's funny way. He cut off the three band-aids and my finger kind of bled but it didn't gush the way it had been. He held it up and turned it over. Then he said, Go rinse that off. As I did so, he explained that my skin had wrinkled up under the band-aids and blood had gotten into the wrinkles, so at first, he thought I'd gone across the blade several times and wondered what kind of cook I was. See? Funny.

As I got back on the exam table, he was saying that I'd probably need a stitch or two. Then he looked more closely and said, Okay, there's nothing to stitch. I'd taken off a small chunk of my pinky. There was nothing to put back together. He instead gave me some weird styrofoam looking thing that had gel on it that would make the bleeding stop. Then he wrapped it up with a lot of gauze. We all agreed that I could get a lot of sympathy for this.

He also asked several times about my history with tetanus shots. I knew what was coming. I was getting a tetanus shot. He asked which arm and I said my right. It didn't hurt too badly, but he assured me, It's going to hurt tomorrow, a lot.

When I got home, I texted this photo to Eddie.
Just a tiny cut, my ass
Later on, he felt a bit more sympathetic, admitting he'd thought it was only a tiny cut. This is only because he can break a bone and not realize it until three days later. We have different levels of pain tolerance.

At work the next day, I told the story of the mandolin maybe 84 times. Of those 84 times, I also explained how I did not get cut on a guitar and that a mandolin is a cooking tool about 79 times. Conclusion: Most people do not know what a cooking mandolin is.

The fun part was not getting it wet. The two days I had the gauze on, it rained, so keeping it dry was an interesting challenge. Also a challenge? Showering.

I will survive! A shower!
In addition to the keep-it-dry debacle, I was practically crippled in my right arm from the shot. That doc was not joking. I couldn't lift my arm to shoulder level. This proved really interesting while trying to wash my hair with a hand that couldn't get wet and an arm I could not lift.

Two days later, I returned to urgent care. A doctor took off the gauze and inspected my finger. He asked if I had numbness. Nope. Could I bend it? Yup. Then he happily said, All you need now is a band-aid. I unhappily responded, That's going to garner much less sympathy.

The cut actually healed pretty quickly. I changed the band-aid like three times a day and smothered the cut with Neosporin. That goop works wonders. Looking at the cut from the side, it was becoming less and less gross. Looking at my finger from the front, however, was a different story. There is clearly a small chunk missing. It'll grow back, the doctors reassured me. I hope it does, soon, because my typing is suffering.

The zucchini--the part that I made later on using a simple knife and creating uneven slices--was delicious.

No comments: