Tuesday, August 16, 2011

it is a poor workman who blames her tools

On Saturday the Sober Husband decided to take my knives to be sharpened. It had been a very long time since I'd had them professionally sharpened, and they needed it. The complication was that I was cooking for a dinner party that night, but for whatever reasons of his own, the Sober Husband was hellbound on sharpening the knives that very day.

I put off making the dishes that required chopping and instead made the cake while he and the knives were gone. After he came back, I moved on to the chopping. Right away I got little cuts on three fingertips. I had never touched a knife so sharp before. The professional sharpening service I'd used before didn't do anything like this. I moved on to mincing an onion. It's my habit when chopping up something fine to rest my left hand along the top of my big chef's knife, to work as a counterbalance to the heavy handle. I've never before, in decades of cooking and mincing a variety of things, hurt my left hand chopping, but then again I'd never worked with a knife fresh from Saucy Joe's mobile knifesharpening service. As I minced, the tip of the knife, sharp as a barb, went straight into my left hand, very deep into the palm. I shouted in pain. I pulled the knife out, and I shouted again.

I ran over to the sink. It hurt like hell washing my hand, the soap and water going into the inside of my hand where nothing should ever enter. I shouted, this time out of drama-queenness, until my husband finally got tired of listening to the hellish racket and came down. "I stabbed myself!" I said. "Knives should never be this sharp." I showed him my wound. It was not very long, but it was very deep. It was bleeding very heavily.

After wrapping the poor hand in a clean dishcloth, I sat on the couch and rested at the Sober Husband's insistence. "But I have to keep cooking," I said plaintively. "The guests will understand," he said firmly. "We can call for takeout or something." I took an ibuprofen. It took a very long time for the bleeding to stop. Lola ostentatiously brought me a glass of ice water, and after the bleeding finally stopped, I used the glass of ice water to ice my hand.

At this point, I looked at my hand somewhat objectively. The wound wasn't long enough for more than one or two stitches, really. There wasn't much point in going to have it sewn up. The question was more about what had happened inside the hand. I didn't think the flesh inside the hand was supposed to have knives slipping into it, and the flesh of my palm was swelling up. But what would any doctor do I could see on a Sunday afternoon do? Probably nothing, after I'd sat around waiting for hours. And I knew from reading chefs' memoirs that real, true cooks mutilate themselves all the time and don't even step out of the kitchen. I went back to work and finished all the food for the dinner party.

10 comments:

Silliyak said...

Ibuprofen is a vasodilator and antiplatelet, so as they say in the medical world, that would be contra indicated for a cut. Pressure and elevation are your best first actions, followed by pressure on nearby artery then tournequet, then amputation (Kidding about the last one) Maybe a first aid for dummies book should be on your wish list.

Jane said...

I feel for you. I had two friends coming over for dinner in grad school and I managed to drop a glass mixing bowl in the sink and somehow scraped off the flesh on my thumb. I couldn't get the stupid thing to stop bleeding no matter what I did, so I just wrapped it up as best I could, encased my hand in a plastic bag, and finished making dinner.

I went to the ER the next day with it still bleeding, but they couldn't do anything for it, so I figured either it had to stop, or I'd die. I'm still here. :-)

I hope your hand feels better. So much for that adage that it's easier to get cut with a blunt knife than a sharp one.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I did have pressure & elevation, but I also needed something to take the edge off, and ibuprofen was what I had on hand (besides alcohol, and drinking while using these overly sharp tools struck me as a poor idea). Sadly I am lacking in variety in my painkillers around the house.

hughman said...

i think from now on you should just wrap the children around your wrists before chopping. it sounds like iris has no blood to shed and lola would only admire how pink her dress was becoming.

Amy said...

FYI, as I learned from my years of healthinsurancelessness, you can buy psuedo-stiches from the drugstore. I think they are called butterfly bandages or whatever. Anyhow, they will hold the wound closed, reducing the scar and the bleeding.

You can also just glue it closed w/ crazy glue.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, stitches are becoming rarer and rarer - you were more likely to be glued or given a butterfly anyway.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I contemplated supergluing it, but I decided not to mess with it. If it were bigger, I'd have glued it. The scary thing about this wasn't the length; it was the depth. It really went into my hand. I've never had the sensation of something being under the skin plunging in that part of my body, the center of the palm.

Boomhouser said...

dang i need to get this done to my knives... :P

Carroll said...

Please let me nominate Hugh's suggestion for your "comment of the Week" award!

Stoic of you to press on with the dinner prep process, but we all know where the Sober Husband's airy suggestion to "just order something out" would have led. Someone still has to set the table, fetch the serving utensils, and, oh yes, do the dishes. Besides, you have your fabulous new stove. It needs to be used!

NonymousGoatsePants said...

I glued mine a few years ago. My friend, a surgeon, was watching and when I asked him how I did he responded, "I don't know. I use staples."

I can barely see the scar now, but I can't see much of anything within arm's length of my eyes anymore, either.