Knife Skills Needed

Or, “Why I did not finish making tomato soup yesterday”

Yesterday, I picked about a half-bushel of tomatoes from the garden and decided to make some tomato soup to freeze.  I would have canned it, but was not interested in finding and following a recipe to the letter, so I decided to freeze it instead for safety reasons.  I pulled some leeks from the garden and grabbed some basil, too.

I washed, blanched, peeled, and seeded the tomatoes.  I washed and trimmed the leeks, then started to chop them up, happy to finally be starting to cook the soup.  Ed came into the kitchen and was talking about something, I don’t remember what exactly.  I looked up at him, and then, I had a strange feeling in my thumb.

Looking down at my thumb, I saw blood.  “I cut my finger bad!” I yelled as I spun around  and turned on the cold water.  I looked at my thumb again and saw that I had cut clear through the tip, leaving a tiny bit of skin and nail still attached on one side.  I thought it was above the bone, since I didn’t feel the knife hit the bone.

“I cut my finger bad!” I yelled again, starting to get hysterical.  Ed firmly reminded me to pull myself together, and I did.  I kept my finger under the running cold water, and began to boss him around. 

“Call my mom!”  Ed called my mom and said “Abbie just cut her finger off.”  I was sure my mom was freaking out, but he told me she was on her way over.  I put my head down on my other hand, feeling light-headed or like I was going to throw up, not sure which.  Next I told Ed to fill a plastic bag with ice and get me a paper towel, but I kept my thumb under the water.

I realized that I was going to have to go somewhere, maybe the emergency room, but hopefully to one of my dad’s plastic surgeon friends, where I knew there would be no wait.  The problem (besides the bleeding finger) was that I was wearing my rattiest mesh shorts.  I ordered Ed up to my closet to get me a pair of pants, yelling all the while that he could get the blue or black stretchy ones.  When he came back downstairs, I was shocked that he actually got the right ones.  He helped me change, keeping my finger under the running water, and then helped me wrap my finger in paper towels and put it in the bag of ice.

Strangely, my finger didn’t hurt.  It was numb.  About that time, my mom arrived and started driving us to the office of Dr. Price, who my dad built a house for a few years ago.  They’re friends and my dad called him to ask if he could take care of my finger.  I was so thankful that he’d take time away from his three-day weekend on a Saturday, and also happy that I’d get stitches from an experienced plastic surgeon and not some ER trainee.  In the car, I worried that I’d have to get stitches without any pain killers, since I’m pregnant.  I also worried that I wouldn’t be able to type, but since it’s my left thumb, I realized that wouldn’t be a problem.

When we got to Dr. Price’s office, I felt bad to pull him away from his family on a Saturday night.  My first question was about pain killers, and he said I needed to stay away from them, but that if I did need stitches he’d give me a local anesthetic.  He examined my thumb and told me that since my nail was still attached, it would act as a splint for the skin to graft back onto my thumb.  I was also thrilled to hear that I didn’t need stitches, but instead he used some special tape to hold my finger together.  He wrapped my finger in gauze and told me to keep it dry and elevated.  I asked if I could do dishes, and he replied “No.  In fact, you can’t do housework ever again.”  I’m going to take that seriously.  It took about 15 minutes total, and I was so happy to be back in the car and on the way home.

My brothers brought pizza over, which was really nice.  Ed cleaned up the beginnings of my tomato soup, and I was surprised to see there was no blood on the cutting board or knife.  Nate had cut his finger while sharpening a mower blade a few months ago, and told me it would only hurt for a few days.  At that point, it was pretty numb and didn’t hurt at all, even though I had nothing for pain.  I figured I was in shock or something.

Later on that night, my thumb started to throb and I burst into tears.  I felt so guilty making such a big deal of it, and tried to look at the big picture.  A friend of our family was in a boating accident and is in the hospital, in a coma, in bad shape.  Compared to that, I felt like a big baby. 

I slept well, and didn’t roll over on my thumb at all.  Ed cleaned up the kitchen from last night’s pizza party, and he also cooked breakfast for me.  I have to say, I feel spoiled.

I hope to make that tomato soup today.


Filed under Food, Home

12 responses to “Knife Skills Needed

  1. Good luck, Abbie! That hurts. I’ve cut my thumb like 15 times this week since getting my knives sharpened the week before but nowhere near that bad. Hang in there.

  2. Yikes! I came close to cutting part of my pinkie off with scissors a few months ago. Didn’t need stitches, but it bled a lot and I felt like I was going to throw up, so I know just what you mean. The nausea was far worse than the pain ever was. I hope you heal quickly…

  3. Rob

    Hey- it’s your finger- nobody wants to be missing digits. Good thing your dad stays friends with customers he builds houses for… Hope it feels better today.

  4. Oh my gosh!! I’m so glad you’re okay. It is nice to be spoiled sometimes, glad to hear Ed it taking good care of you.

  5. I highly recommend a product called “liquid bandage” for this type of situation. After the cold running water, apply your favorite antiseptic, pat dry as best you can and have Ed apply the liquid bandage along the cut. It works as good as stitches, IMO. It’s like crazy glue for skin.

    Hope you feel better enough to make the soup, but not good enough to do dishes or housework. 🙂

    • Yes, I’ve seen liquid bandage. My husband suggested electrical tape, which is what he would have used. With the baby on the way, I was worried most about infection. Otherwise, I might have taken his advice.

  6. Ahhhh! What an experience. I can’t believe you cared about what shorts you were wearing! Haha, but I am glad it is healing now.

  7. I’m so sorry! I am not good with knives, and I have cut myself many times, but not that bad. It’s something I live in fear of, though, because I know that it could happen easily.

    I hope that you’re back to normal in no time.

  8. Tia

    My (then) 2 year old daughter did the same thing with my quilting scissors (super sharp). The little stinker climbed up a 6 ft. bookcase to explore & found them up on top. It was a comedy of errors, me trying to keep pressure on her hand, carrying her & her 4 year old brother down 2 flights of stairs to the car, keeping the hand elevated while driving a stick shift to the E.R. I can look back now & laugh. 🙂 She didn’t need stitches either but let me tell you, trying to keep a bandage on the hand of a 2 year old is just not fun!

    I’m glad you & baby are both ok.

  9. Ugh. I cut the end of my thumb nearly clean off two winters ago when I was making elk stew. I DID have to have stitches–two of which had to go through my thumbnail. There were 15 total. What a mess! Fortunately, I wasn’t pregnant, but they only did local anesthetic, and then gave me pain pills that make me puke, so I was kind of on my own. It did throb HORRIBLY, but I used my homemade plantain/yarrow/calendula salve on it and it really, really helped.

    To my credit, though, I went home from the ER and finished making my elk stew at 11:00 that night (after washing the blood out of the onions…).

    Feel better soon!

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