Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't Use A Bigger Tool Than You Need

Have you noticed that today's post came out much later than a normal Friday post? Yeah... me, too. Wanna know why?

Basically, I'm a moron. And I'm ok with admitting that.

I was making some guacamole for lunch today (see, I told you I've been making it a lot), and for whatever reason, I was using a chef's knife. To remove the pit from the avocado, you ram the knife into the pit and twist. The pit pops out clean, and ta-da, you're done.

But if you use a chef's knife, it's really sharp. And it goes deeply enough into the pit and is still sharp enough that when you twist, frequently you just tear off part of the pit instead of popping it out. I know this from experience -- previous experience even.

Today though, I stuck the knife into the pit and twisted. It broke off the pit. Twice. The third time, I was talking to the wee ones explaining how to make guacamole when I slammed the knife into the pit for the third time. And "into" the pit might be a bit of a misnomer. I sorta sliced off a portion of the pit. And the knife kept going. Right into my thumb.

Regrettably, I don't have a picture of the injury. I wasn't thinking quite that clearly (and I hear that huge sigh of relief, people!).

I did, however, have the presence of mind to put down the knife, poke at the wound to see if it would bleed and then make a beeline for the kitchen sink and blood welled up in and around the wound. The drip, drip, drip of the blood into the sink convinced me that it wasn't a good idea to go upstairs on the light beige carpet myself in search of a Band-Aid, so I sent Mister Man instead.

My good helper! At first he couldn't find a Band-Aid, but he persevered. He was such a helper, that he insisted that he open the Band-Aid for me. Except that he doesn't know how to open it from the top, so he tried to open it by tearing little holes in the sides. As he was walking down the stairs. Slowly walking down the stairs.

Fortunately, I put the Band-Aid on and the bleeding stopped. I then finished the guacamole and ate it, put the wee ones to bed and went to a playdate. My thumb hurt some, but what do you expect?

At the playdate, I bumped my thumb on a car and blood started pouring out from under the Band-Aid. I replaced it and we went home. Where I then started googling "when to get stitches."

I headed to the ER. Because, you know, I haven't been there often enough lately.

Shockingly, in the four below zero weather, the ER was pretty quiet. I was seen almost immediately. And they agreed that I needed stitches.

Bummer! I haven't had stitches since I was two years old and sliced open my finger scraping tomato paste out of a can with my finger (don't ask). But I'm game. I have no fear of blood or needles, so sewing my hand should be easy!

The irrigation part confirmed my confidence level. It hurt just a little bit, but no biggie.

Then the doctor came in. He had a large needle. Apparently they needed to numb the area. I looked at my hand and tried to figure out where they were going to inject it. All my theories were dashed when he started injecting it right at my knuckle. I watched as a whole lotta numbing stuff started to make my thumb swell out unnaturally to where it looked like a second thumb was growing. Then he moved it to another spot and kept injecting. I had to look at away, as that was just creeping me out.

Then he used his little fishhook to start sewing me up. OUCH! As I started squirming, the doctor asked if I could still feel it. Ummm yeah! He reassured me that he'd hold off and we'd finish up in a few minutes when the numbing agent set in.

Then he proceeded to finish pushing his fishhook through my skin. He pulled the thread through. Then the started tying knots. Ow! Ouch! OWWWWW! When he finished that suture, he walked out until the numbing agent took effect.

When he came back,he poked me with the needle a few time before starting. Good to go! We got the last two sutures in with no issues, and I was ready to go home.

Except now I need to go to the doctor on Monday. Bummer. And I can't get my hand wet until after my wound check. I can't wait to see how I figured that out.

So the next time you try to pit an avocado, use a smaller knife. A chef's knife really isn't necessary. I promise.


morninglight mama January 16, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

Okay, full disclosure-- I didn't actually read this whole post... I started to get queasy at the bleeding part it only increased by the doctor and the needle part...

But I wanted to say that I hope you're feeling better soon, and perhaps you can stick with knife-less recipes for a little while. :)

Cookie January 17, 2009 at 12:40 AM  

OUCH! So glad you went to the ER.
And that injection in the knuckle is gross!
Hope your hubby takes good care of you for a while!

Michelle January 17, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

morninglight mama - Oops, sorry. I should have put a queasy warning there, I suppose! And working one handed, I probably will be without a knife since I can't hold the food with my other hand!

Cookie - I'm *sure* you're not referring to my husband who left the house for a tournament this morning at 6 and will be back by ohhh 5:30 or 6:30 tonight, right?

Angela January 17, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

Owwww!!! I totally sympathize, because my last kitchen knife injury sent me to the ER, as well. Mine was years ago, as I have been VERY careful with sharp objects of any kind ever since. I laid a nice gash into my left ring finger (thank God I had taken off my engagement ring before I started cooking)! It needed 5 or 6 stitches (can't remember exactly) and I was out of the kitchen for a while, but at least I missed the nerve. Hope you're back on track soon!

Irene January 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

Yow! I have, luckily, never had stitches. Thank God, that would have FREAKED me out!!!!

Michelle January 17, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

Angela - Ouch! That sounds much worse than what happened to me. Knock on wood when I go for the "wound check" on Monday, everything is fine and dandy. It's hard NOT to use your thumb, so I've been ouching it a lot today :) But I'm not exactly allowed out of the kitchen... otherwise NO one would eat!

Michelle January 17, 2009 at 4:22 PM  

Irene - It's actually much less freaking out when it's done to you than when it's something involving your children. Not that I know from experience or anything....

Melisa with one S January 18, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

I've never had stitches either. I'm sorry you had to!

But um...can I suggest you get the avocado pit out with a spoon? That's what I do. ;)

anymommy January 18, 2009 at 6:54 PM  

Yikes. Hope it heals quickly. (I skimmed too, I get queasy reading stuff like this as well.)

Michelle January 18, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

Melisa - You *CAN* use a spoon, but then some of the fruit stays on the pit. The knife gets it all off cleanly. But would you believe that I bought four more avocados today? I'm a glutton for punishment ;)

anymommy - Oops, sorry! It actually feels much better today than it did yesterday. I still can't use my thumb much at all (and now I know why humans can do so much more than other animals -- that opposable thumb makes a huge difference!), but it's healing!

Melisa with one S January 18, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

Hmm. I always scrape off the pit with the edge of the spoon.


Okay, so this is the ONE difference that we have: other than this, we're practically twins. :)

Michelle January 18, 2009 at 11:20 PM  

Melisa - I've tried, but the spoon doesn't get enough of the fruit off for my OCD tendencies ;) The knife is faster and cleaner. Except when I whack myself with it instead. And I'm *SO* glad to hear we have something that will help tell us apart!

MaNiC MoMMy™ January 19, 2009 at 11:03 AM  


As soon as I started reading avocado ... I said out loud ... I DID THIS TOO! And I blogged about it too, but it was a long time ago, at least it seems like it was, and now I'm craving avocados:

But my slicing of the skin was not as severe as your injury! How many stitches?

Michelle January 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

Manic - I knew, of all people, you'd have a stomach strong enough to read if you visited ;) Ouch! But the feta sounds yummy with the avocado. Three stitches, so not horrible. I got myself on the outside of my thumb below the knuckle and pretty deep. I don't stab, I whack my avocado!

Outnumbered2to1 January 19, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

Oh snap (or is it oh slice!) First off, big fan of guacamole. I prefer a paring knife but I could see how the MUCH larger chef knife would be practical. Hope you hand heals quickly ;)

Michelle January 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

Tess - You're funny, aren't you? ;) It's healing ok, which is good... stitches out next week and no infection, yay! Next time, I'm using the "steak" knife from my regular silverware collection!

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