Turning a Negative Into a Positive — A Visit to the Emergency Room

I guess we all do stupid things.  Fortunately, it’s been awhile for me.  In fact, this episode happened several years ago.  I wrote about it then to convince myself I was turning a negative into a positive.  At least about as positive as an emergency-room visit can get.  And I’ll repeat it here in the hope that someone can benefit from my mistake.

The easiest explanation is during dinner preparation, I didn’t know where the head of cabbage ended and my thumb began.  But I do now!

It was immediately clear that this was no ordinary cut.  I drove myself to the Emergency Room and checked in, keeping the blood flow in check by pressing the severed tip to the top of my thumb.  The ER waiting room was half full, and I sat down as they prepared a treatment room for me while I stewed in my own thoughts, shooting a curt “Don’t ask” look to the woman in the adjacent seat.  Of course she did anyway, and I was soon entertained by a motherly “guess-what-my-son-did-with-a-knife-when-he-was-ten-years-old” story until they called me.

The tip was too small and too far gone to be attached, but I had nicked an artery, so they had work to do.  After two hours and a tetanus shot, I was bandaged up with a hole in the tip of my thumb and instructions to make a follow-up appointment.

There is some pain of course, but I don’t feel too badly about this whole event.  It was a simple accident, a slip of the knife, certainly not the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

That would have been the Miracle-Slicer.  About two decades earlier (but the experience is still very fresh in my mind), I had received this plastic slicing gizmo as a gift from someone (that part has been blocked out of memory to preserve a friendship).  I’m not sure where they’d found it; it looked like one of those can’t-miss TV offers.  Anyway, it was a flat plastic board with a guillotine-shaped cutting blade at the bottom.  It was supposed to be great for slicing vegetables.  It did work very well for flat, wide vegetables, coming with a combination hand guard/handle to lay on top of the victimized food.  But for some reason I decided to try it with a cucumber.  This cucumber was too tall and unwieldy to use the guard, so I told myself to be careful, positioning my fingers at the very top, and began slicing away. And it was working as advertised…even as in the TV ads.

Suddenly I was aware of two sensations: a sharp pain and a rapidly growing red stain on the cucumber slices.  I had forgotten about my pinkie, which I had left dangling about halfway down.  The Miracle-Slicer had done a very efficient job of taking a half-inch-long slice out of that wayward digit in addition to the cucumber.

Several hours and seven stitches later I was back home, my pinkie restored to one piece and the Miracle-Slicer in the trash.  Stupid?  Definitely!  Fortunately I only do something like this about once every two decades.  And  for the record, I no longer accept gifts that have been advertised on TV.

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