August 6, 2010

I started writing today about hummus. I detailed the process, took pretty little pictures of my ingredients, and thought up little witty quips and phrases I could insert at strategic points to garner laughs. But once I sat down and began writing, a sinking notion settled over me that I had written about that before. And I was right.

And at the risk of being too fond of a good thing, I am changing directions. I love hummus, make it all the time, and eat commercial quantities throughout the summer, but I don’t want to purposely subject you, more than necessary, to my inexplicable obsessions.

Instead, I will tell you a quick story.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a small cottage in the woods…

No, that’s not how it really goes. It just seemed an appropriate way to start story time. But it was also false. Ok, back on track. I will try to stick to the facts from here on out.

Last spring, on a rainy afternoon, I invited my sister, Ruthie, over after a long day of school. I agreed to make her a free dinner, and she agreed to keep me company in my very quiet house.

We ran to the store to pick up a few ingredients, and then zipped on home where we began to make dinner. I think it was a pumpkin and lentil salad.

I had found the recipe while digging through Epicurious archives, and wonder of wonders, had a pumpkin left over from the fall which was ready for it’s close up. I began to mise en place the ingredients (you know, dice the onion, cook the lentils, pull the spices out of the cabinet), when I realized, I should probably get the pumpkin cooking if I wanted dinner to be ready any time soon.  I pulled my longest and sharpest knife out of the knife block and hacked right into the pumpkin right on the formica counter top. I was about half way into the beast when I realized that the counter top was not the best location, and decided to relocate to the cutting board on the work space behind me.

The Culprit

Oh the decisions we would reconsider if we only knew the consequence.

As I spun around to the other counter, pumpkin-with-knife-lodged-in-it in hand, a horrible thing happened. I grabbed the large pumpkin with both hands, relinquishing my grasp on my knife–it was, after all, lodged in the pumpkin. And my longest and sharpest knife was flipped by the wait of it’s very heavy handle out of the pumpkin and onto the floor. BUT, not before the tip of the knife caught the inside of my palm, just below my pinky and ring finger.

The gash was massive. I squeezed the area as tightly as I could with my other hand, hoping I could keep the blood flow at a minimum. I couldn’t bring myself to let go of my hand, even when my sister (thank God she was there) begged to see it. We both began to panic. I was feeling woozy and weak-kneed. At Ruth’s continual insistance, I finally let her have a quick peak at the wound. Then she was woozy and weak-kneed too. I knew I was going to die. I was going to bleed out right there on my own kitchen floor. Don’t bother calling the ambulance or the EMT’s, there won’t be a need. Just call the morgue and order the hearse.

Ruth, not quite ready to lose her little sister, did the only thing she could think to do: she called mom.

Mom was not panicked. No, she was an utter sea of calm. (Maybe even too calm.) Her answers came a little too slowly for our panicked selves. But the first bit of advice out of her mouth was sage: don’t go to the emergency room, go to a walk in clinic. The rest of her words fell on deaf ears. In fact, they fell on no ears at all. In our panicking state, we hung up on our own mother. I know, there is no excuse for such action, but I promised at the beginning to stick to the facts, and these are the hard facts (along with dramatic embellishment).

We jumped into the car and beat it to the only 24 hour clinic we knew. Once in the car and on the road, we both began to calm down considerably. (Truthfully, the story grows a bit anti-climactic from here.) As the initial adrenaline subsided and my dramatic tendencies mellowed, I realized I may in fact survive this ordeal, and possibly with my hand still attached! Indeed, I was growing increasingly upbeat.

We made it to the clinic with out any trouble, and nearly as soon as we checked into the clinic, we were ushered back to an examination room.

Aaron, who we had called on our drive to the clinic, showed up shortly there after. We all waited patiently together in the small room. I had forgotten that Aaron was worse with blood than I was. He sat very still in his chair, his face a paler sheet of white than mine had been.

The doctor entered before long. I reluctantly released my death grip on my hand so she could assess the situation. It was decided I needed stitches.

Ruth, by now, was entirely her old self, and was entirely too curious about the whole process. She inquired about the anesthesia, the needle used for stitching, weather or not the stitches would simply disintegrate…She talked at the  doctor so much that the doctor screwed up the stitches. Twice.

The doctor didn’t seem to mind.

Aaron, however, who was growing paler by the second, minded. When he could no longer take it, he interrupted her stream-of-conscience questions, politely asking her to leave the doctor alone until she had finished stitching my hand.

*Please excuse the blurry image.

With the room silent, the doctor finished in a flash, and sent us on our way.

Once back home, Ruth decided she was tired and should head out, and Aaron, still traumatized, sat quietly on the couch.  I, feeling an absurd second wind coming on, decided to show that pumpkin who was boss and finish preparing dinner.

The End.


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