This Tiny Spark

Finger Tips

on February 24, 2012

I wanted a mandoline for years. Not the instrument, but the kitchen tool. I was excited about slicing vegetables so thin and even, and I dreamed of perfectly uniform yam fries. I put off getting a mandoline for so long because they are really pricy and it was hard to justify dropping $100 just so I could be satisfied that my onions were evenly diced. Then last month we found one on sale for $10 and snatched it up.

I realized when we brought the mandoline home that I was a little afraid of it. It was so sharp and so fast and it seemed complicated. Simon was the only one to use it for quite some time. When I asked him to show me how it works, I used it to slice veggies for Hot & Spicy Braised Peanut Chicken and it was awesome! Slice after slice fell magically beneath the blade as the vegetable quickly disappeared in my hand. And dinner was delicious.

It was so delicious that I decided to make the same meal again this week. I chopped the onion by hand and then got out the mandoline for the carrots. I couldn’t get the hand-guard of the mandoline to hold the carrot securely, so I grabbed the carrot and started sliding it across the mandoline. Carrot and my hand sliding toward the blade. And back. And forward. I adjusted my grip on the ever-shortening carrot and slid again. I knew instantly that something was wrong because of the sound. It wasn’t a smooth “shick” of slicing carrot but something… meatier.

If you’ve ever looked at a just-mangled part of your body, you probably understand how I felt in the next few seconds. First, confusion: “why is my finger all red?” Then, fear: “my finger is GONE!” and finally: “What the hell did my first aid class say to do in this situation?!” (I didn’t actually remember what my first aid class had said to do until hours later, when the adrenaline was gone)

The next few minutes were a whirlwind of activity as Simon tried to find our first aid kit (no luck), our babysitting charge was picked up by her dad (who was thankfully nearby), and we got Maya into the car to drive to the ER.

Maya went to play with our friends who live near the hospital while Simon and I waited for the doctor for a couple hours. The worst part was the freezing needles in my hand, but they bandaged me up and sent me on my way.

I wore this huge bandage on my hand for a few days. The fingertip is pretty gory, but not too painful. What’s bothering me most is my knuckle. My finger is swollen and the knuckle had 3 days of being held straight… so now it’s super angry at me if I try to bend it. Oh and it’s hard to change Maya’s diaper because she swings her legs around and keeps bopping the end of my finger. Ow.

Lesson learned: Use the damn hand-guard. Seriously.



3 Responses to “Finger Tips”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Mine was left in a curled position the whole time the stitches were in. When my dr took the stitches out and saw how curled it was, he warned me that I might not be able to straighten it again. But it was still *way* too sore to put in a normal splint. Forcing it straight was needed for a few weeks before I could do it on my own with ease, but I was able to! Actually after just stretching it with my other hand for a day I was able to straighten it but it took soooo much work and it still kept going into a curled position. I found a metal padded splint I could shape to be huge at the tip where the bandages still were and it was so sore and could work at least with the first knuckle.

    I also got a little ball I could squeeze, I got it from a place that sells home health care stuff but you could probbaly use something cheaper. Mine hurt too much to do much with it, but I knew I needed to get used to touching things with the end (this was after I’d straighten it). I still don’t like touching things with the tip and never use that finger when I type, partially I think because I just got so used to not using it when it healed.

    Look online for some finger exercises too. Just work at getting it moving but be careful if it still hurts.

  2. Melissa says:

    Oh, ouch, ouch, ouch. Loved reading the story, but ouch. I used to have a mandolin. It IS scary. I was actually more scared while cleaning it than cutting with it. I sold it and went back to plain old fashioned knives. Which I am now terrified I will drop on Addy somehow. You would laugh if you saw how carefully I grip them when I go from one counter to the other. Hope your finger heals up quickly!

  3. Jocelyn says:

    How is your finger healing? How much of it did you cut off? Eeww. Parenting with an injured hand sucks… I sliced my pinky when Aine was a toddler.

    Freezing needles are the worst!

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