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Week in Review: The Not-for-the-Squeamish Edition

But seriously, if you’re squeamish, don’t keep reading.

On Wednesday night, I got home from campus determined to grade all of the papers…but first, I had no supper. Nothing to snag for leftovers or cook up quickly. I did, however, have all the ingredients I needed in my pantry to make an experimental version of low-FODMAP chicken pot pies, a recipe I’ve been meaning to try on the blog for a while now.

I don’t have a pastry blender, as I would ordinarily use to make pie, so I decide to make the pie crust by pulsing the butter and flour together with my immersion blender.

Perhaps you know now where this is going.

The thing is, with an immersion blender, if you have something sticky and thick like, say, banana ice cream or cold butter, all that junk gets trapped around the blade, and you have to reach in and scrape it out…which you should do with a spoon or knife or spatula…

Now I think you know where this is going.

I blenderized my finger.

There was so much blood! My first reaction was to stick my hand under running water, which I did, but the water from the tap was accumulating in a little pot that had been left in the sink, and the water was bright red. “This isn’t stopping the bleeding,” I thought, which was a surprisingly coherent thought, given that most of my brain was sort of screaming incoherently: “aaaaaaaaagggghhhh!”

The paper towel roll on the counter was out, so I went looking for paper towels in the laundry room and ripped out a new roll, leaving drops of blood all over the kitchen and laundry room floor. I then contemplated driving myself to Urgent Care, concluded that I couldn’t do it, and instead, called my neighbor. She didn’t pick up, and then I really started to panic. “Help!” I started yelling to no one in particular. “I don’t know what to do! Help!”

At which point, I heard a voice coming from my phone. “Joyce? Joyce, are you there? Are you okay?”

It was my friend Dana. Somehow, when I hung up on my neighbor, I had accidentally dialed my friend and colleague from the creative nonfiction program. And yes, she said, she could come right away and take me to Urgent Care.

When I hung up, my hand was not only still bleeding, but the paper towels I had grabbed were totally soaked in blood. I had my second surprisingly coherent thought–“Raise the injured area.” Yes, that’s right–that’s what my first aid training had taught me–if you raise the injury above the heart, it reduces the flow of blood to the site. So that’s what I did; I spent the twenty minutes until Dana arrived walking around my apartment, crying loudly, finding my insurance papers, and holding my hand up in the air like a third grade teacher’s pet. And amazingly, it worked. By the time we got to Urgent Care, the bleeding had almost entirely ceased.

The diagnosis? “Laceration and open fracture.” Which means that damn blender blade went through my bone.

And if that doesn’t eek you out, the cut goes almost all the way–a good 270 degrees–around my finger. Eek!

No, my finger isn’t hanging on by a thread. I think the blade more went around the finger and nicked my bone on the way…but still.

I came home with five stitches, an antibiotic, a narcotic pain killer, lots of gauze and bandages and antibiotic ointment, and a bag of gummy bears. Dana was really kind that night: she took me to the 24-hour pharmacy, to Walgreens, and to Tokyo Joe’s to get myself a Boulder Bowl for supper. Her kindness was amazing–I’m so glad I called her by accident!

The rest of the week since has been mostly uphill. That night was tough; I could hardly get to sleep from the adrenaline and pain. But the next day the narcotic pain meds had started to kick in. I took a couple of days off from grading and had to tell my students that their papers would be late; I didn’t get them back until Sunday. But since then, I’ve been able to get to the point that I don’t have to take any pain meds except a half dose of ibuprofen a couple of times a day to help the swelling, which I think is pretty good for four days.

I’ve also had many phone calls with my mother and my sweetheart, who both skipped the part about reminding me that I was a complete idiot to get myself into such a predicament and went straight to the worrying-about-me bit, which is kind. (My pride is pretty damaged, too…maybe not as much as the finger, but still…no need to rub it in.) Mom even sent me a bouquet!And in other news (since this is a Week in Review, and what would a Week in Review be without a list?):

  • It’s been cold–really cold!–in Ft. Collins, and we even got a good dose of snow on Tuesday night. I got a quick shot of the university humanities building in the snow for the English department Instagram, which is part of my internship responsibilities.Because it’s been so cold, I’ve been taking advantage of the opportunity to wear lots of stripey knee socks. I asked Santa to bring me more!
  • My creative writing program is doing “secret buddies” for the end of the semester and holiday season. I got some teas in a cute coin purse, a pen, and a journal; my buddy got some dark chocolate, an inspiration magnet, and a box of dirty chai.
  • I posted a new recipe for low-FODMAP ham and broccoli twice-baked potatoes to the blog on Wednesday, including a rant about people who think that potatoes aren’t “nutritious.”
  • Plus, I posted something a little different for me: a list of holiday songs for folk music fans!
  • I finished grading my students’ project 3, the major course project, which is accomplishment. Those things take me about 45 minutes a pop on average (some as much as an hour), and I’ve got 35 students. Forgive me if I’m not secretly a tiny bit glad that a couple of them never turned their papers in.
  • Oh, and I guess I also finished my major course project for my literary translation class and turned it in, plus presented it to the class on Wednesday. Almost forgot about that in the craziness that has been this week.
  • Plus, you know…the usual. Taught my usual three lessons, went to spin class (just one this week, because of the injury), went to workshop, did laundry, made food, went to the grocery store, and all that jazz.

Here’s hoping that all my lovely readers have a good week…and stay injury-free!

Have you ever gotten yourself injured doing something you should have known better?

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  1. Diane Wahto says:

    Joyce–I almost cried when I read this. Thank Dana for me. I’m impressed that you worked through the pain to get everything completed by the end of the semeester.

    I worked in the Drury College Library when I was a freshman. One day I was using the paper cutter and I cut my left thumb, not as badly as you cut your finger, but it bled a lot. I walked from the workroom to the librarian’s office. She was upset that I trailed blood across the floor. I was married to you grandfather Curt by then and he took me to the emergency room where I got stitches. I still have a scar. My thumb was bandaged, so I thought he would do the dishes for me. He bought me a long-handled brush instead. Oh, well. πŸ™‚

    See you soon. Love you.

    1. Joyce says:

      Not impressive, Grandpa!

  2. Oh no! I feel so bad because I know how frustrating this probably is. I have done a few things that have caused an ER trip that I just wasn’t thinking about. And yes blades are crazy, my brother in law did almost the same thing but while putting the dishes away managed to accidentally lose control of the ninja blade and sliced his finger pretty good around xmas time. So you’re definitely not the only one. Hoping it heals soon!

    1. Joyce says:

      Man, yeah. Those blender blades are powerful! Hope that your brother was able to heal up okay and that it wasn’t too terribly bad.

  3. I have no idea how you accomplished anything last week in light of your injury. Stupid chicken pot pie. I blame the food gods. Also I’m so sorry about your finger. I can’t believe you went all the way into the bone. OUCH! That must have hurt like a son of an itch. Did you throw out the immersion blender?

    Also I adore potatoes and I’m so glad you stuck up for them. They get an undeserved bad rap.

    1. Joyce says:

      Lol. No, it’s my roommate’s blender, plus it’s a nice blender, so even if it were mine, I wouldn’t toss it. But I don’t feel particularly motivated to use it any time soon. πŸ˜›
      I’m glad you’re a fellow potato advocate!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Joyce, I’ve been reading for a while because your content is so helpful as I worked to treat my body to support the work my mind does (because, ya know, that is how I will change the world, rather than with my pant size)…but I’m finally commenting because I did the exact. same. thing to my finger three weeks ago! (Thanksgiving pie.) I don’t know if you’ve lost feeling the way I have, but my tips are thus: buy some huge mittens because without that skin the cold hurts your finger extra badly and clean it extra well now because sensation returns as healing happens. Oh and use the immersion blender again so you don’t get too scared of it! Can’t believe I’m not the only person to do this!

    1. Joyce says:

      Oh no way! I hope your fingers are healing up okay. You lost feeling in your fingers? I guess I’m fortunate that mine wasn’t that bad–that sounds super-scary. Also, thank you for the tips. I totally know what you mean about cold hurting the hands. I know the feeling because I’m a nail biter, and the injury makes it all the worse!
      Also also, thank you for reaching out. I love the way you put that: changing the world > changing pant sizes πŸ™‚

  5. Oh no I’m so sorry! Dont feel bad–we all do stupid things! I was once using a toaster oven and had my food on the removable pan inside the toaster oven….I cooked the food in a 475 degree toaster oven and then grabbed it out WITH MY HAND! Why didnt I grab my oven mitts? Your guess is as good as mine!
    Hope the meds help! πŸ™‚

    1. Joyce says:

      Youch! I bet that took a ton of ice. Thanks for your encouraging words–it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

  6. Cora says:

    Oh my goooddddddd Joyce!! I’m not squeamish thankfully but MAN… this is…. awful! The fact your phone “accidentally” called your friend is one of those weeeeeirrrddd life moments where obviously something was taking care of you… thank god it did! Ouuuchhhhhhhh.
    I’m sure it made using your hand pretty painful/frustrating through the week and yet you still managed to be a bombshell with getting things done. Huge congrats on finishing your class project! And I love the socks. Keep those coming.

    1. Joyce says:

      Thank you, Cora. And yes–I’m very thankful that I somehow accidentally dialed Dana’s number. Thank goodness! Also, thanks on the socks! I like ’em too.

  7. Quill says:

    Ouch! Glad to hear you’re doing okay though, able to at least some degree move on with life. And it sounds like you’ll have a full recovery, aside maybe from a scar – could have been far worse, sounds like you almost became an amputee. On that note, will you be able to make it to Swing Dance this week despite this injury?
    I’ve had a few idiotic moments like this. One time I almost cut off my thumb cutting ham, fortunately the knife glanced off my thumbnail – glad to see it’s good for something! Most of my idiotic moments come from working on my car or bicycles, as could be expected. Once I was lying on the floor gluing something under the car together (possibly valve covers), I’d not thought to tie my hair back and glued it to the floor. Both painful and humiliating that was, but sort of funny in retrospect. The worst is when I do the same idiotic thing multiple times. Not wearing safety glasses while using brake cleaner, and splashing it into the same eye on two occasions – that stuff really burns! Or touching a bicycle or car disc brake rotor to see if it’s hot – the answer is always very much yes, but something about brake rotors, possibly the conductivity, makes me not realize this for a skin-searing second or so. Done that numerous times. Thinking of all this makes me feel like a total idiot. Things like this are the reason for “Mechanic Mouth.”
    An interesting thought I had is that I always try to avoid doing any “dangerous” work unless someone else is around, to check on me or hear my calls for help if something happened. Of course it’s rarely “dangerous” work that gets us hurt, it’s routine, mundane things like cooking, things we aren’t particularly cautious of because we don’t perceive them as dangerous.
    Also, I made your baked potato recipe for me and my roommate – excellent!

    1. Joyce says:

      Hey, I’m glad you tried my baked potatoes. Yeah, I’ll be at swing dance tomorrow. Be careful fixing those bikes, man! I totally know what you mean about touching something hot and not realizing it’s hot for a second. Yikes!

  8. Kate says:

    Yikes that sounds SO painful!! Though I did laugh when you said you started calling out for help to no one, totally something I’d do. Your friend is a real winner!
    Last year I dropped a 40 lb weight on my toe. Ouch!

    1. Joyce says:

      Oh my goodness. Were you at the gym? Yikes! I always get nervous when people do those really heavy weights.

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