There’s a reason why mandolins come with safety guards (I speak of the food slicers, not the instruments; although, if played poorly, I suppose the instrument should have one as well). It’s to keep idiot people from injuring themselves, and thereby keeping additional and unwanted flavor, texture, and color from being added to the foods.

And I, my dear readers, am just one of those idiot people! It’s also the reason why I didn’t have anything posted last week.

While getting dinner prepped for Hubby (measuring out all the required ingredients into little glass bowls so he can pretend he’s on a cooking show), I came to the part where I needed to slice a small onion. And since I love the uniformity and speed of the mandolin, I pulled it out of the drawer, cut the onion in half and started slicing away on the nifty little device. Because slicing isn’t always easy in the beginning with the safety guard, I started it without.

Back and forth, back and forth, the slices were coming along smoothly and quickly. And just at the point where I thought to myself, “Gee, the onion is slicing down pretty far, perhaps I should stop and attach the safety gua…”

(Now, let me digress here a bit… before any of you get all squirmy or faint or get the heebie-jeebies at the mere thought of what happened, relax! I’m not going to go into gross detail.)

And that’s right when it happened. I felt that all-too familiar slight tug on my finger tip, and everything shifted into slow motion. Bringing my hand up to examine the damage (what I was hoping was only the edge of a finger nail), my heart sank when I saw that it wasn’t anywhere near the nail, but the tip of the finger tip, itself.

Then life shifted into high gear (way too much shifting for me, if you ask) as I ran to the sink to rinse it, grab a wad of paper towels to stop the bleeding (to no avail), running to the upstairs bathroom to look for gauze (all the while keeping the finger wrapped with a paper towel and pressing on the wound with my thumb, elevated above my head), texting Hubby with one hand, dashing back downstairs, herding the doglettes into their kennels and trying to get my coat and scarf on with one hand, and running out the door to the car to pick up Hubby from the train station. Driving one-handed (with the other hand held high), I finally made it to the train station and let Hubby drive from there to the MedExpress nearby.

(Here’s another digression – these hospitals in the Wilmington area are to be avoided at all cost, unless you have a doctor you know and trust associated with one of them. The other year I had incredible foot pain – couldn’t even walk on it – and had Hubby take me to the Emergency Room at the hospital. They looked at it, x-rayed it, and came back to tell me that I had gout – without taking a blood test, or even talking to me about my diet or anything else; just: Gout! Two weeks later I went to a specialist in Philadelphia who took one x-ray and immediately saw the stress fracture I’d been walking on for 2 weeks…)

Thankfully the MedExpress was empty. I’m guessing all the smart people successfully made their dinners without injury, or were waiting until after they’d finished eating. So I was quicky taken back and shortly after seen by the doctor. He took one look at it (still bleeding) then looked at me:

Doctor: I’m going to have to stop the bleeding and there’s nothing there to suiture, so we’re going to have to use silver-nitrate before we plug it and bandage it up.

Curious Bloke: Okaaaaaaay.

Doctor: (Looking me straight in the eye) How are you with pain?

Curious Bloke: (Feeling macho) I’m fine with pain; I think I handle it pretty well.

Doctor: Okay, because this is going to sting quite a bit. If you think you won’t be able to handle the pain, we can always numb the finger first with two injections behing the knuckle; but you realize that will hurt as well…

Curious Bloke: (Continuing to feel macho) Oh, let’s give it a try without numbing it.

[Blood-curdling scream of a 13-year-old girl]

Curious Bloke: (Eyes bulging out, hanging from ceiling) NUMB IT!! NUMB IT!!! NUMB IT!!!!!

All in all, however, we were in and out of that place in less than 45 minutes – and without either of us passing out (the doctor did check with Hubby a couple of times: “You gonna be alright there?”). As we were rushing to get into the house, Hubby behind me, I walked inside to the sound with Hubby yelling from the yard, “What did you step in? Look out! You’re dragging it into the house!”

We found out at that point that instead of dragging something into the house, I had stepped in a pile left by one of the doglettes on my way out (and in my haste to stop the bleeding, put them in their kennels, and get out of the house with one hand, I’d never even realized it).

So just remember: there is a lesson in all this. And that lesson is this:


Well, that and, if you’re going to use a mandolin, be smart and remember to use the safety guard like you’re supposed to.