To her credit, not that she needs more credit in my book, my supermodel wife didn't swear. Didn't cuss, didn't really scream like I would have if it were me standing there with my hand under the faucet watching blood spew from my fingers.
If it were me, you can bet that the sonsobitches, F-bombs, and even the nuclear MF-bombs would be going off all over the kitchen in my mom's house where we were visiting.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me reset the scene with some background.
We're all settling down for a traditional Christmas Eve lunch of Tuscan Potato Soup. I'm at the kitchen island preparing a plate for our 5-year-old daughter, and my SMW is across from me slicing some fancy cheese to go on some fancy crackers.
And because it was fancy cheese for fancy crackers, my dad gave her a fancy surgical steel cheese knife to cut it with. It was the kind with the blade through the middle that you're supposed to run over the edge of the cheese to cut a slice.
Like this one...
Anyhoo, SMW makes a witty remark about how the device looks like a deadly weapon, then proceeds to assume the cheese-slicing position.
Unfortunately, the cheese is a little hard. I think it had been in the fridge and wasn't quite thawed. So she adjusted her grip on the cheese slicer and put added effort into pulling it toward her. Suddenly, with a quick slip like an assassin's blade, the razor edge of the cheese slicer slid through the cheese... but it didn't stop with the cheese.
In a split second, the vorpal blade went snicker-snack, right down the length of fancy Cheddar and into and through the soft pad of the tip of my supermodel wife's thumb.
As the exclamations rang out, "OH MY GOD! Omigod, Ohmigod! OH MY GOD!" a slice of thumb, just the right size to top a Wheat Thin, landed on the counter top.
Out of some deep evolutionary impulse, she rushed to the sink to put the wound under running water. It was there that I caught my first clear view of the cleanly cut thumb, or rather the cleanly cut crater where the thumb used to be.
We all snapped into action. A paper towel was used at first to try to stop the bleeding while my sister-in-law brought the gauze and bandages from the first aid kit. My mother found the severed chunk of thumb and put it in a small container with some ice.
They call the emergency room as my wife and I head to the car. We turn the 20-minute drive to the ER into a 15-minute one, and soon we're rehashing the incident with physician's assistant, showing her the bite-sized bit of thumb we brought with us.
"I have some bad news," the PA said. "We're going to take off the dressing and bathe your thumb in betadine. It will hurt worse than anything you've felt so far. Then we'll have to redress it. We can't sew on the rest of your thumb, since it's already dead."
With that, the PA made good on her promise. Blood began to gush as the dressing was removed. When the thumb was dipped into the betadine bath (to the stifled cries of SMW) , a river of dark red blood began to mix with the pool of light brown liquid. The amount of blood prompted the PA to revise her prognosis.
"Okay, this is worse than I thought. I'm going to get my doctor in here to look at it, but I think we're going to have to cauterize the wound."
The doctor arrived shortly and concurred.
"It looks like you've cut deep enough to slice the small artery and also part of the nerve that runs through your thumb. That's why there's so much blood and so much pain," he said.
A blood-pressure cuff was used to help stop the bleeding while anesthetic was injected around the base of the thumb. Then the doctor performed the silver-nitrate chemical cauterization, turning the wound black and making it look even worse.
And, just because I know your aching to see it, here's what the thumb looked like after about four days.
Doctors have told her that the thumb will grow back over the next six to eight weeks, but it will remain tender long after that.
So how was your Christmas?
tagged: Christmas Eve, thumb, cheese slicer, blood, bloody, cauterize, silver nitrate