It’s almost Halloween, so how about a horror story? Morgan and I prepare a lot of food in the kitchen. We are really big into food and love trying new recipes. As we’ve gotten more and more into cooking, we’ve also bought more and more kitchen gadgets to make our jobs easier and expand what we can do. One of the gadgets we bought a few months ago was a mandoline slicer.
Mandolines are great tools for quickly slicing off perfectly even chunks of fruits or vegetables. You simply adjust the thickness of the slices on the slicer and then run the produce back and forth along the blade for your slices. It works perfectly and is very easy to do because of the extremely sharp blade on the slicer.
How sharp you ask? Sharp enough to slice off the tips of two of my fingers.
When we were making our zucchini lasagna, the recipe called for long, thin slices of zucchini to act as the noodles. We pulled out the mandoline and I went to work slicing. However, I didn’t use the safety guard that came with the slicer, which is a disk with a handle that you use to apply pressure while sliding the vegetable across the blade. I just held it in my hand. I didn’t realize how quickly the thickness of the zucchini was going down with each slice and didn’t adjust where my fingers where holding it. Then, with one quick swipe, I felt what is probably the most painful thing I have ever experienced.
As soon it happened, I yelled and grabbed my fingers with other hand and ran to put my hand under the faucet. When I did, the water quickly went from clear to red. It hurt so bad and the water hurt it even more. I tried to move my hand away from my fingers, and that killed, so I had to sit down because I was getting dizzy.
Morgan gave me paper towels to try to stop the bleeding and they soaked through quickly. Then, I broke the golden rule of applying pressure to wounds- I pulled the blood-soaked towels away from the wound instead of putting more on top of it. With the combination that pain from pulling the towels away, coupled with the fact I saw my actual injuries for the first time, I apparently blacked out.
Morgan said it was the most terrifying thing she has ever seen. She says I convulsed and my eyes rolled back in my head. I couldn’t have been out for more than a few seconds, but the next thing I remember was dreaming and then hearing Morgan screaming my name. When I looked at her, she had the most terrified look on her face I have ever seen, but I didn’t know why. We sat there for a few more minutes while I drank some water and then we headed to Nason Medical Center for some urgent care treatment.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to cut myself that night because when we arrived, there was another young guy there clutching his fingers and trying to fill out the forms by himself. Luckily, I had Morgan to do that for me. We also learned that if you’re bleeding, they move you right to the front of the line, even with the 20ish people in the waiting room. They took us straight back to a room and made a bowl of water and chemicals for me to put my fingers in.
The nurse looked at it and told me that the doctor might try to seal up the wound, but there wouldn’t be any stitches, considering there was nothing to stitch. Two clean slices of fingertips meant they would clean, disinfect and bandage.
They told me it would probably take 4-6 weeks to heal and gave me a pain medication and an antibiotic and told me to change the bandages twice a day and keep it moist. They were right too. It took about that long for the slices to heal, and you can barely tell that anything happened. Those two fingers are a little flatter now, but most of the fingertip came back. They still hurt if you press on the ends, but I’m back to full mobility.
Long story short, please be careful if using a mandoline slicer. They are very handy but extremely dangerous. They come with a safety guard for a reason and you should use it. Also, if you cut yourself badly in the kitchen, go get medical attention. If I hadn’t had Morgan with me, I might have been stubborn and not gone, which could have risked an infection. So please be careful and let’s all have happy cooking stories!
Have you ever had a bad mandoline experience?