Spilled Blood

I was preparing a dish to bring to a party when the knife slipped: It sank into the pad of my middle finger.

I screamed a great slur of curse words and rushed to the sink, leaving a trail of blood everywhere … except, remarkably, on the cutting board. Shortly after the blood started gushing, an incredible pain struck, and I was racked with sobs. I was afraid to look at my finger, thinking I would be looking at exposed bone and have to get down to urgent care for stitches. When curiosity outweighed the pain, I saw I had cut a nice flap in my finger, but not as bad as the pain would indicate.

Eventually I switched from running water to direct pressure, and the pain morphed into a throb. With incredible speed, the bleeding stopped. Yippee, no stitches.

Knife on Time Out
After I cleaned up, I shoved the knife and cutting board in the corner, giving them a time out. Maybe I lost more blood than I thought!

As I sat there with my finger up in the air and tears drying on my cheeks, I was filled with admiration for my mom.

I remembered the time she tried to teach me how to cut up a whole chicken. As I’ve mentioned before, it was my mom that started me down the frugal path, and buying a whole chicken is cheaper than pre-cut versions.

My mom was showing me how to separate the chicken leg from the thigh when the knife slipped and ripped open that tender spot between the thumb and index finger of her left hand. The blood was everywhere! Considering how long it bled and how it kept breaking open again, she really should have been stitched up but wasn’t. Despite all that, there was no profanity and no tears. In looking back, I don’t know how she did it. She even tried to resume her chicken cutting lesson, but I refused.

That home ec lesson’s effect was the opposite of what she had intended: I didn’t cut up a whole chicken myself for more than a decade after seeing the carnage in the kitchen. It did teach me to have a healthy respect for knives … which unfortunately has to be relearned periodically.

Have you ever needed stitches from a kitchen accident? or Did your parents ever had a teachable moment that went horribly wrong?

12 thoughts on “Spilled Blood”

  1. Ouch..just ouch. I can feel the pain you must have gone through. That area between your thumb and forefinger can be really sensitive. Fortunately I’ve never cut it before. One time though, when I worked in a grocery store, I was stocking canned soup and saw a piece of a loose label on a can. I pulled on it to get rid of it and realized it was part of the tin and not the paper. It cut my thumb apart and I bled all over. It wasn’t too bad though. I just put some pressure on it and it healed itself. It hurt pretty bad though.


    1. Did they make you clean up the mess? That would have added insult to injury! Fingers, with all their nerve endings, can really let you know when they’ve been hurt.

      It wasn’t until the slicing of a fingertip on my left hand that I realized how much I use that hand. I am incredibly right hand dominate. I always view my left hand as an organic paperweight. Imagine my surprise at how often I was knocking that injured finger doing things I hadn’t realized involved that hand at all: Open jars, tying my shoes, and typing – that left middle finger hits a lot of important keys!


  2. Ow! I’ve found the most frugal way to buy chicken is to pick up a whole cooked one at Costco! No cuts, no hassle, and they’re delicious. One rarely cuts one’s self eating prepped food. 😉 My step daughter stabbed an avocado pit she held in the palm of her hand and was surprised when the pit split and a cut appeared on the back of her hand! Yow! Stabbed herself THROUGH the hand! We’ve all emailed her YouTube videos of proper avocado pit maneuvers since and she has recovered. My painful finger injury was holding a phone connection block and drilling with a push drill. The is operated by pushing and letting it spring back up for another push. I inadvertently lifted it out of the block and onto my finger and pushed and when it sprung back up had drilled a hole through my finger! Since I was at a customer home I ran out and bled and puked in the front yard. My boss was summoned and took me to get treated. Fingers are very sensitive.


    1. Ouch! How horrifying – the thought of stabbing myself all the way through my hand or drilling through my finger. Dang! I’m impressed at your presence of mind not to bleed or puke in the customer’s house! Was your boss at the time a recurring character in my blog?


  3. Never needed stitches for a kitchen mishap, but I did get my finger chewed by a nasty metal cabinet at work last fall. It was horrible – looked like Frankenfinger. It was horrible. And the blood was what made me realize it was bad – I felt it happen, but it didn’t bleed instantly so I thought “no big deal.” By the time I walked across the room to head for the bathroom and a bandage, I was dripping all over the place. Awful.


    1. Blood is normally a good indicator something went horribly wrong. Then, being a mom, you were probably the one responsible for cleaning up your own bio hazard mess!

      Anything you would have labeled “Frankenfinger” can’t be good – unless it was a Halloween snack, which might be tasty.


  4. OH Tammy! I’m reading this cringing and my shoulders are up in my chin – eeeeuw!! I’ve done this kind of thing so many times to my poor hands and burned my arm more than once with an iron. Ahhh, the perils of domesticity. I really shouldn’t be trusted with a sharp knife or a hot iron. I’m glad you didn’t require stitches.

    A memory, pretty recently with my mother, who is the queen of frugal – perhaps of a different kingdom than your mom – was when she left lipstick in her pants pocket and then proceeded to put it in the dryer with my dad’s golf shirts and my husband’s shirt (we were there visiting). So she lugs in some potent chemical from the garage and wants me to help her get the lipstick out. It burned! I still (and it’s been 3 years) have dried, cracked skin on my right middle finger from that escapade. I’d have rather trashed the shirts and saved my fingers. But she was mortified. I’m sure she was right there with me working on one or two of the shirts but she may be a bit tougher skinned (literally) than I am. Anyway – that “lesson” in frugality is still a nightmare.

    And BTW – the lipstick never came out.


    1. I always manage to cut the exact same finger! Normally it is a little nick, not like this one.

      My mom isn’t the only one that had teaching moments gone horribly wrong. I understand her being embarrassed, but lipstick is never coming out. The sooner we all accept that, the better, especially when it can save appendages. Ouch! Chemical burns are horrible. It is shocking that you still have the mark as a reminder.


  5. Oh no! I HATE cutting myself while cooking! What to do with all the half-prepared food while you are taking care of the wound? I cringed when I read about your pain after the slice – how familiar that is. It hurts!!

    I cut myself pretty bad on an apple corer while making lunch for ten of my friends. I called a nursing student neighbor and she bandaged me up enough so I could manage the rest of the lunch with one hand, but it never stopped bleeding. When they got to the house I asked one of them to drive me to urgent care, where I got a tetanus shot and some magical salve that made the bleeding stop. My friends stayed at my house and ate, and they were cleaning up my house when I got back – when you find good friends like that, you hang onto them.


    1. That is so not how you planned that luncheon to go. How wonderful of them to be doing the cleaning up when you got back!

      I’ve been safe around apple corers (so far), but I shouldn’t be allowed to even look at graters. They could take skin off my knuckles from across the room!

      Fortunately for my finger cutting incident, I had my wonderful man who finished up with the dish after he made sure I was stable and had all my fingers. I simply bled and cried.


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