As I mentioned in my last blog post, The Corn Story, Part One: An Earful, we were blessed with an abundance of sweet corn. We had 41 dozen ears of corn shucked and cooked. It was now time to cut the kernels off of the cobs and start the process of canning and freezing.
While some choose to cut the corn off of the cob with a knife, the preferred method in our home is to use an old slicing tool like my mother-in-law used when my husband was a child. My sentimental sweety saw one at a kitchen gadget store once and snatched it up. It was the same design (and perhaps the same packaging) that my mother-in-law purchased in the 1960’s. We have used it faithfully for years and it has served us well, but it wasn’t as sharp as it used to be.
With the monumental task set before us of cutting a lot of corn, I decided it was time for something new. I purchased a new mandolin slicer, knowing full well that my husband would continue to use the slicer that reminded him of his childhood, no matter how dull it was. I figured with me using the new one, and him the old, the job should be done in half the time. I carefully washed up the new mandolin and read the instructions, including the “this is your official notice that this is very sharp and dangerous so be careful and don’t come at us with an attorney if you hurt yourself” warning.
As with any new gadget that enters our house, it caught the kids’ attention. Eager eyes watched as I stripped the ears of corn and eager fingers poked at the golden piles of kernels that formed on the cutting board. They begged to try this curious new gizmo. Knowing that this new mandolin was very sharp and dangerous (after all, I had read the instructions) I declined the kids’ offers to “help” with the corn warning them of the sharpness and danger.
It happened at that moment. The injury. I felt my fingernail catch on the very sharp and dangerous blade. As I involuntarily jerked my hand away, the metal dug into my fingertip. I immediately ran to the sink and held my finger under running water, getting there as the blood started to flow. And flow it did. My oldest daughter brought me a washcloth as I clutched the finger in an attempt to stop the blood. My husband came over to see how bad it was. I wasn’t sure myself. I hadn’t looked. But when we did look, my knees got weak.
I admit it. I am a wimp. Sometimes I can handle medical stuff well, other times I can’t. This was one of those times. I staggered pale-faced to the couch, finger wrapped in the washcloth. I lied down and propped my feet up as someone got another cold cloth for my head. I can’t be sure, but I think the kids were somewhere in the house placing bets on whether or not I would pass out. I even think I heard them ask if I was going to puke. This had to be way more exciting for them than watching the corn!
As it turned out, I did not faint and I did not throw up. I was able to compose myself and tried to take another look at the injury. However, every time I moved the washcloth away to take a peek, the blood started gushing again. This was not good. I think I may have caused more trauma to my finger by the amount of squeezing I was doing in an attempt to control the bleeding. By God, I was going to strangle that finger to death to get the bleeding to stop if it meant I didn’t have to go to the ER. (I would have posted a picture of the finger, but I thought that might be gross. Besides, it’s the middle finger and I wouldn’t want to be accused of in obscene gesture.)
As my beloved husband threw the kids in bed (no regular bedtime routine tonight) I assessed my situation. The bleeding did stop, however, if my finger was bumped or touched, it started again. I decided I didn’t need stitches. We didn’t have any suitable bandages in the house so when I felt well enough I drove to the store, finger wrapped in the washcloth to peruse the first aid section. Meanwhile my husband stayed home to continue the assault on the corn. I returned with an assortment of fingertip bandages…and some more canning lids. Hey, there was still a job to do.
From that point on, I was out of the corn processing business. My husband had to do it all (with some help from the children). It took at least two evenings. My finger continued to bleed off and on for several days. The swelling finally went down and it is now starting to heal. Yesterday, I lost about one third of the nail. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I continue to keep bandages on, mostly because it is still sensitive when bumped and I don’t want the remaining nail to catch on anything. I still marvel at the irony that I cut my finger as I was warning my kids about how sharp and dangerous the mandolin is. Definitely a case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I do.
Despite all of the drama, we ended up with a lot of corn stored up for us to use through the winter. Yeah! Thank you to my brother-in-law for the corn! Oh, and don’t be afraid to eat corn at my house. There were no traces of blood, fingertips or fingernails in the finished product!