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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holiday Kitchen Hazards & My True Story



Most holiday kitchen accidents happen because of inattention. I learned this the hard way last year while working on Thanksgiving dinner the day before "Turkey Day".

I had been fortunate in my years (notice I didn't say how many years) to have avoided a serious kitchen accident where I ended up in the emergency room. Let's face it, time is precious and I didn't have time to spend hours in the ER the day I needed to work on a big holiday meal. Well it happened anyways and there was nothing I could do about it.

Why did I have an accident that sent me to the hospital? I wasn't paying attention while dicing celery and cut the tip of my finger off. What was I distracted by you may be wondering? I was looking at the television - Gone With the Wind was playing. I couldn't believe it happened. Fortunately I remained calm. I knew immediately something bad happened, then the blood started to flow. I grabbed a towel wrapped my finger up and took off for the doctor's office. That's right, the doctor's office. I was hoping my doctor would be in but no such luck. I ended up taking myself to the emergency room anyways. UGH!

Of course it took forever at the hospital. The entire time I'm there, I'm thinking about how I must get back home to finish all the work I needed to do for Thanksgiving dinner. Well after shots in the wound, cleaning and putting a protective cover over the area I cut off, I ended up with a club finger.


In addition to the monstrosity of bandages on my finger, I couldn't get it wet, couldn't bend my finger, and worst of all - I wasn't going to be able to make the dinner. Doctor's orders! Not without help anyways. I remember the hospital staff kept asking if I'd cut myself with a mandolin slicer. Nope, not me just a plain ole knife while cutting celery to make dressing......and watching television instead of paying attention. I lost part of my fingernail too along with that tip of finger! So much for trying to have nice nails for the big dinner.

Thankfully I had some family members who came to help me with the dinner. They did all the physical work as I gave instruction. That may sound like it's not such a back thing but believe me I would have rather done the work than have that club finger for many weeks. You would be surprised how not having your finger for use can affect everything you do. Typing, bathing, holding things, and the list goes on. I remember it affected me in so many ways.

It took quite a while to heal and thankfully doesn't look so bad today. In fact when my nail grew back you can't really see where the injury was unless I point it out to you. I do have some mild nerve damage however. Could have been worse and I'm very thankful that it wasn't. 



The two most important things to consider with knife cuts are depth and what part of the hand was injured. Dr. Renk explains that because the hand is such a complex structure, its important to be aware of where youve cut yourself and how deep because you may have punctured a tendon or an important muscle. Cuts on the tips of fingers and tops of knuckles will not cause too much serious damage, whereas anything to the palm or finger could be detrimental to your hand movement and have long term effects. Source: The Daily Meal 

Even the most experienced cooks have accidents, just try to stay focused so you can avoid accidents.

Tips:
  • Clean up Spills Immediately - forgotten spills are fall hazards
  • Use Sharpened Knives - dull knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones
  • Keep Cutting Boards Stable - if needed place a damp paper towel or hand towel to prevent slipping around the counter
  • Burning Yourself - it happens occasionally but always be on alert when cooking. Use pot holders, turn off burners and ovens immediately upon finishing
  • If you have children in the kitchen while cooking, keep an eye on them at all times to avoid accidents
Other Links:
Consumer Reports Scariest Kitchen Accidents
Cooking Safety Tips for the Holidays

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