Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm Lucky to be Alive!

Yes, lucky!

As many times that I have injured myself, placed myself in really bad situations and just by the grace of God, have survived, it amazes me.

When I was about 4, I tried to off myself by flinging my small body from the swing I was soaring in, onto the hard dirt ground. I think I thought if I went high enough, I could fly. I obviously survived with only a broken arm and a slightly bruised spirit.

A few years later on a school playground at the age of 9, I tried to hang by my heels just as I had seen the circus performer do the night before; obviously there was a trick to it because no sooner than I let go of the bar with my hands, I fell onto the hard blacktop and by no means did I hang by my heels! I ended up with a slight concussion, a few stitches along my hairline and a dislike of circus performers.

Then there was the time when I was walking home from school, I believe the same year as the heel hanging performance, and this was probably when I first discovered my OCD as well. Because I was so worried about stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk, I didn't look up in time to stop myself from walking head first into a hard metal sign post. Do the lyrics, "You can ring my bell-e-ell, ring my bell!", mean anything to you? Well, they did to me!

About 2 years ago I tried again to break my head open while changing a light bulb above the kitchen island. I stepped off the wrong side of my small utility ladder and flew headfirst into the edge of our oak breakfast table. That took a few stitches right above the right eyebrow and I had a great "Pirate" scar for months after.

I know you're wondering what brought this on all of a sudden, well, it has to do with the sharp pain I get some times when I grab something with my left hand and lately I've been feeling that pain a lot. You see, a few months back I tried to cut my left hand off with a steak knife.

No, I didn't do it on purpose but sometimes I don't think things out really well before I act and especially when it involves chocolate, caramel or anything sugary and sweet. In this case it was a caramel apple and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it, literally!

Every Fall season I get a terrible hankerin' for a big, juicy, Granny Smith apple dipped in that creamy caramel delight and hardened just enough to almost pull your fillings out. On this particular day I had made several of these wonderful mouth watering orbs and had decided to remove them from the plate I had placed them on in the fridge to harden. Big Guy had left earlier to meet up with our set-up crew for a church festival that we were working and beside's the FooFoo girls and Rocky, I was at home alone. 

So here I am, I have the plate of yummy apples sitting on the kitchen counter and I try pulling them off by their sticks first. When that doesn't work, (at this moment I'm wishing I had used a lot more butter on the plate), I decide to try prying them up with something but looking around I'm not sure with what.

Then I get this idea that I need something flat that will slide between the apple and the plate so I grab a metal spatula out of the drawer. After struggling for a while and finally realizing that the spatula is not going to work, I start to think that if it had a smaller edge it might get under the apple easier so I grab the next item I can think of with a small edge which happened to be a very sharp steak knife.

Yep! A very sharp steak knife! This is where all of my logic leaves my brain and is replaced with sugary goo!

I can almost taste the delicious, gooey caramel melting away between my tongue and palate as I hold the plate in my left hand and plunge the steak knife with my right hand, and I do mean plunge! 

(WARNING: if you get squeamish at the sight, thought, vision, sound, etc. of blood, you may not want to read on!)

I scream like a banshee, (in Irish folklore: a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die) only in my case, I'm the one dying and there are no family members to witness it, as the knife slips past the apple and into my hand. 

The knife's tip has penetrated deep, barely missing the Radial Artery, which is the main blood flow that comes from the arm and circulates blood throughout your hand. I quickly yank the knife out which allows blood to spurt across my kitchen counter but try to keep it away from the caramel apples, (even though I may be moments from death, I'm still thinking of sweet stuff). Feeling like I am going to pass out, I grab the nearest towel, wrap it around my bleeding hand and hold my arm above my head. Then with my right hand I reach for my cell phone, which luckily for me was on the counter just a foot away, and I start to call Big Guy. I stop before pushing the speed dial, however, when I realize he would probably panic if I told him I was bleeding and I didn't want him to drive like a maniac to try and save me, so instead I speed dial our crew chief, Kenny. This is how the conversation with him went:

Me: "Hi Kenny! What are you doing?", I ask trying not to sound in pain but in between fast breaths while trying desperately not to pass out.

Kenny: "Hi, I'm on my way to the church to meet up with the rest of the crew, why, am I late?

Me: "No, no you're just fine but would you say you're close to the house by any chance?", I ask now trying to balance the phone between my right shoulder and ear so I can turn on the faucet and get cold water to wet another towel to catch the blood now flowing down my left arm. "Could you stop by here first?" 

Kenny: "Is there something wrong?"

Me: "Oh just a little accident and I didn't want to bother the Big Guy but thought if you could stop by and also I knew you had first aid training..."

Kenny: "I'm on my way!", he cuts me off and I hear him telling his wife Jen to hang on because I'm in trouble.

Me: "Don't speed or do anything to get in an accident, please!", I'm begging him since I realize now that he has his family with him.

Kenny just hollers at me from his cell phone which he probably has dropped in his lap, to hang in there and that he'll be there shortly. 

As I try and put the now throbbing and still bleeding left hand into the sink under the cold running water, I feel myself again starting to pass out. I re-wrap the hand and place it above my head once more. Then I hear a car pull up in front and people running up the sidewalk to the door. Kenny opens the door and comes quickly to the kitchen with Jen and kids following right behind. He assesses the damage to my hand, tells me I'm lucky it pierced me where it did and not a fourth of an inch to the left and then let's me know that I will live this time.

Soon I'm no longer bleeding like a sieve, hand bandaged really tight and ready to roll. 

So as I sit here with this pain in my hand, I wonder if God didn't spare me in order to keep me around as a lesson to others. Here are the lessons I feel I should share:

  1. If you want to fly, use an airplane; swings are great for launching things but what goes up without wings, will come down like a rock.
  2. If you want to be a circus performer, join a circus; they have nets.
  3. If you have OCD, better to stay off of cracked sidewalks.
  4. Let your tall husband change the ceiling light bulbs and if you don't have a tall husband, buy a two-sided ladder.
  5. When dealing with sticky caramel apples, by no means ever use a knife of any kind to try and pry them up off the plate; butter the plate better!
Oh, and you're probably wondering how I finally removed those stuck caramel apples aren't you? You know I did! Well, after Kenny left and I had sterilized my kitchen thoroughly, I went back to the apples that had been sitting out for well over an hour by now and discovered that the caramel had softened just enough to allow the apples to be pulled off of the plate by their sticks. Duh!



  1. What a great read! I was glued, like your caramel apples, to your story! I'm just the opposite! I'm a scaredy cat and probably miss out on lots of fun because I'm afraid I'll get hurt. Never broke a bone or had stitches - only surgery-related stitches. Stay safe and thanks for the advice. Very wise!
    Lynn at Cottage and Creek

  2. Glad you had fun reading this. Yes, I've had a few spills in my day, but still somewhat of a dare-devil. Wait til you read about my drag racing and Powder Puff Derby experience's!