How I Ended Up in the ER One New Year’s Eve (but it wasn’t my fault)

ER signIt all started with gnocchi.  Leave it to the Italians to turn potatoes into pasta.  That’s what gnocchi is, if you were wondering.  Yes, now that I look back, the whole thing was the gnocchi’s fault.

Actually, it was Lidia’s fault.  This particular New Year’s Eve, Chef Lidia Bastianich, my husband’s favorite, was on television demonstrating how to make gnocchi, by taking perfectly good mashed potatoes, adding flour and an egg, and rolling them out into a strip.  She cut the strips  into little pieces with a knife and then rolled the dough along a fork to achieve ridges that hold the sauce or pesto.  Let them dry, cook them like pasta, and presto, another high-carb Italian favorite is born.  Sounds simple, right?

It was really my husband’s fault.  Watching Lidia, and hankering for the gnocchi his dear-departed Italian grandmother used to make, he decided that gnocchi we must!  Fun project for a quiet New Year’s Eve, er, evening alone. No kids in the house.  Just the two of us.  He pulled out some leftover potatoes, made the mixture, rolled out the dough and started cutting. I know. Very romantic.

Did I mention it was my friend Cheryl’s fault?  She decided to give my son, who was, at the time, an aspiring chef, a good knife set.  Not super good, but  nice cutlery, which, of course, included a sharpening rod.  She doesn’t remember doing it, but I can assure you, she did.  That’s why she deserves the blame.

Then there’s my son.  You can’t be a real chef if you don’t do that trick with the blade against the sharpening rod.  Dzing-dzing-dzing.  Nice and sharp.  Yes indeedy. Definitely his fault.

So back to the gnocchi.  You must realize dough made from potatoes forms a starchy, sticky coating on the knife one uses to cut it.  My father always told me to wash a sticky knife immediately so as not to let it get dull.  Can’t blame him, though.  He’s no longer living.  But I had to wash the knife.

And what is the cardinal rule when one puts a sharp knife into soapy dishwater?  Hmmm???   Let’s say it together, shall we?  “Hang on to the knife and wash it right away.”  And did I follow that rule?  Nooooo!   And then because I’m fifty-something, I forgot the knife was even in there.  Until I swished my hand around in the soapy water to see if anything else was in the sink to be washed.  And then my finger found it.  Oh yeah.

I grabbed for my finger as I pulled it up out of the water and immediately applied pressure with my other hand.  I let go long enough to take a quick peek, then said, “Honey! Guess what? We’re going to the ER.”

Nine o’clock in the evening on New Year’s Eve is not an ideal time to hit an emergency room.  Even stupid Mary who puts her hands in soapy water with a knife knows that much.  But luckily, we had options.  We live in the south end of our city, and a town to the south of us has a hospital on the north end of their town.  Their hospital is actually closer to us than our city’s hospital.  I’d heard of other folks who’d gone to that ER and survived.  I knew if we went to our city’s ER with a cut finger, we’d be waiting all night.  So off to Bartow Regional we went.  It really wasn’t a bad place, if you don’t mind everyone talking like they’re from the Andy Griffith Show.

They butterflied (bandage, that is) my finger, gave me a tetanus shot and we were home by 11 o’clock, with plenty of time to watch the ball drop over Times Square.  I’m not sure I remember even eating the gnocchi.

Turns out I’ve ended up in that same ER two times since — once with my daughter, and once again myself just recently.  This time it was much more serious, and I was admitted to the hospital.  But that’s another story.  And that wasn’t my fault either.  Blame that one on the pineapple.

Copyright 2012 by Mary E. Egidio   Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dan on January 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Best wishes for a full recovery.


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