Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My dad used to call me Grace.

And no, it isn't because I moved about like Grace Kelly.

It's because I don't think a lot before I move, and that usually results in something mildly comical, but mostly injurious.  I tend to have a thought, act on it, and think later.  I rely on instinct way more than I should.

As an athlete, this served me well.  I have reactions to what I see and move accordingly.  As a result, I can hit, catch, and field a softball.  I can kick and head-butt, block, and score a goal in soccer.

This versatility does not play out well off the field, in the real world.  I walk too fast for my feet, so I trip.  I speak too fast for my mouth, so I stumble on words.  I think something is a good idea and do it, before I think it may or may not work out exactly as planned.  Shortcuts. I'm always taking shortcuts.

It is through this reaction-action that I came to have my first tetanus shot yesterday.

I began cooking for Saturday's annual Christmas party last Wednesday night.  On my menu was both cannoli cookies and egg nog cheesecake bars, a recipe I found over at Brown Eyed Baker.  This party is fun.      F-U-N fun!  Tons of music, over a hundred people, and lots and lots of food!  I was excited to bring some food from my own kitchen - not from from the grocery - for the first time!  And of course, I had to bring two things, because, well, I like to overdo everything!

I made the dough for the cannoli cookies Wednesday.  It has to freeze before cooking, so I figured, once again, if I had an extra day or so in case of mistake, I would have time.  If not, everything would go according to plan.  I was unsure of it, I could not get it to roll properly into the "log" it calls for.  I stressed about this for a couple days.

Friday night, I pulled it out and it was kinda flat.  Not a log.  But it was frozen, so I decided to forge on and try to make cookies out of it.  I knew all the ingredients were correct, so maybe it would work.  And, it did!  So I had the cookies made.  Stress over.

Next, I made the cheesecake bars.  Cheesecake, yummy yummy cheesecake.

The crust for the cheesecake was extremely simple, as crust always is.  I do not know why I am always intimidated by the idea of making my own crust.  I blended up the ingredients to the batter (drinking my fair share of egg nog), and put it in the fridge.  Off to bed.  Cannoli filling for the cookies and cutting the cheesecake will be Saturday's job before the party.  I didn't have to be there until around 4 to help with final set up, so I had plenty of time!

Everything was moving along perfectly on Saturday.  Cookies filled and drizzled with chocolate.  The bars chilled nicely and cut in perfectly.  I was even running a little ahead of schedule! Once I got these bars into the to-go container I had purchased, I had plenty of time to shower and could even sit and relax for a half an hour!  I was getting excited, forgetting to think it out before acting, beginning to act like Grace.

Now, I just have to cut open the to go containers and sit down.  Ahhh...

Or maybe I'll bleed to death.

Thought - Pick up this big knife, slice plastic around this foil container.
Action - Pick up this big knife, slice finger right at the quick of my fingernail. Bleed.
Luck - None of the blood got on the food or in the container.

I saw the blood before I felt the pain.  It was kind-of hard to miss - I honestly do not think I have ever bled that much in my whole entire life.  I have pictures, but I'll spare you.  Let's just say that white washcloth will never, ever be white again.

And that half an hour of sitting and relaxing?  That turned into over an hour of:
ten-plus minutes watching blood flow into the sink,
rinsing and wrapping in a white cloth,
calling my mom, and crying like a little girl,
rinsing and wrapping again,
and, of course,
crying like a little girl some more.

While on the phone with my mom, she asked if I thought I needed stitches.  That thought had not occurred to me.  It never does.  I have never had stitches.  How would I know?  I just knew I was hurting a lot and bleeding more.  I just knew I wanted to whine to my mommy.

After getting off the phone with my mom, I sent the following text:
"4 isn't going to happen, I got in a fight with a knife. And lost... :)  I'm getting in the shower in a minute."
That text was sent at 3:22.  I still had to figure out how to stop bleeding enough to get the bars in the foil container.  Was it even open yet?  I did not know.  I still had to shower.  I still had to unwrap this now-bright-red towel off my finger and bandage it up.

I got everything done and was on my way a little after four.  Not too bad, I suppose.  In the end, I washed my hand completely and put the bars in the container before my shower.  Then I un-bandaged and took a shower.  Then I bandaged again.  A lot of work, yes, but I wanted to shower after everything was done.  My adventures made for some good conversation and some laughs at the party, which really, isn't that what life is all about?  Not taking yourself so seriously?

Fast forward now, to Monday.  I had kept alternating bandages all weekend, so I really hadn't seen the cut.  I really didn't want to see it.  I could feel it, that was enough.  Monday at work, I was washing my hands and the bandage came off.  HOLY CRAP THIS THING IS UGLY!  I showed my mom and we decided I should go to the doctor. Appointment made.

When I went yesterday morning the nurse asked me if I have had a tetanus shot in the last ten years.  I don't think so, I am unsure if I have ever even have one.  Four minutes later, I was showing her my bicep and she was jabbing me with a needle.  Oh yay, just what I wanted.

It turns out, you have to get stitches right away, so the doctor put some iodine on it and a couple specialty bandages and sent me and my sore arm on my way.  She did tell me, though, that the only difference between healing with stitches and without is the size and shape of the scar, so I'll live.  I'll just have a complete outline of this on my finger forever. I don't mind.

Grace.  It means so much.  I never gave much thought to that nickname as a child.  I just accepted it as something dad called me.  But there can be a lesson in this name.  I know I need to take the time to think.  I know I need to not get so overly excited when things are moving.  I know these things.  Maybe I need to consider acting on the knowledge a little more and not running about without considering consequences so much.  Six steps away from me that day was a pair of scissors, which is what should have been used to cut the plastic.  Even if I had used the knife, I could have been a little more responsible with it.  The grace I feel right now is that I can learn from this experience and remember.

Grace also gives me the tools to move forward.  In spite of sitting and whining and crying like a little girl, I was able to get up and continue with my day.  I did not allow this to change or end my plans, it just set them back a little bit.  I was able to take care of myself and move onward.
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