So, who was it that invented those pesky thick plastic bags that turkeys come in anyway? I know that’s what I was thinking as I cut the bag away from the nice plump bird lying in the sink. I hit a particularly stubborn patch of plastic and as I sawed away at it I did the unthinkable – I turned my head to say something to one of my kids. It was at that particular moment that the bag decided to give in and my arm, the one attached to the hand that was clutching the upper edge of the bag, suffered the consequences. I didn’t really feel the knife go in, it was more of a pinch. Turning back to look at what I had done, my next thought was – this can’t be good. I deftly pulled the knife out of my arm, threw it in the sink, and slapped my hand over the quickly spreading line of crimson. It’s funny how blood can turn 5 seconds into an eternity.
As I rushed out of the kitchen I hollered to my son “Come with me!” He followed me to the bathroom where I started the cold water running. Leaning on the sink and trying hard not to pass out I told him to get me a huge wad of paper towels. When he returned, I gave him his instructions: I was going to pull my hand away, rinse my arm, and then he needed to hand me the towels so I could cover the wound. Three, two, one, the hand came off the wound, the arm went under the cold water, and I snatched the paper towels from his hand. It had all taken just a few seconds but it wasn’t quick enough to keep him from saying, “Oh my God Mom!” I’m sure that was somehow meant to be a consoling gesture of concern but it didn’t make me feel any better – I had been trying not to look!
My son followed me to my bedroom where I promptly flopped onto the bed and raised my mummified arm over my head. Closing my eyes and taking long deep breaths I asked him to find me a scarf or thin towel. Once the queasiness had passed, and my arm was wrapped, I sat up and made an odd decision. It was suddenly time to finish cooking. I finished dressing the turkey, fixing the stuffing, and heating up the vegetables. When my husband came home he asked if I was starting a new fashion craze for the holidays, then offered to take me to the hospital when he found out it wasn’t a celebrity statement. I refused.
When my parents arrived, my mother convinced me to let her have a look at the wound. I couldn’t watch as she untied the scarf, and pulled away the paper towels. “Well, it’s stopped bleeding….” she whispered. I was so excited I turned to look and knew I had made my second mistake of the day. Her face was scrunched up in that way that says, “I really don’t want to be looking at this but I’m trying to be strong, for my daughter”. Again – this was not good. Her diagnosis – I really needed stitches, to which I refused, and she redressed the wound. Finally settling on compromise, I agreed to go to the hospital when diner was over. Everyone helped to set the table and we all sat down to eat. Going around the table we each took turns saying what we were thankful for, and everyone looked expectantly at me. I’m still not sure if they were wondering what I was going to say or taking bets on when I would pass out, but I finally said, “I’m thankful I was using a small knife.” It must have eased the tension because the rest of the meal proceeded like all the ones before, with talking, laughter, and a whole lot of eating.
When the turkey was finally picked clean and everyone more stuffed than the bird had originally been, it was time for me to complete my end of the bargain. Surprisingly enough the emergency room wasn’t very busy. The nurse took my vitals and my story. I had to give her some credit because she held back her giggles rather well. She showed me to an exam room and when the doctor finally came in I knew the story had gotten around. “So, I hear the turkey retaliated this year?” he questioned with a raised eyebrow. He removed the make-shift bandages, examined the wound, and asked the nurse for a suture kit. Thankfully, he didn’t chastise me too much. I told him the whole story. After all, I had to do something to keep my mind off of what he was doing, and in my present circumstance it wasn’t like I had much else to do. He wasn’t as successful as the nurse in hiding his laughter but when he found out how long I had waited before coming in he stopped what he was doing, looked me in the eyes and asked “You’re a mother aren’t you?” So that’s what it was? And all this time I had thought I was just being brave!
I tell this story not to publicly display my own shortcomings, but to provide a lesson for others (I mean why else would I tell anyone about this!). This holiday season, please pay attention to what you are doing, tell your kids to stay out of the kitchen, go out to eat instead of cooking, and above all else – if you stab yourself – go to the hospital! Just make sure you have a really good cover story!