Last week was rough as we dealt with a kitchen accident.  Janna somehow got her left index finger stuck in the business end of our new Cuisinart hand blender. 



Janna was cleaning the blender and, due to the large, convenient, touch-sensitive switch, she somehow touched that switch while her finger was near the blades. 

In the flash of a second, the bloody business was done and I was on the hunt for pieces of her finger in the kitchen sink.

I was able to find her thinly sliced fingerprint sitting on the cool stainless steel.  I plucked it from the wet surface with a pair of tweezers, put the print on an ice cube and — with her finger bleeding, but our minds intact — Janna and I walked to the emergency room of the hospital a block away. 

Four hours later, we learned the Cuisinart had taken not one, but two, pieces of her flesh and also sliced her finger in two additional places that didn’t result in a through cut. 

The first cut was the whisper-thin fingerprint I found.  The other chunk of her finger was a deep, missing, gouge that must’ve fallen down the kitchen sink drain.

Since the larger chunk of her finger was missing, the fingerprint I’d so carefully saved could not be re-attached.

Janna was wrapped up with thick bandages and given a prescription for Percodan and sent  home to heal.

A week later, her finger is doing better — I think I see signs of her fingerprint returning to life — and I am left with the ringing warning by triage nurse gave us as Janna’s finger was examined:  “You’d be surprised how many kitchen emergencies we deal with every day.  The kitchen is a hot, sharp, and dangerous place.”

Please be careful in your kitchen, and please know hand blenders have double, sharp, blades that spin at an incredible speed.  You should certainly unplug any hand blender before you clean it, but when the best way to clean such a blender is to run it in a glass of clean water, you can see how the danger of being cut begs the price of getting clean.

16 Comments

  1. [having trouble logging in with my WordPress account]
    Sorry to hear about this. Funny how those obvious disclaimers “always unplug appliances before cleaning” just slip away from our minds when we think we can just quickly wipe something and rinse it.
    Hope the finger gets well soon
    -Simon a.k.a. fruey

  2. Great to hear from you, Simon! I hope you are doing well. Janna appreciates your good wishes and you’re right that electrical things are alive when juiced and it’s up to us to maintain them only in a decommissioned state.

  3. I did, David – twice. When I was in Seattle I had what is called a Magican – it opens cans by undoing the seal a can has instead of cutting it. Now I have a more inexpensive can opener which cuts cans – and causes cans to cut you, if you’re not careful!

  4. I think I left it with friends – or maybe it’s in a box somewhere?
    Anyhow, it actually works in a pretty simple way. The way that 99% of cans are manufactured is that top and bottoms are not part of the can but are seamed on through a basic technique.
    http://www.cannedfood.co.uk/how-cans-are-made-today
    Because of this, what the magican does is basically puts its metal digit between the lid and can and releases the seal. No sharp edges at all because when it is originally made, there are no sharp edges – sharp edges only come from cutting the can.

  5. Hi – so on Friday, I just so happened to blend my finger with the EXACT same immersion blender and googled it to see if anyone did the same thing. I can’t believe that Paige’s incident was only a couple days apart from mine! Hope your finger is healing well. I got 5 stitches in the er and hopefully my finger will be as good as new.

  6. Was just googling to see if anyone else blended their left index finger w/ an immersion blender, and voila! Scary and comforting all at the same time. Sounds like mine was a bit worse. Two months ago, in the midst of writing a cookbook, I was getting the last bit of margarine out from the blade and just barely skimmed the ‘on’ button (I’ve written about it here: http://bitchindietitian.com/2011/03/31/stitchin-dietitian-when-cookbook-writing-attacks/). 18 stitches, nail had to be removed b/c the blade went through it, but luckily the bone didn’t get cut. Right now, it’s a mix of numb and hypersensitive pain, w/ an ugly no-nail bed, has little flexibility, and I’m trying so hard to use it again. But I’m so used to NOT using it. Apparently your index finger is the easiest one to live without. Just wondering how long it took to start using your finger again like you did in the old days?

    1. Hi Jen —

      That’s a pretty painful experience! I’m glad your finger is doing okay now. Be sure to exercise that finger as it heals so you won’t lose any range of movement. You may not feel like you “need’ that finger — but you do — so use it or lose it!

      When I hurt my leg — http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/09/27/a-leg-that-tells-the-weather/ — I limped as it healed. My MD told me to never limp because, “If you limp now, you’ll limp for the rest of your life.” Not limping meant feeling the pain through the range of motion, but I did it, because I understood that not limping was part of the healing process.

      Janna’s finger is doing better. It look about a year for her fingerprint to grow back. She has a lack of sensitivity in the tip now, though, and we don’t think that will ever return.

      1. David! I’m so sorry I’m just seeing now that you replied! My finger (1 more month later) is doing better even still. I have very tingly sensation in the whole thing as of a few days ago, and the nail has started to grow back. It’s not pretty, but perhaps eventually it’ll be closer to normal. I didn’t cut any of the finger off, it just got totally chewed up. I *never* thought it could look even as good as it does now. The human body is amazing!

        I have very flexible fingers, but the injured one isn’t nearly as flexible despite pressing and pushing it constantly in all sorts of directions as instructed by the occupational therapist. I keep trying though! Thanks so much for your reply. There’s a chance Janna will get some more sensation back – the nerves grow back at a rate of 1 millimeter every 3 months, so it takes a long time!!

        Cheers to no more injuries!