Friday, February 26, 2010


I don’t really consider myself unlucky. Sure, I’ve had my share of tough times. Hasn’t everyone? But when I found my hand spewing blood all over my kitchen one day, I considered that my luck might have just run out.

Kenny (my hubby) had finally found a job he could excel in. As an employee for TSA at the airport here in Grand Rapids, MI, he found opportunity for advancement and a fulfilling sense of success. However, to begin the job, he would have to travel to Detroit and take a two-week class. This would leave me at home alone with the kids for that time. Although I was sad to see him go and nervous that I was on my own, I reassured him that I would be just fine and sent him on his way. We were new in the neighborhood, but I felt sure things would work out fine.

My newfound independence was thwarted, though, just a few hours later. As I was cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, I decided to conquer the brownie pan in the sink. Now, if you’ve ever made brownies and then let them sit for a day or two, you know how hard they can be to get out of the pan.

Try as I did to provide Herculean strength to this task, the chocolate treats would not budge. Finally, with a huge sigh and a determined hand I forced the knife under the brownies to try to free them from the plate. But, instead of dislodging the dessert, the knife jumped up and I stabbed myself in my hand. Suddenly blood started shooting out of my hand in a pulsating fashion, completely covering the door, the counters and even the ceiling! I was dumbfounded. I stared at the shooting blood for a few seconds before it occurred to me to get a rag and cover it up. This would definitely need stitches, I thought. But there was one problem. How do I get three small children into a van, drive to the ER and watch them, when I have a scene right out of “Helter Skelter” playing out?

Luckily, I did know one person who lived on the other side of the apartment complex. Carrie was Deaf, too, and we’d gotten to know each other a little over the few months I was there. So, with my hand wrapped in a towel, I headed over to her house, praying that she would be home. She was home and agreed to come to my place and watch the kids for me while I drove myself to the hospital.

The Emergency Room wasn’t busy that day. Thank God for that! But there I was, in need of help, with no one to interpret and an acute inability to lipread even myself in the mirror. I had my pen and paper ready though, so I felt pretty comfortable with the situation. Unfortunately, it seems like, whenever I ask a person to write to me, all of a sudden they have surprisingly little to say. This held true for the workers in the ER as well.

The doctor asked me how I stabbed myself and I explained, with great fanfare, about the brownies, the blood splattering everywhere, and being alone with three kids. Basically, I told him my life story. He mumbled something to me. His assistant laughed. They both looked at me with great expectation. I hadn’t a clue what they were talking about.

”I don’t understand. Can you write?”
Again, he mumbled and the assistant chuckled.
“I can’t read lips. What are you talking about?”
For the third time they started laughing and talking to one another. I think they saw the frustration in my face, so the assistant picked up my pen and wrote what they had been saying over and over again….
“Did you bring the brownies?”

I learned two things from this experience that I would like to share with you.

  1. Although it may be frustrating in the process, always carry pen and paper and make people write whether they want to or not.
  2. Sharp knives and hard brownies do not go well together.


  1. What is the proper reaction to this narrative--laugh or cry? I wanted to do both. The medical staff were having a joke at your expense and not including you. Serve them right to offer them blood-frosted hard brownies! (try baking brownies in cupcake papers to save on that cleaning job.) Hope your hand heals quickly.

  2. Great job! I really love the resources for homeschoolers interested in learning sign language.