Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Étouffée Had It In For Me

Last Thursday night I was making shrimp étouffée for the first time. In order to get the proper flavor base in the recipe I used, you make a roux and then cook it until it is deep, dark brown.

The evening was warm; I sweated as I whisked and whisked and whisked. My roux had reached a nice toffee color when the whisk went flying out of my hand, flinging bits of sizzling fat and flour all over the kitchen and me.

I felt a searing pain in my arm as a bit of roux landed. I tried to shake it off, but it was gluey. I was almost surprised when I rinsed my arm off to find that it hadn't melted all the way through my arm to the bone. I ended up with just a small second-degree burn, no big deal.

Unfortunately, I was too lazy to properly bandage the thing up when we went camping for the weekend. I figured a band-aid would do. Bad idea. I won't elaborate. By Monday night I could tell things were going south, and when I woke up this morning it was obvious to me that it was at least a little infected.

I hate to be the person who runs to the doctor for every cough and ache. I know there is often little or nothing that can be done. But I also know that many of the "what the heck?" news stories of people dropping dead before their time involve infections. And, having experienced many an emergency room wait, I had no interest in waiting until I could see a red line headed up my arm towards my heart. I'm pretty sure the only way to get expeditious service in an ER these days* is to walk in holding one of your own severed limbs. And even then, it's iffy. 

So sheepishly I took myself to the doctor. We happen to have an urgent care office about five minutes from our house.

"What seems to be the problem?" asked the receptionist.

"Well, I burned myself a few days ago, and it seems like it's getting..."

"Infected," she said, glancing at my proffered arm.

Sweet, sweet validation!

I am not crazy, I am not the reason the health system is falling apart, and I am now on antibiotics. Nothing says "you made the right call" like handing that slip of paper with its illegible handwriting to the pharmacist.

Best of all, the Nurse Practitioner who saw me referred to my tiny little burn as an "open flesh wound." Awesome.

*NOT the fault of people who work in ERs.


Amy said...

Ouch! I have to say though, the post made me smile (but not because of your "flesh wound"). You must be a tough lady to deal with such working conditions. ;)

Hillary said...

You must have a much higher pain tolerance than me. I burned the palm of my hand on a cast iron skillet last night, soaked it for hours in cold water (it hurt too much to take it out) and thought I would never use my hand again. By this morning it was almost completely healed. And tonight I managed to salsa dance without thinking of it once.

eric O said...

"I'm pretty sure the only way to get expeditious service in an ER these days is to walk in holding one of your own severed limbs."

I'm certainly not wishing you more harm than you've already experienced. I DO think that, if anyone could turn that story into a fabulous read, you could.

Gypmar said...

Hey, thanks, Eric! If anything truly horrific happens, I promise not to let it go to waste :)