I recently used my new mandoline to slice off about an eighth of an inch of my right index finger, along with a good chunk of the nail. I didn’t buy a mandolin to cut my finger but, let me tell you, it did a bang-up job.

Among my myriad weaknesses is a fondness for kitchen stuff. My lovely wife has referred to me as the King of Dish Towels, and rightly so. I am also King of Kitchen Tools and Emperor of Napkins.

So I was breaking in my latest kitchen tool, as opposed to a smallish stringed instrument played elegantly by the incomparable MaMuse. Potatoes were the subject at hand, sliced with my new mandoline at varying thicknesses, a useful and tasty experiment. I was about to change the straight blade for a wavy one when I decided not to bother with the excellent food holder designed to keep my hand away from the blade and ran a potato across the blade with my bare hand over and over until what I figured would be the last slice, and I felt the cut. It didn’t hurt. The blade was too sharp for that. . . . Then it hurt.

I’d been making one-eighth-inch slices, and that’s how much of my finger was missing. Where that eighth of an inch used to be was air and blood. I don’t know what you do when you injure yourself, but this time I said “Shit” thirteen or fourteen times, as I wrapped my finger in a paper towel, found my sandals, and dragooned my son into taking me to Enloe Medical Center’s emergency room.

Although there were a bunch of people in the waiting room, I got right in, probably because I was bleeding, and the whole hospital experience frankly struck me as about as good as it could be. I’ve been in other emergency rooms, and Enloe is as good as the best, which is very good indeed.

Most institutions include jerks and dummies, and if you have enough contact with it, you will find one or many examples, with the occasional full-blown asshole. In the last year or so I’ve been to Enloe many times for various reasons—only that one time as a patient—and I haven’t found even one jerk or dummy, much less an asshole.

In fact, without exception the people I’ve dealt with at Enloe have been outstanding for their competence and compassionate good cheer. Management is likely a different kettle of fish, or maybe a horse of a different color, but the caregivers are terrific.

One comment so far

  1. Jim Bain says:

    In another 6 days, I’ll have been retired a year. In many regards, I’m still adjusting & still not sure how that’s working out. I started working at 14, worked 50 years; ought to be enough. My longest & last (and most rewarding) career was as a Physical Therapist (some said terrorist), and the last dozen or so years of it at Enloe. Things in the last several years did indeed improve dramatically in the hospital, a sweetly ascending curve of quality patient care. Much of this was accomplished by the present leadership, led by Mike Wiltermood. I’ve little respect for CEOs in general, but this guy I respect & like a lot. The man talks straight, honestly, and without pretense.

    The prior top bunch that put Enloe into a nose dive were power-trip phonies, politicians with no real commitment to the avowed mission. Things have come a long way since, and I was glad to leave in an uptrend. However, there are indeed some crumbs, bums, and outright assholes at every level, including caregivers. But much less than during the reign of the miseries. When the Major Assholes left, lots of the minors followed of their own volition, perhaps sensing an increasingly bad fit.

    Thanks for the many fine columns. You’ve a style that often reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut, of whom I was a great fan. He also had a talent for telling simple & obvious but widely denied truths with much wit, charm, & humanity. My all-time favorite of yours is currently “Nice Guy.” That column could replace nearly the entire History & Political Science departments at CSUC. Just have multiple copies of it laminated & available on the dept. doors with instructions to students to read it thrice daily and write an essay on it at the end of term. Voila!

    Thanks also for the “Chico Silly Council,” who obviously delight in the title, as they continue to labor mightily to live up to it. I am glad to be just outside the city limits, thus unable to vote in city elections, and can avoid sharing the blame.

    Prayers for your wife & yourself. Been there. Hurts. Being intellectually prepared for major unpleasant events does not diminish the emotional impact & damage.

    Thanks again for your talent, honesty, and taste. Keep writing!

    Jim Bain

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