My Most Painful Experience
…or Why I Boycotted Pork
This story is completely true, and the names have not been changed to protect the innocent, except for where I forgot the names and just picked a nickname that describes the person.
Eight years ago, on a weeknight, I had come home after a stressful day at work. As a mom and wife, my work isn’t done at that point. I was getting dinner ready in our tiny little apartment kitchen. I decided to make a pork loin. We had one of the nice metal pans that can be used on the stove top and the oven. So I seared the loin on the stove and put in in a 400°F oven. I was rushing around cleaning and preparing the side dishes, and finally the main dish was ready to remove from the heat. I took it out using a pot holder, and sat the pan on the front burner of the stove.
It was now time to plate up the meal and eat, but the pan was in my way. So I simply grabbed the metal handle of the pan, yes, the one removed only minutes prior, from the super hot oven. I just want to say that the human body is amazing, but it is a shame that it took a whole second for my body to realize what just happened.
You may have burnt yourself before on an iron, or gotten your fingertips nipped by the hot toaster oven rack while removing your toast in the morning, but that does not compare to grabbing a blazing hot metal handle. I want you to know that I have a fairly high tolerance for pain. I gave birth to my daughter without as much as an aspirin. I would rather give birth to a fifteen pound baby wearing football shoulder pads than to ever burn myself like this ever again.
My skin hissed out its moisture, and my hand quickly stuck to the handle; not only had I grabbed the handle, but I had managed to pick up the pan a couple of inches before the horrible realization kicked in. I exclaimed an unexplainable sound. This was a sound of sheer pain, and this sound cannot be mimicked unless you are in pain. My husband quickly translated my desperate scream into, “Oh God, what have I done? I need help stat!” By the time he reached the kitchen, I had managed to “unstick” my hand from the handle and had my hand under cold running water at the kitchen sink. Tears were involuntarily running down my face, and I was saying, “How could I be so stupid?!”
My husband (who will from this point forward be referred to as “Byronic”) quickly assessed the situation, filled a bowl with cold water, put my hand in it, and had my daughter and me in the truck and on the way to the urgent care clinic in minutes. Once at the clinic, there was paperwork. Yes, I could have been there by myself, with all of my fingers dangling off my hands by their tendons and my eyes popped out of their sockets, and the receptionist would have still made me fill out the papers. After Byronic filled out the forms, I was taken to one of the back rooms. The nurse was incredibly sweet, she took my vitals and told me the doctor would be over in a couple of minutes. I kept my hand in the water until Dr. Indifferent A. Hole walked in. My husband remembers the man resembling a younger, darker version of James Earl Jones. I honestly would have rather had Darth Vader choking me with the Force.
So this man, and if there was a term for men that was like the “c” word for women, I would call him that. You know what? I’m going to make up my own word, this guy was a total munt! He gets the story, takes a look at my hand, and says, “That is a second degree burn. If it were charred black at all, it would be third degree. Have you had a Tetanus shot in the last seven years?” I was pretty sure I had, but I couldn’t think clearly enough, so I said I wasn’t sure. On top of the searing pain, I had to get a shot; I don’t remember being able to feel it though.
Since I cannot find the pictures of my hand, let me describe it to you. The skin covering my entire palm and fingers was wrinkled and white, this was not due to soaking it in the water, this is because my skin had been cooked. Anyone who knows anything about cooking or science, knows the heat doesn’t just affect what it touches, it can extend to the surrounding areas as well. Well, the tops of those little webs between my fingers and some of the skin on the sides were white also. My hand was practically one big blister. This is why Dr. Hole tried to see if any of the skin could be removed. Some of it fell off, which seemed to please him, but he wanted me to come back the following night so that he could remove more of it! Great!
Nurse Sweetheart came back in, and ever so gently applied burn cream to my hand and wrapped it with gauze. She handed my husband a container full of the cream, and a prescription for Lortab or something like it; I was surprised the doctor was actually concerned enough to write. She empathized with me, and told me they would see us at my convenience the following night.
We got back in the truck, at which point I was staring off into the dark and told Byronic, with all seriousness, “I wish you would punch me in head and knock me out.” I could tell he was torn. Sure, he could do it, but what would I do or say to him later when I wasn’t in pain? Needless to say, he didn’t do it.
We finally made it home, but hubby had to leave shortly thereafter to pick up the prescription. During that time, I was still in shock and in an incredible amount pain; all I could do was sit on my bed, and release the primal screams into my pillow. After he returned, Byronic handed me a pill and a glass of water, and settled onto the couch. He also called and left a message for my employer, because there wasn’t any way I would be able to type at a keyboard the next day. I then drifted off to “Sleepytime Painkiller Land”, where sleep comes in waves, and I wake up every fifteen minutes. Pain killers, along with anything else people enjoy, like alcohol, only brings me a slight sensation before it crosses over to the dry-heave sick feeling. Though I was still in pain, it wasn’t as bad as it had been initially, so I didn’t risk taking more than one pill that night.
The next day was fairly uneventful. I had to change the dressings and clean my hand. I will compare this task to rubbing a cactus wrapped in a venomous snake that is covered in burs, against your most tender and/or favorite body part. The time finally came though when I had to go back to see the doctor. I entered the clinic and there was Nurse Sweetheart;she quickly took me into another room and surprised the heck out of me. She said, “Look, I know how much pain you were in last night, and Dr. Hole wasn’t very sympathetic, so I spoke to the owner of this place and got permission to give you a shot of [happy juice] before you see the doctor. You have to act cool though, so the doc doesn’t suspect anything, can you do that?” Oh abso-effin-lutely! She gave me the shot and sent me over to the exam room.
In came Dr. Hole, and this time he had a nice pointy pair of scissors. He poked the tip under a piece of the tender white skin and snipped. I winced, and to that he said, “Second degree burns kill the nerve endings, so you aren’t feeling any of this.” I bit my tongue, because I wanted to tell him he was full of it, and that he had no clue what he was talking about. He removed some more patches of skin, down to the red rawness that’s the last step before one starts bleeding. He realized that the skin was still holding on pretty well, so he gave up, and left. The nurse came back in, and did everything short of giving me a lollipop, and told us we could leave. I stood up, and ahhhh, there was the happy juice making an appearance, and ooooo I had to put an effort into “acting cool” and walking straight. The rest of that night was a blur – a very nice blur.
Within seven days, after a lot of cream and gauze, and finally just bandages and finger cots, my hand was healed. That pork loin never did get eaten. It and the pan were tossed in the trash. I even abstained from eating pork loin for years. Yes, I know it’s silly, but I didn’t want the reminder. Today, just by looking at my right hand, one would never know what had happened. I think I have a higher resistance to heat with this hand, but that’s about the only difference. So do yourselves a favor, don’t sear your meat in the same pan in which you cook it in the oven; I would hate for you to boycott pork too.