Cuts Like a Knife

I’m slicing a jalapeño when I smell the garlic gaining that right-before-burning bitterness that I want to avoid. Oh, those cliches, “haste makes waste” springs to mind. This little pepper under the knife has seen better days, and the recipe doesn’t even call for him, but his wrinkly countenance summoned me from the bottom of the vegetable drawer, so I’m a savior!

That slice on the diagonal, does it, and opens a lash across my ring finger, almost taking the tip off, before I drop the knife, howl, and watch blood seep. My husband jumps up (who gets to be savior now?), grabs a paper towel, escorts me to a chair, and says, “Are you going to pass out? throw up?” He knows me well, but no, I elevate and keen, ever the Sarah Bernhardt, and ask him to move the garlic off the heat. I am hoping to salvage our dinner.

It is after all, these small events that I regard as insurance against the big ones. We have finger bandages for this very occurrence, and my finger will heal despite the immediate emotional toll it exacts, fleeting in the scheme of things.

On my desk are three notifications from different health care providers regarding my annual appointments. I am healthy, but now that I have the time to be vigilant, I am. I have my physicals, my mammograms, and my monitoring appointments post hip-replacement, and they necessitate actual, rather than virtual, attention. More insurance.

The New York Times announces in bold that “A Record 5.4 Million People Have Lost Health Insurance” according to a recent study. This comes when I am safely—and I realize the irony as over-65 remains hard- hit by the pandemic—covered by Medicare.

Insurance is hard to come by these days. If only my slip of a knife were enough to protect everyone who desperately needs it.

6 thoughts on “Cuts Like a Knife”

  1. This piece of writing has so many layers of meaning. It is a generous thing to think of others when your own finger is bleeding and sore.

  2. Major “ouch”. As a senior also I am thankful for medicare. As the focus of this virus now seems to be shifting to those younger I wonder and worry about them. I see on the news so many taking foolish and unnecessary chances.

  3. Wow!!! I love how this piece evolved from a simple act to a huge idea. I often reflect on the fact that my dog, Lucy, has better health care than many people in the world.

  4. Patricia, those first two paragraphs are amazing. What pictures you have put in our heads! I can see the wrinkly jalapeno summoning you from the bottom of the produce drawer, the howl, the blood seeping, Sarah Berhardt. Oh my. Beautifully written, and not only that slice of your life, but also gratitude and a bigger picture of life. Thank you so much.

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