"Oh-oh. Finger casserole?"
That's what a sympathetic Facebook friend commented after I posted this photo from last night's weekly Slovenian dinner.
The dish was djuveč, a tasty meat-vegetable casserole. Probably of Serbian origin. Lots of vegetable chopping, but less challenging than many of the dishes I have made as part of my Slovenian roots cooking challenge.
That nice djuveč was safely in the oven when I managed to drop our heavy mattress on my middle finger. I was changing the sheets.
The finger was only a little painful, but I felt weak in the knees when I saw it drooping at a sickening 90 degree angle at the first joint. I could straighten it out with my other hand, but as soon as I let go, it snapped right back.
I splinted it with a nail file while I waited for my husband to arrive home from work.
"I think my finger is broken," I greeted him. I pictured a long night waiting in the ER. So much for the nice ethnic dinner.
My husband suggested I check to see if my doctor's office was still open. Luckily, they were.
Good news and bad news. Not broken. Just a torn tendon. The Physician's Assistant taped me up with a new splint and told me I had to wear it for eight weeks. Longer, in fact, than if the finger were broken. She gave me a stern look and added that I would risk permanent finger deformity if I removed the splint, even for a few minutes.
"But I'm left-handed," I said. "I'm a musician. I play the accordion. We have gigs coming up."
"You'll play the accordion again."
On the way home, I imagined the worst. I'd have to cancel those gigs. I'd be reduced to typing with two fingers, hunt-and-peck style. My patient notes would be even more of an illegible scrawl than usual.
And as for my cooking project? I figured I would be sidelined for the next two months. No more knives. No more kneading and rolling of dough.
First act after getting home: We had a glass of wine.
Second: I played a quick tune on the accordion.
Third: We ate the nice djuveč for dinner.
Everything seems to be working. Awkwardly, perhaps, but it could be worse.
The moral of the story: Balkan cooking is much safer than housework.
Causes Blair Kilpatrick Supports
Louisiana Folk Roots, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Habitat for Humanity/Musician's Village New Orleans, Doctors Without Borders