Sunday, September 18, 2011

When PEEPS Attack, or, My Visit To The ER

I am typing this one-handed. I tried typing two-handed, while avoiding using my injured left index finger, but ended up typing: So, rrerftg, then screaming: Ouch, FUCK!

So, as y’all know, I have been gone most of the summer, and barely seen Urban. This is the first weekend we have really had together at home, so we decided to stay in and relax. It was lovely last night, cool and breezy, and we wanted to enjoy the fine weather on our little farm.

We have this magnificent fire-pit:


We also had Halloween Marshmallow Peeps (Peeps are shapely marshmallows coated in sugar. When you roast them over a fire, the sugar caramelizes. It’s delicious):

The ghost did it

We didn’t think that putting the two together would land me in the Emergency Room at 1am. I mean, we’ve done stuff like this at our house without it resulting in the filling-out-of-forms:

flaming sword
This is a trained professional!


Saum breathes fire 1
This is just me

We settled in at the fire-pit for the evening. I really enjoy circling and poking at a fire, getting the logs just right for maximum temperature and aesthetic affect. After some satisfactory shifting and adjusting, I finally sat down next to Urban. The dogs lolled about, now and then furtively gnawing on a bit of stick from the woodpile. The only sounds were the bustling fire-noise, the breeze, crickets, and the occasional, faint mooooo from the cows over at Cow Pond. Farm sounds. I felt myself relaxing… the last three months of stressful school, travel and work slipping away into the Midwestern night. Urban & I talked and laughed as we happily began roasting Peeps.

I like my marshmallows done properly: they should be gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside. They must be cooked evenly. The innards should not be so underdone that they separate from the outer melty part and adhere in a sad, cold lump to the end of the stick (the shame!). The exterior should not be blackened or burnt, but carefully roasted to a rich, toasty golden-brown. Now and then I’d pull mine out of the fire and peer at it. I couldn’t see the little ghostly dude clearly, so I stuck my finger in it to see if it was done.

Sugar starts to caramelize around 320 degrees Fahrenheit. When marshmallows melt, they get sticky. The burning hot sugar-and-marshmallow-goop adhered to my finger.

I wiped it off. It felt like I wiped most of my actual finger off with it.

At first I was, like, oh wow, that one hurt. Urban, being the thinking one in our marriage, wanted me to go inside immediately and check out the damage in adequate lighting. I am the stubborn one. After some ceremonial fussing, delay and denial, I complied. It really did hurt. In we went, trailing Peeps, marshmallow sticks, blankies and dogs behind us. By then I was starting to feel sort of weird, like I might puke and/or pass out (not necessarily in that order). The tip and pad of my finger was dark red, blistered and swollen.  For such a tiny area, it seemed to be generating an excessive amount of sensation. I stuck it under cold water and took lots of deep breaths.

Urban wanted to take me to the ER. I was, like: Don’t be ridiculous, it’s not that bad; I’ll be fine in a minute. He gave me the look (you know the one) and pointed out –-rather unnecessarily, I thought— that when I sheared a sizeable hunk of bone off of my femur a few years ago, I said the same thing (I didn’t realize it was broken, ok? I thought it was just a bad sprain).

After a few minutes, even I had to admit that all was not well in Saum’s-index-finger-land. My protests began to sound whiny and half-hearted. Urban bundled me into the car, and off to the ER we went. I felt foolish, convinced the ER people would ignore and/or mock me. It wasn’t a very impressive-looking injury.

The ER folks at Maple Grove were wonderful. By the time we got there I was feeling shaky and ill. The pain was astonishing.

Tearing off a hunk of femur: 7. Dime-sized 2nd degree burn on tip of index finger: 9.

ER Doc: We can give you something for the pain right away, either as a shot or a pill.
Me: No needles. I have a thing about needles.
ER Doc: The pill will take awhile to work. The injection will help immediately.
Me: I’ll take the shot.

Our Lady of Morphine copy
Our Lady Of Morphine. 2002

They gave me a shot, bandaged up my finger, shared some sympathetic don’t-feel-dumb,-marshmallow-injuries-are-more-common-than-you-realize stories, and sent us on our way.

On our way out, we got to stop by the fascinating magical narcotics-dispensing machine. I was delighted.

This is really a thing!

So that was our adventure. I’m fine, or at least I will be in a few days. Urban is taking care of me (as usual). I’m happy it’s my left hand. And I’m happy that it’s raining today so I’m not missing out on riding or anything.

Oh, and by the way? Before Urban dragged me from the firepit back into the house, I finished roasting my Peep and ate the damn thing. It was perfect.

when peeps attack


  1. Poor Saumya! I think my fingers are experiencing sympathy pain....

    I'm glad your story has a happy Peep ending, at least. :)

  2. I am glad you didn't go into shock completely, that can be even scarier. Anything molten hurts, I have microwaved Peanut butter scars to prove it. Also, there are tons of nerve endings in your finger tips, hence the extra pain and shock. I hope you heal well and quickly.

  3. Ouch, indeed! Peeps can be EVIL. They give you that vacant stare and will you to eat them. They make me uncomfortable. People have chased me around with peeps. They really do give me the creeps! It's silly, I know, but so funny. I'm sorry the peeps "bit" you! I know how you feel about needles. When I became diabetic I had to learn to live with them, but those big ones they sometimes use are far more invasive and I'd prefer a big horse-sized pill any day or swallow liquid medicine over a big ass needle. This was an amazing story. I can just imagine you and Urban sitting at the fire, and what it must be like to share stories with you on a calm late summer night like that! Thank you.