Scalding

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Monday was going great – with the absence of Chef’s looming presence, everyone was either in a talkative but pleasant mood or quiet and peacefully working. I even got to cut into my first ever batch of duck salumi (pictured above). But then I went over to the Hot-Apps corner to check on my poached potato slices and my day took a turn for the worst.

I had arrived just in time and my potatoes were ready to be pulled. Carrying the hot pan around the corner, I slipped, causing the liquid to slosh to the right. I overcompensated, splashing my left hand and wrist with scalding hot water. I screamed out but made the irrational decision to keep holding the pan. Pizza Guy J witnessed the whole thing and helped me drain out the remaining water so my potatoes wouldn’t overcook while I retrieved a new apron and took care of my arm. It happened so fast and all I could say in response to questioning passers-by was “I’m okay, I’m okay.”

But I wasn’t okay. My hand was turning a bright shade of red and the stinging pain was kicking in at an alarming rate. It was nearly 4:30pm at that point and I needed to haul ass to get my station set up for service. I ran upstairs to the office to get some burn gel and ibuprofen. With gritted teeth, I managed to finish setting up.

It was so HOT in the kitchen today that just standing there made my hand tingle and throb as the heat from the burn struggled to escape through my skin from whence it came. I ate my little serving of family meal perched on a shelf in the walk-in, the only place where my hand wouldn’t drive me insane. I ended up spending a lot of quality time in the walk-in, at least until Sous Chef J (working on Pastry) offered me use of his ice cream freezer. I tried burn gel with lidocaine twice and even yellow mustard before settling on keeping a third pan of cold water handy on my station for periodic dunking.

Now working one-handed, I was grateful for the slow dinner service, though it also meant that the four hours until 9pm (at which point we switch to the Late Night menu) felt like the longest possible. By 8:40 I had finished scrubbing and breaking down my station, ready to go home to Honey Bunny and what has proven to be one of the best “welcome to kitchen life” gifts anyone could have given me: the aloe plant from my parents that has been sitting patiently, forlorn and neglected, on our balcony for the past few months. Amazing stuff, aloe vera. It provided the most relief out of anything I had desperately tried all evening. And now I can finally sleep in peace. Praise the aloe plant!

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