Four days past as I ignored the devil growing in my elbow. Yes. The right elbow to be exact. Funny, how one can dismiss something like that by covering it up with a very large bandage. Only looking at the swollen, red creature abducting my ulna made it ache. Not looking was aided by the fact that the sleeves of my whites can’t be pushed beyond my elbows, making it impossible to check the status of my swelling appendage during the day. Little did I realize, I had a mini science fair project in progress under my sleeve.
Also curious, how we never appreciate our limbs when they function correctly because when they begin to malfunction, worlds begin to crumble. How is one supposed to lift a 40quart mixing bowl with a missing elbow? (No worries. The question was hypothetical. All of my limbs are intact… at the moment)
It all started when I came into work with strep throat (Shh! Don’t tell the Executive Chef OR the health department). Frankly, cookies don’t bake themselves and people don’t change their wedding plans due to sick kitchen help. Not that the lowly intern (that’s me) is at all imperative to the operations at Corporate the Giant. Still, extra hands always help.
I had my knife kit, as well as my tool kit (throat spray, advil, antibiotics) and I was ready to work. My illness revealed its ugly, shining face on the weekend, which of course, happens to be the busiest time of the week in the bakeshop. Several wedding desserts needed to be finished and plated, there was usual production AND another girl was already out sick, so we were already short-handed. Not working was not an option. I also WANTED to work. I like work. Work is baking. Real bakers keep baking, even when the going gets rough. I am Baker of Steal and Champion of Scooping Cookies at Corporate the Giant!
While the pastry chef made lovely cakes like this…
I worked on decorating plates and making les petits amuse bouche, while contemplating wearing the mask given to me at the hospital and taking several rehydration breaks….
My throat aches and fever began to dissipate. Meanwhile, I never anticipated that my aching extremity was the true concern. Worrying about a swollen elbow sounded absurd. It still does a little. Death by Swollen Elbow’s Disease? Really? Absurd.
I was encouraged to go to the hospital by family members and thank goodness because I need my arms for baking. They help in rolling out dough and things. Also scooping cooking. And I love cookies. Before this incident, I’d realized, but never fully appreciated the physicality of the kitchen. Its an element of work that I love, but its one that can easily tear you down, if you abuse yourself.
As it turned out, I have a STAPH infection in my ELBOW. Again, in my opinion, this is an absurd abnormality. I am now heavily medicated on three antibiotics (two for the Staph and one for the Strep), which are hopefully eradicating all demons from my joints…like Ghostbusters.
Lesson Learned: Listen to your body. It’s important. Don’t ignore your swollen elbow because it’s just an elbow. Elbows are important too.
I was also sent home from work. I suppose that even Baker’s of Steal need bed-rest.
Let’s all take a moment… Thank you knees and fingers and feet and toes and all functioning parts for allowing me to play, hug, lift sheet pans, squeeze piping bags, and bake. Dear Elbow, I apologize for not appreciating you fully when you were well.
I encourage you, dear reader, to also take a moment and thank your lovely limbs.