Doctors Hospital and the Very Sharp Cheese Plane by
(309 Stories)

Prompted By The ER

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Until it closed in 2004 and the building was razed to make way for a new luxury high rise,  Doctors Hospital stood on East End Avenue two blocks from our apartment.

Opened in 1929 as a small, private hospital,  originally for maternity cases,  it was soon favored by celebrities and over the years counted Marilyn Monroe,  Michael Jackson,  and Eugene O’Neill among its patients,  while also serving our upper eastside neighborhood.  (See The Gurney)

One weekend some years ago  I was serving my family lunch when I went back to the kitchen to cut some slices from a large wedge of Jarlsburg.  But the cheese plane was very sharp,  I was careless,  and along with the cheese I sliced off the tip of my finger.

I wrapped my bloody digit in tissues and we all rushed out of the apartment and hurried down the block to the Doctors Hospital ER,  my son carrying my fingertip in the expectation that a surgeon would need it to stitch back on.

Then while my family sat in the waiting room,  I was ushered in to see the doctor.

The skin will grow back and your finger will heal perfectly.”,  he assured me,  tossing my useless fingertip into the trash.

Relieved,  and with my finger nicely bandaged,  I went back to the waiting room where I’d left my husband and son –  but they were no where in sight.  Rather annoyed,  I walked home and found them sitting at the table eating.

“How could you leave me in the hospital with my severed fingertip!”,  I demanded.

“Well,”,  said my husband between bites,  “since we couldn’t do anything about your finger and we were hungry,  we came home to finish lunch.”

“But don’t worry Mom”,  my son reassured me,  “before we sliced the Jarlsberg  we washed your blood off the cheese plane.”

I thought that was pretty cheesy.

Dana Susan Lehrman 

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: been there, funny, well written


  1. pattyv says:

    Your stories are the best. That’s why I always begin with you. I did the same thing once but not as severe. I didn’t go to emergency and took care of it myself. The tip of that damn pinky finger was numb for 5 years. Dana, Your family obviously believes you’re a resilient super woman. And your son always has the best response.

    • Aw Patty, you’re my best reader!

      Sorry about your pinky! Truthfully after all these years I don’t even remember which of my fingers it was.
      Since the cheese plane incident I’ve had several visits to several ERs but so far – thankfully – I’ve been able to emerge from them all intact!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    What a story, Dana! And sorry that the small hospital is no long in your neighbor (this is happening all over the country). But somehow, the attitude from the men in your family doesn’t surprise me (perhaps if they had to drive you home, they would have stayed, but this wasn’t the case). Glad you healed and at least Noah cleaned the blood away! Gracious!

  3. Dave Ventre says:

    Very funny, despite the laceration part. I’ve never suffered a cheese plane injury, but I have a definite respect (and a cool scar) for single-edge razor blades. Gina, on the other hand, was sent to the ER not long ago when she made the mistake of using her finger to clear some food from a stick blender w/o unplugging it. The tip of that finger will probably never regain full sensitivity.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Your story certainly made me smile. So glad everything turned out okay in the end–including the end of your finger!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Glad it tuned out well in the end, but while your husband and son made me laugh, bet you didn’t think it was very funny at the time.

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