|One month after the accident. The worst burns|
are to the right on the middle toes.
They gave me morphine for the pain. I expected it to send me into a blissful, pain-free state. Okay, so I don’t know much about pain meds, never having needed them before. What it did do was make the pain manageable. It also made me nauseous and lightheaded. Morphine makes most people feel warm. This is a symptom of an allergic reaction that I didn’t notice. I was cold because the staff didn’t want to cover the burns until they were cleaned and treated, which couldn’t be done until the doctor gave the go-ahead and the meds took effect. The doctor’s go ahead was delayed because she had to fill out federal forms before treating her patient. Ironically, one of the dangers of burns is hypothermia; this is one of the reasons one you put dry bandages on burns.
There was talk about sending me to the burn center at Michigan State in Ann Arbor because of the large burn area. There was also talk about sending me home. I didn’t want either, and was put in a room for observation to see which option was best. The next day I was admitted at the small hospital where I’d gone to the ER room and my regular doctor pooh-poohed the idea of going to Ann Arbor. During her morning rounds was when I got my first glimpse of my right foot. The blisters were huge, gray growths that looked like some sort of alien fungus. Unlike blisters elsewhere, they remained intact. The doctor said to leave them unbroken as that way they would remain sterile longer. I was still on morphine and feeling very little discomfort, except for continuing nausea. By noon the morphine was pretty much out of my system and I was taking only Tylenol. The nurse was urging me to get up and move around. I was released the next morning after my spouse received instruction for changing the bandages. I was appalled to learn that I'd gained fourteen pounds while in the hospital, from fluids to replace those lost from the suppurating wounds.
I was delighted to be home instead of going to Ann Arbor, except that meant dealing with the dogs. Sam especially missed his mommy and was all over me, especially tending to step on that foot! It’s kind of amazing that the blisters didn’t pop until a day or two later. Even then there wasn’t much discomfort. That came two or three weeks later in the foot, after everything else had healed. The burns on my foot are deeper than elsewhere. Sometimes it feels like an electric volt is passing through the burned area, but it’s not a constant thing. I theorize that I was so focused on the burns on my body that the ones on my foot didn’t get enough cold water treatment immediately following the accident. Or maybe more water hit them. Anyway, I still can’t wear shoes even though those burns are healing well.
The entire incident has opened the question of what would happen if professional medical treatment hadn’t been available. Raw honey is supposed to be an excellent treatment for burns. We don’t have any on hand. How would I have dealt with the pain? How about a supply of bandages for emergencies? Riley says one of the best sources for this sort of information is Backwoods Home’s anthology "Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide." Do you have basic first aid training? Do you know how long it would take for an ambulance to reach your home under even the best conditions?
Without immediate treatment for my burns (getting into the shower), I probably would have wound up as a major burn victim at the U of M burn center. That’s scary. Professional care is terrific when available, but when it isn’t right there, right now, it’s the individual’s responsibility to see to his/her own needs. How prepared are you?