Healing After a Burn

Part I

During the drive home from the Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center, Seth is awake and talkative despite the morphine floating around his system.

Considering it is hours past bed time, I marvel that my boy is still awake. Anne greets us as I carry Seth, who is now wearing green hospital pajamas, into the house.

After hugs, Seth and I prowl for food. After all, this adventure started after my boy spilled scalding soup on his chest, arm, fingers and lap. The only food we had while at the hospital were some graham crackers and potato chips.

As Seth eats, my wife and I discuss next day plans, which include Seth’s expected school musical solo. Seth indicates a desire to perform.

The next morning, Seth wakes up about an hour late for school. We take our time getting dressed, because I need to apply Bacitracin to the first degree burns not treated at the hospital. I give Seth some Motrin for pain, before picking out clothes that will minimize chafing.

A short while later, I’m talking to the school nurse about providing Seth with Motrin and Bacitracin later in the day. Apparently, for her to do that, I need to run out to the drugstore and provide her with unopened containers.

Alternatively, she says I can just come back and treat Seth myself. (What’s the point of a school nurse again?) I walk Seth to his class and hand a doctor’s note limiting play to the teacher.

About an hour before the concert, I return to the school to treat Seth. He’s wearing elephant ears cut from paper plates on his head and a tail stapled to his gray-dyed shirt. So cute!

I take my boy into the bathroom to apply the Bacitracin. Except for the mummy outfit under his clothes, Seth seems as normal as ever.

After collecting my mom, wife and Lael, we find our seats in the auditorium/lunch room. I chat with parents I know, explaining what happened to Seth less than 24 hours earlier.

The kids come out and the show, “It’s a Jungle Out There,” begins. Because of where Seth is standing and the angle of the stage, we strain to see him during the early part of the show.

As the musical approaches the end, Seth walks up to the microphone and sings his two lines in a clear voice. Seth is more on key than any other child. (Seriously.)

He should be good; over the last few weeks, I’ve repeatedly made sure he practiced his two lines:

“Ev’ryone needs a friend to talk to,
Someone who understands.”

Here’s the rest of the song, sung by other classmates:

“Ev’ryone needs a friend to dream with,
Someone to share your plans.

Ev’ryone needs a friendly welcome
When you’re all alone.”

Good friends will make you feel at home.

A few minutes later, we heartily congratulate Seth on his performance. My boy finally admits his stomach hurts.

A few hours later, Seth engrosses himself in Wipeout Pure on my Play Station Portable as I drive him back to the Burn Center. The doctors need to make sure the AquaCel dressings are adhering properly. If not, then there is a chance the burns are deeper and more dangerous.

The visit goes quickly, but because some of the burns that were not covered with AquaCel seem worse than first seemed, the doctors add AquaCel to additional locations. That means I must return the following day.

Although we get home earlier that night, Seth sleeps much longer into the morning. In fact, he doesn’t get to school until after 10 a.m.

After returning to the Burn Center that evening, Seth faces an unpleasant surprise: some of the AquaCel pads have moved and the gauze-like wrapping has become stuck to the burn areas. For the first time since the original injury, Seth is in a lot of pain.

I let Seth play BrickBreaker on my Blackberry as a different male nurse uses tweezers to pull the cotton strands out of his wounds. The distraction – as well as some Tylenol with codeine – doesn’t work that well. (In subsequent dressing changes, I let Seth use the PlayStation.) The nurse teaches me how to remove and dress Seth’s injuries myself, since we don’t have to return for several days.

The next morning, Seth wakes up at his regular time and experiences his first normal school day since the injury. After classes, Seth goes to a Pump It Up birthday party in Scottsdale and, except for the gauze sticking up around his shirt collar, he’s just like all the other kids.

It’s going to take a while longer, but I think Seth is going to be just fine.

5 thoughts on “Healing After a Burn

  1. Brendan

    God, my son accidentally dropped a microwave heated cracker laced with peanut butter on my daughter’s thigh. I was deployed at the time (military). It killed me so I know what you went through brother. Third degree burns on that beautiful girl. You are a good dad. Keep it up.


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