I can’t believe I’m writing this post right now sitting with Baby Brother in the hospital…again. (*UPDATE at the end)
It only takes a second…
We’ve heard that safety line so many times. Here in Arizona, we’ve heard the line as part of a huge water safety and drowning prevention campaign. But, it fits with so many other things too, especially where little ones are concerned.
It only takes a second for you to look away and an accident to happen. For us, it happened Monday night. We were enjoying the more pleasant Phoenix temperatures and grilling a nice dinner. The boys were outside playing while Daddy grilled – a scene that’s probably played out a hundred times before. He had the back of the grill blockaded off so little hands would be deterred from touching. The boys weren’t playing that close to the grill as we try to make sure they stay away. But, he looked away for just a second. It only takes a second.. and in stealthy toddler fashion, Baby Brother toddled right under the side burner/tray area of the grill and then touched the SUPER hot small side panel of the grill. Just a second of not watching…just a second of those sweet baby hands on hot metal. I will never forget the sound of the screams.
Just a second. I know how easy it is for stuff like this to happen. I know things can happen even when you are SO careful. I know things like this happen all the time. And I know that it could be so much worse. But, I still can’t believe it happened and everything that’s going on now.
His right hand was white in places and blistered immediately. So, I knew we were heading straight to the ER. Daddy held his hands under cool running water while I grabbed a few things and loaded the other boys in the car. I kept cold water soaked paper towels on his hands while we rode to the ER. There, they had us keep his hands in a bucket of cool water for another 20 minutes or so. Initially, I hadn’t even realized both hands were affected, though the right is much worse than the left. Then, they covered the burns in Silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene) ointment and bandages. The ER doctor told us to follow-up with our pediatrician the next morning, but the nurse suggested just going to the burn unit (she was right). But, the next morning I was able to get right in with our pediatrician, so I wanted to see him first. We have a rapport with the office and I trust him inherently. He looked him over, redressed the burns with more silvadene ointment, and sent us to the burn unit. It was amazing to see how much swelling there had been in just over 12 hours – his poor little hand was huge! After a LONG wait in the burn unit waiting room, we were finally seen. Everyone took an initial look at the blisters and thought the same as our pediatrician – severe second degree burns and after they popped the blisters we’d be going home (with follow-ups at the burn clinic). So, we held him down and tried to console him while they opened up the blisters on both hands. That was bad enough, but I knew as soon as they opened the first blister (the large one on his palm) that things weren’t good. The tissue was all white underneath (dead). There were 3 nurses present, an OT, and the Dr. While they were cutting everything open, statements got made like, “wow. these are deeper than we thought. 3rd degree. dead tissue, etc”. Then the Dr. told us that we couldn’t go home. With the exception of the small burn on his left index finger, all the burns are 3rd degree.
I pretty much lost it. I had held pretty strong through the MRSA ordeal, and even through the burn so far (except right when it happened). But, I wasn’t prepared for this one. I didn’t think we’d be admitted…no one thought it was this bad.
They splinted his right hand (to keep the burns from making his fingers contract inward) and bandaged the left. Burns can take up to 72 hours to show their full effect. So, it still could get worse before it gets better. And they don’t know how deep it is yet, which means he could end up in surgery. We’re praying that’s not the case.Ugh! So, that’s what’s going on here on the Mom Endeavors front. Lots of tears and praying. Needless to say, we feel literally sick about what’s happened.
He’s a trooper though. The resiliency of little ones is absolutely amazing. If it wasn’t for his big sock puppets, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. He hasn’t even had pain meds the whole time we’ve been here! Now it’s just a waiting game to see if the burns get worse or start healing on their own. Hopefully, we can stay out of the OR. But, either way, I’m grateful for the care he’s getting and thankful we live in a major city with this level of burn unit. Patients from Utah and New Mexico actually even get sent here to the Arizona Burn Center. So, I’m thankful that we’re so close and he’s getting good care. The pediatric team even brings in toys and things to keep them entertained & distracted! Thank you to all of you that have messaged, texted, called, commented, etc. We appreciate all the support so much.
Not long after writing this, we finally got taken back for the first big dressing change and consult from the pediatric burn doctor. We did the dressing changes in a big bathtub and I was so thankful they allowed me to be present. The doctor looked things over and said for their severity the burns are actually looking pretty good at this point. So, he said that if I’m comfortable doing the dressing changes we could go home. I was shocked. Honestly, I think even the nurses were surprised! Just like no one thought we were staying earlier the day before, no one thought we were going home today. We thought we were there for at least 72 hours!
A bit skeptical, I asked him a ton of questions (including about surgery) and he said that we could still end up in surgery a few weeks down the road. But, for now, he’d just like to do the least invasive treatment and see how everything heals on its own. He said that with little ones and palm burns in general, surgery isn’t necessarily any more effective than what we’re doing. Plus, often times, skin grafts don’t take well on such small little parts (like his little tiny finger burns). This whole process is a waiting game –waiting to see if the burns have reached their full effect, waiting to see how this treatment will go, waiting to see how the healing process will go. So, he said we could play the waiting game there or at home. I chose home! That’s what the hospital dressing change looked like (that’s me holding him). I considered going to med school and have all my pre-reqs done to be a nurse, so I got a little taste of what might have been today! 😉 The nurses taught me how to do everything on the worst hand. Then, they had me do his left hand on my own for practice. OT talked to me about the stretching I need to do with his right hand (which seems to be the most painful for him). Blah! But, we got to bring this sweet baby home in time for dinner! Honestly I’m a bit nervous about everything at home – having to do dressing changes twice a day, being the “bad” guys with the pain of the changes, avoiding infection, keeping the bandages on (he’s a pro at getting them off). It’s a bit overwhelming. But, I’ll take this stress over the stress of being in the hospital. We’ll be having regular check-ups at the burn clinic and if ay any point we’re concerned about his pain level, the way the burns look, etc, then they told us to just come on in!
So, while we’re not out of the woods in terms of seriousness and his healing, everyone is really hopeful that things will just continue well here at home! I know I’m certainly hoping that’s the case!