Dealing with 3rd degree hand burns (an update on Baby Brother)…

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Thank you all so very much for the prayers, comments, well-wishes, and more! Dealing with these hand burns is NO fun, but it is wonderful to have such a great support system! Since so many have asked about everything, I thought I’d give a little update to let everyone know how things have been going. I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks already! (For those not familiar with the back story or what happened, you might want to start with this post about the accident.)

The short answer to all the questions is that we’re hanging in there and things are headed in the right direction! But, of course, I’m not going to leave it at that! 😉 Just like with anything like this, some moments are completely ok (as if nothing has happened) and other moments are just completely awful. The first few days at home and the beginning of last week were especially unpleasant. So, almost entire days have been spent much like this… image2Yet, there have been days and moments where if you didn’t notice the “sock puppets” over the bandages, you wouldn’t even know anything was wrong with the little guy! The resiliency of kids truly is amazing! image3But, no matter what kind of day it is, the worst parts are the dressing changes. And, unfortunately, the doctors want them done twice a day. I can’t begin to explain how not fun it is to basically begin and end each day with that task. I’m afraid this will sound overly dramatic, but it truly is like torture – for him and for us. I don’t know any other way to explain it. Now, close to two weeks in and I’m finally getting to the point where I’m not crying through it. But, it continues to be such a strange battle inside my head…logically, I know we have to do it and I know it’s helping in the long run. But, my heart? It seriously takes every rational thought in my head to not just scoop him right out of the bath and stop the process (and now with that, I’m crying again). It’s gut-wrenching. He screams. Horrible hysterical screaming & crying (that sounds much like he did the night it happened). Truly, it’s heartbreaking.

The whole process is rather involved and takes about an hour each time. It starts by giving him his meds (tylenol with codeine). Then, we head up to the bath where he gets to play for about 30 minutes before the torture begins. The water helps soften the dead tissue so it will hopefully come off more easily. Thankfully, he hasn’t been opposed to doing the baths. He still enjoys splashing and playing…until the unpleasant part begins! image4Part of the process also involves getting all set up for the new dressings. That requires gauze, Silvadene ointment, some mesh burn netting stuff, and a splint for his right hand (to avoid contracting). He is really, really starting to get sick of the splint! That’s the very last step and he is always SO upset while I’m taping that back on his hand! 🙁 Burn dressing change suppliesThe real torture comes from debriding the burns. All the dead tissue (which looks sort of white-ish) has to come off before the real healing can occur. The ointment we put on the burns helps that dead tissue loosen and slough off. But, we have to help things further by gently scrubbing the burns with a wash cloth. That’s where the torture comes in. Ugh! It’s so hard! Because the burns are 3rd degree and deep, there is a fair amount of dead tissue that needs to come off. This photo shows what the burns looked like a little over a week ago. I know the quality isn’t good (and it’s hard to look at), but it sort of shows the extent of the burns and the amount of dead tissue. The biology teacher in me felt it was an important to include a picture to give you a feel for what it looks like….3rd degree palm burnsAll that leathery/glossy white-ish stuff is the dead tissue and there is a lot because it’s deep. Thankfully since that photo was taken, a lot has come off. In fact, at our follow-up appointment last week the doctors said that things are definitely headed in the right direction. But, the bad news is that they wanted us to be more aggressive in trying to get the dead tissue off because there still is a fair bit. BLAH!  His palm on the right hand and the back of his middle finger on the left are by far the worst. Both have a considerable ways to go. That’s where the fact that they’re deep burns comes in!

Burns are just such a bad injury and they take so long to heal. The doctors said that we are probably looking at another 3-4 weeks before everything will be mostly healed. Then, he will probably have a therapy appointment or two. There are a few places where the burns cross creases (two finger joint creases and his palmar creases), which are really at risk for contracting. So, between the splint and therapy, we’re hoping to avoid any long-term limited mobility.

So, that’s where things stand right now. We’re just taking things day by day and hoping that the debriding torture will soon be done. I have my fingers crossed that it will be by this week’s appointment. But, I’m not sure we’re quite there yet. Thankfully though, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and all should eventually be well. We appreciate all of your prayers, good thoughts, and support so much!

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I’m Sara, a mom to three adorable boys living in the Arizona desert. As a former teacher, I love sharing my passions with others. So, have a look around for creative inspiration about cooking, creating, celebrating, traveling with kids, and more everyday mom endeavors!


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12 Responses

  1. As awful as it looks , it really looks better than I expected, You are doing a fabulous job. Kids are amazing. Us adults would still be sitting around with hands held above heart level and moaning about EVERYTHING. So good to see him smile during tub play time. Big hugs to all, Mommy, Daddy, Big Brothers and your little trooper. 🙂

  2. I tear up every time I see pictures of that sweet little guy. It is no consolation right now, but going through this will make you a stronger mother. My son spent 9 weeks in the NICU when he was born. It was truly torturous to watch everything he had to go through. Thirteen years later and I have blocked the worst of it from my memory. HOWEVER, I came out of it knowing I could conquer any obstacle thrown at me as a mother. You will find that strength too. You will need it when you have three teenaged boys in the house. 😉

  3. Still praying for your little one and hoping he’s recovered and healed soon. Your an amazing Mama Sara! I’m so sorry you even have to go through this.

  4. Oh Sara, my heart aches for you and Baby Brother. I know it has been a horrible ordeal. As you said there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I pray that you will get there soon. Hang in there.

  5. Sara I am so sorry about your son. My baby (9 months old) just touched the BBQ this week. We find out more about his treatment Monday. How is your son doing now?

  6. Hi! I found this post searching for info on 3rd degree burns because the exact same thing happened to my baby boy. He burnt his hand on the side of the grill on the 4th of July. How is he doing now? Looks like you did a great job treating his wounds at home. Does he have any scarring? Mobility issues? Sorry for all of the questions. I’m just a concerned momma!

  7. Hi

    My daughter just had the same thing your son had. Im a wreck right now and feel horrible this happened to her. I looked everywhere to see what other moms experienced. How is your son now? How did the healing go? The dr told us my dr most probably will need skin graft surgery and I’m devastated as it will leave a big scar on her hand. Thank you for reading this.

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