Friday, October 22, 2010

Hot burn the baby

Dragging Isla's burn story out of the archives for enlightenment's sake. 
This is not the same version I wrote for BabyCenter. The accident happened four years ago this month. Warning: high word count and high drama.

On a not-so-ordinary Autumn afternoon, my baby girl, not yet walking but intent on discovering life above floor level, pulled a scalding-hot mug of herbal tea onto herself while my back was turned.

Looking back to that day, I should have seen disaster coming. It hovered above our home like a large, ungainly bird.

It was lunch time. With Esther, then four, watching a video, I plopped Isla, 11-months, into her high chair, and started putting dishes in the dishwasher. Isla stood up, leaned forward against the tray of her high chair, which wasn’t latched correctly, and dove like a skydiver, tray and all, to the wooden floor below. First came the colossal clatter, then came the bloated silence every mother recognizes, then came the wailing.

Esther, the ever-vigilant big sister, reached her first. “Isla, No, Isla,” she screamed, pulling her little sister into her lap. Isla was unharmed, just frightened. I knelt down and held them both until they calmed down. While down there on the floor, I couldn’t help noticing how dirt and dog hair clung to the numerous spots where something sticky had been spilled who knows how long ago. 

Once calm was restored, I resumed my frantic flight patterns around the kitchen. I gave Esther a tuna sandwich and Isla, back in her high chair, ate yogurt. While reaching for a tea towel in the bottom of our corner cupboard, I yanked open the sticky wooden door directly into my right eye.

“Jesus!” I shrieked, tears welling up in my eyes.

I shrank to the floor, frustration, pain and anger pouring out of my throat in pathetic sobs. Once again, Esther came running. She squatted down and put her arms around my neck.

“I’m okay Honey,” I lied. “I just need some ice.” There is something simultaneously heartwarming and embarrassing about being consoled by your own child.

Esther went back to her video, followed by Isla, and I stood at the sink applying ice to my bruised eye-brow bone. As I looked out the window,  I pushed the thought of bad things happening in threes to the back of my mind and switched on the electric kettle. Once the water had boiled, I poured myself a mega-mug of peppermint tea.

“You’re a spaz," I remember thinking, "Why can’t you just slow down, relax, and be with your children?”

Normally a black- tea -with- milk drinker, who has a tendency to forget things, my tea is almost invariably luke warm. Not that day. While I had been waiting for the water to boil, Esther called in from the living room for a glass of orange juice. I poured it and left it on the counter.

I carried my tea into the living room, placed it on the edge of the coffee table and sat down, cross legged, on the floor right next to it. I have no recollection of where Isla was at that moment. Most likely she was standing at the edge of the couch trying to get her big sister’s attention away from the TV screen. But she could have been right there next to the coffee table. I’ll never know.

Just as my rear end hit the carpet, Esther’s voice called out,

“Where’s my orange juice?”

Ever dutiful, to the point of being robotic, I switched gears, stood up and walked back into the kitchen to get the forgotten glass of juice.

In an instant, the time it took for me take 20 steps back into the kitchen, our home became the set for a medical drama.

The moment Isla’s cries reached my ears, I realized what I had done. Time slowed. I searched my mind for a rewind button and I bargained with an invisible power for a do-over. I pushed my way through a thick fog of disbelief to where my baby girl sat, screaming, in a puddle of hot liquid.

I picked her up, carried her to the kitchen sink and struggled to splash cold water on her wounds. I set her down on the floor and gingerly peeled her one-piece pajamas off her.

Melting skin rolled down her torso in thin sheets.

Afraid to touch her, I paced the floor like Jemima Puddle Duck, chanting, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do,”  while Esther, strangely calm now, stood by and quietly watched her mother and baby sister come undone.

Calling 911 wasn’t my first instinct. Calling 911 meant relying on other people. Calling 911 meant telling the world that I had put my baby in danger and lost control. I called 911, only after getting a busy signal, three times running, from the pediatrician’s office.

Within minutes of making that call, a local woman from First Response stepped into my kitchen. (I am in awe of these people.)

Another female first responder arrived moments later and asked where Esther was. I never noticed her leaving the house. They found her in the garden, picking cherry tomatoes as bright red and smooth as Isla’s new layer of raw skin, in the cool October afternoon. When they brought her back inside, she tried to give the tomatoes to Isla.
Leaving our sleepy village in an ambulance,  I watched the blur of green and orange leaves out the back window and assessed my crime, again and again.  Each time the verdict, “guilty,”  was delivered, I cried.

The emergency technician and the first responder, both mothers, read my mind.

“It’s not your fault, Mom,” they said. “Focus on your baby. She needs you.”

Isla’s pain was immeasurable. Her cries quieted each time the ambulance driver sounded the siren. In the midst of suffering, her curiosity remained. The women in the ambulance with me shared stories of their own domestic crimes as parents:  swallowed bottles of Advil, hot irons, broken glass.

In the ER, the nurses scrambled to get an I.V. line into Isla’s tiny veins and administer Morphine while I stood back in the corner, useless and guilty. The sight of me, the sound of my voice, agitated her. I imagined everyone in the room was wondering what kind of mother could do this to her child.

When the morphine finally hit her bloodstream, her crying stopped and her blue eyes took on the glazed softness of chemical bliss. She held tight to one of the E.R. nurse’s fingers and looked calmly into her face.  The nurse, who later told me she was pregnant, had tears in her eyes.

 When the Medevac helicopter came to take her to a burn center, one of the onboard doctors approached me:

“I’m a mother,” she said. “I want you to know that this exact thing happened to my son, except it was coffee. These things happen. ” Then she flew away with my baby, leaving me on the ground.

I had originally thought I was going. They told me I couldn't fly with them because of weight limits. 

I watched and wept as that big strange bird lifted off into the darkening sky. The sound of whirring propeller blades bouncing off the surrounding mountains was the exact same sound an unborn baby’s tiny beating heart makes when heard through a Doppler instrument.

While waiting for my husband, Ian, in the E.R. family room, an elderly hospital ambassador came in to check on me. She told me her son had set himself on fire with a road flare while his little sister looked on. He was 11 at the time. She had been in the house, oblivious to what he and his little sister were doing.

Just three hours from the time I poured that boiling water into the mug, four different women, all total strangers, had shared their maternal shortcomings with me. Their words, their confidence, the fact that they had survived these nightmares and still carried on with their heads held high, gave me a twinge of hope.

On the way to Boston life felt fragile. I was sure we were going to sail off the road into the dark river that snaked alongside us. Part of me wanted to. Ian drove too fast and I imagined he was angry and disappointed with me. I still don’t know if he might have been.

The accident played over and over in my head. I worried about Esther, who had stayed behind with my sister. I remembered, to my horror that at one point, upon seeing Isla’s melting skin, I said, “she’s going to die, she’s going to die.” I told Ian this and saw his mouth turn down.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I was scared,” I cried over and over again. Ian held my hand, firmly. in his. It started to rain.

My breasts ached by the time we reached the hospital. We found Isla meticulously wrapped in white bandages, sleeping peacefully in a stainless steel crib.  The original 101 Dalmations played quietly on the television. I hate that movie. Everyone calls each other idiots.

Isla woke up and whimpered. I struggled with the tangle of wires and I.V. lines and held her, sheepishly, to my breast. She nursed weakly, dozing off every few minutes. We stayed like that, in a rocking chair, for most of the night while the lights of downtown Boston shone through the rain-splattered window.

I was wearing sweat pants and an old, balding pair of Birkenstock clogs that don’t normally leave the house. Tomato seeds were stuck to the shoulder of my shirt.

The next 20 days were a blur of changing prognoses and excrutiating dressing changes. At first the doctors seemed to think Isla’s wounds were not too deep to heal on their own. As time passed, it became clear that she would need skin-graft surgery. Initially, I cried during each dressing change. Gradually I became the poster girl for stoicism, more coach than mother. 

When Isla’s wounds hadn’t healed almost two weeks later, she had skin-graft surgery. I held her relaxed, little body in my arms in pre-OP as the oral morphine kicked in. In the O.R., I held her foot and watched the anesthesiologist put the mask over her sweet face.  “Kiss her goodbye. We’ll take good care of her,” the anesthesiologist said as the nurses shooed me out the door. In the hallway, I held my big sister as three weeks worth of tears flowed from my eyes.

Today, Isla, my baby, wears my flaws like a badge on her chest. I am confronted with them every day, when I help her out of her clothes and see her scar, which forms a perfect map of Africa. I look at the proud new layer of flesh-colored skin and scar tissue and feel the bumpy skin on her thigh, the site where the skin for her graft was taken from, and I see an fragile, imperfect world. I also see an amazing display of modern technology. There was a time, before Shriners hospitals and other burn centers were founded, when a child might not have survived this severe a burn. 

And I know this accident, and this scar, won't define her. She's far too strong for that. But it will always be with her. Always. And it stays with me too. I'm trying to be as strong as my girl. Every day.


Laree said...

Ok, I'm finally delurking for this one! I've been reading this blog for a few months now. (I'm not sure where I found it, but I've been reading you on Babycenter since you started there!)

You've told this story before, and it's touched me. But you've never shared in such detail, and I've never cried so much reading it. Thank you for your strength. I know you don't feel strong going through something like that, but your words make others stronger!

And go give Isla a hug!

Betsy said...

Thanks so much for delurking. Telling the story again feels a bit gratuitous, but there is so much to be learned from it. Thanks again.

Brandy Smith said...

I, too, am delurking for this one. I've been a reader since you first told this story on your old column (sorry, i forgot what the name of it was.) I cried then and I am crying now. Your Isla is about the same age as my youngest daughter (she was born in Sept 2005) and I have always admired your strength to tell this story open and honestly. Thank you for sharing.

Liz said...

Oh Betsy, I had just begun reading your blogs when this happened. You disappeared for a while and then returned and explained. Your experience and your honesty touched me and way back then I prayed for you and your little Isla. So much time has passed and so much healing has taken place. It touched me to read about this experience again today and the raw emotions that all mothers can relate to.

Joy said...

I've been reading your blog since the very first post on Babycenter and on blogger for quite a while too. You are such an amazing mama, Betsy, and each of our children wears our scars. Not always from hot liquid, but because we are imperfect, we are human. I have always been hyper-vigilant about my kids and hot liquids, stoves, firepits, etc, but just a month ago, my youngest (almost 4) nearly grabbed a cast iron pan on the stove while I was cooking and standing less than a foot from him. Fortunately, I smacked his hand back at less than a half-inch from touching (which only wounded his ego) but I immediately thought how I could have been you. I, the paranoid mother who generally doesn't let the kids within 3 feet of the stove, nearly let her 3 year old grab a blazing hot pan just because I was tending to another pot while carrying on a conversation with him. You are such a strong mama to share this story again and remind us to be ever-vigilant. Thank you.

allison said...

I'm out of the lurking closet too for this one. I read this from you after it happened all that time ago. The story then gave me the icy cold lead feeling in my stomach. Now, it just makes me cry- again. But then, your writing always resonates with me, although this story is especially haunting.

Emma said...

Betsy, your last paragraph about Isla wearing 'your flaws' on her chest... that's simply not true! You generously reached out to me a couple of weeks ago when i was feeling so low, so let me say this very loudly! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!!

Of course you blame yourself, you are a mother and we blame ourselves for everything. You didn't intend to hurt Isla. We have all left hot liquids, sharp objects, medecines around without meaning to, only to rush back into the room to think "what if..?" Most of the times we get lucky, and then we forget about it. This time you and Isla were unlucky, and that's all there is to it. So yes, you'll always feel bad about it and wish it hadn't happened, but being a busy, distracted mum is not a flaw, it's just life.

Mommy of 7 said...

Almost a year ago (Nov 18th) my then 2 year old got my older daughter's sleep medication. I was a single mom of 3 girls living in a tiny 2 bedroom apt. We didn't have a medicine cabinet so I kept meds on the fridge. I shut the door and the bottle fell, cover popped off and pills flew everywhere. I had my middle daughter sit with the 2 year old so I could pick up the pills. Apparently I missed one. She had missed her nap that day so when she fell asleep right after dinner I didn't think much of it. Later on, when I checked on her I realized she was breathing weird so I rushed her to the ER. We spent 3 days in the children's ICU. I felt exactly the same way- a failure, a terrible mom, not worthy of having children, guilty. I know in my brain that I did everything I could-- keeping her out of the way while I picked up the pills, vac'd the floors, etc to keep her safe, but my heart does not believe it. A year later she's a very inteligent, funny 3 year old but those 3 days still haunt me.

Betsy said...

Thanks so much to all for your comments. Bringing out the lurkers, I love that word, "delurking" is so rewarding. Sorry to have to discuss such a heart wrenching topic to do it...

Betsy said...

Mommy of 7: That is truly scary. I'm so glad your girl is alright. It's amazing how dangers lurk around every corner. How can we possibly forsee every single one? We can't. There is so much luck involved. I'm not traditionally religious, but "There but for the grace of God, go I," has always resonated with me.

Megan said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. With tears filling my eyes I was completely entranced with every word of this haunting and poetic post. Wow.

... and then, like a good book, I found myself reading it again. But this time it was more of a character-driven (less of an incident-driven) story; -a triumphant one for sure, starring young Isla. Isla who grows up laughing, and among other things, discovering flower covered islands. Oh how time heals. Because Isla HAS healed now, so this time as I am taken back to the day that she was literally scarred for life, I am simultaneously thinking that this burned baby is one lucky little lady and here is why: She has got a good troupe that she is adventuring through life with. Her family is solid.

Heart of gold Esther with the
Ian's ever strong,stoic, and loving hand.
And finally, Betsy, you with your steadfast ability to stay in tune with the good life when the world around starts to spin too fast, (when the world itself is "spazzing") - "You're a spaz... why can't you just slow down, relax, and be with your children?" Words of wisdom. Beautiful.

Thank you for sharing.

Betsy said...

Heart -of- gold Esther. You've got that right. Thanks for reminding me, why is it we need constant reminding, of all the good stuff. It's as if we need an outsider to come in every afternoon, just when we start to flag, and say, "Welcome to your life. Let me point out a few of the things you are forgetting to be thankful for."

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

After the tears of my own that choked me up reading this story, I thought, with some kind of mentally-protective rational pragmatism, "Holy crap, people sure do have a lot of sh*t that happens to their kids!" Flares, glass, hot irons, Advil. Yikes. Makes me wonder how I got through what years I spent with my kiddos relatively scot-free. My deepest respect to you and other parents who have had accidents happen and survived them (or, maybe not survived them, but still survive, if that makes sense, and a "there but for the grace of god go I," or could have gone, kind-of-thing). And no -- it is none of this is a sign of bad mothering/parenting. Sh*t happens. It just does, and to the very best.

I love how Isla's badge looks like Africa, and instead of seeing this as "your flaw," like Emma writes, it is a testimony to how far medicine has come, and how she was able to live because of the time and place in which she was born and with the technology to have that happen.

Thanks for re-sharing the story, Betsy.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

P.S. Oh duh -- I had not read your comment above when I wrote what I did --
"There but for the grace of God, go I," has always resonated with me.

Heh! Well, guess we are on the same wavelength. :D

MT said...

I can't believe how big Isla looks in those photos. Such a beautiful girl. I remember I had only just started reading you and then you were gone. Then you were back with a bombshell! When you wrote the first time I was bawling at my desk. I think I even left to go the toilet to weep some more in private. My son is almost the same age as Isla and I was very good at projecting. This time I was prepared and I had to stop reading 4 times but managed to control my emotions. Your writing is very powerful. Ever since you first told the story of how Isla got her badge of Africa I have retold your story. Cautionary tale is only part of it (and an important part). The part that I find the most defining (as you found during the ordeal, these stories are unfortunately not uncommon) was your bravery in writing about it. Your honesty. Your compelling emotion and poetic insights. Not only am I convinced that your story has prevented some accidents thanks to your worldwide readership, but you have also allowed healing, hopefully to yourself, but also to the hundreds of other moms (and dads) who have read this and chimed in with their emotionally charged stories too. This is exactly the kind of benefit that BabyCentre does best where we can talk about our own lowest moments and know we are not alone and hopefully help someone else at the same time, until the trolls and crackpots join the thread that is. What I find exceptional about you is how you are able to talk about deeply personal and/or difficult things with such candour and such balance. Things that need to be talked about. Thanks.
(of course I also like the happy, "girls running in a field of flowers" blissful posts too...)

I am sorry if this was rather rambling, my head cold is making thinking tougher than normal :)

Kim Moldofsky said...

If you don't have a few scars by the time you reach adulthood, you haven't lived.

I popped over here thanks to your comment over on my blog. Though I don't follow through on my big ideas, I'm pretty good about helping other people do so. So drop me a note and let me know what's marinating in your mind!

portraitsimple said...

I came across your blog while browsing babycenter and I was so moved by this. As terrifying as it was, your vivid and candid account was also revealing in that life is full of accidents and as fragile as we are, we as human beings are bound together by our mutual appreciation for life and its many challenges--none of us can escape the possibility of such catastrophes but there is always someone else willing to offer support. Your story was so well-told and so real; and just as all those women comforted you with their own stories, this blog post is probably comforting many, many other mothers out there with their own feelings of guilt. And thus you've turned it into something good.

My own mother always told me, particularly throughout my years of teenage angst and feeling of defeat by the injustice of the world- "The universe is irrational." I'll always remember the day I actually understood what she meant. We are all susceptible to those events beyond our control and even beyond our understanding. Nobody can be perfect, but everyone can, in their own way, help others through being imperfect.

"If you don't had a few scars by the time you reach adulthood, you haven't lived." -Love it :)


Betsy said...

Thank you, portraitsimple. And you continue the cycle in offering your supportive words.

cbs111 said...

Betsy - I remember reading the original post on babycenter and thinking how wonderful that you could share with us. This post topped even that. It was so honest and raw. It was what every mother needs to hear. We're not perfect, but we do our damndest to be. Thank you for being courageous enough to share with us your imperfections.

Betsy said...

"We're not perfect, but we do our damndest to be." Thank you, cbs111. How true.

JediMom said...

Betsy, like Liz, I started reading your blog when this happened and you dissappeared and then came back. You have gone into so much detail here it is so scary, and sad, and brave all in one.

Mothers are a breed apart, aren't they?
When my son, then 5, burned down my house I had other mothers' calling me with similar stories. Along with grown men telling me their childhood stories of accidental arson.
Mothers get each other a lot better than dads' do I think.

Does Ester ever talk about that day? Her feelings or fears or even what she remembers? My baby, now 5, was just 2 when we had the fire, and she still panics whenever anytype of alarm sounds. At 2 and a half we visited a friend in the hospital and the IV beeping had her yelling, Fire Fire Fire. She really hated the EarthQuake drill that they had a few weeks back.
Children though, they are resiliant and can recover from a lot. The stories and pictures of Isla you've since shared have shown how resiliant she is.

Sue Kol said...

I remember crying the first time I read it on babycenter and again this time. I think it will definitely help someone who is going through something similar. You have a beautiful way of telling any story and this in particular, I can see is very close to your heart.

Steph said...

Oh, Betsy, this was as moving this time as it was before. What a gifted writer you are! Thank you for sharing in this world where there is so much pressure to be perfect. Now, where did that tissue box go...

Betsy said...

Thanks Steph. I am surprised at how many people were reading me back then, and still reading now. I didn't realize, I guess.

Victoria Hutt said...

This just made me bawl all over again. I remember when you posted this the first time, your girls are around the same age as my oldest boys. At the time, I read your posts out loud to my husband following your return to your blog after Ilsa's burn. Every time, no joke, I hold a hot tea around my babies, I think of you, and Ilsa, reminding myself to put it up when I leave the room.

Victoria Hutt said...

Turns out I had more than a small comment to write on this, I had a whole post. :)

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for sharing. I read you on Babycenter, but I wasn't aware of the reason for your daughters scar until reading this. When my youngest child was 18 months he burnt himself on the oven. He wasn't as badly burned as Isla, but he did need to go to hospital. His little arm was swathed in bandages for two weeks before it was healed enough. He's nearly 5 now, and has no recollection of what happened. But I remember it clearly and guilt and sadness still pierces me when I think of it.
Logically I know it was an accident. Emotionally, I will always feel responsible.
All the best to you and your family.

Tristan's Mommy said...

I am an avid poster on Baby Center and I somehow clicked a link and found your blog. I am glad that I did as I am engrossed in your writing!

After reading your article, I just wanted to share that I am a survivor of almost the same accident your daughter went through. I was 6 months old in a walker in the kitchen with my mother. She turned around and bent down to pick up my toy and I grabbed the low cord of a crock pot of boiling water, which gave my little body burns over 80% of my body. Thankfully, I only carry a scar on my shoulder. (I'm 27 btw) To this day, when my mother catches sight of it when I wear a spaghetti type shirt, she gets the painful reminder of the accident. I don't think the guilt will ever go away, but I've heard her tell the story so many times that I just wanted to share my side, as having gone through that as a child and not remembering anything and still loving my mother and loving the scar that will always be there.

Betsy said...

Tristan's Mommy: Thanks so much for sharing your story. I sometimes wonder if a mother's scars go deeper than her baby who was actually injured. I'm glad you healed okay.

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing this again, Betsy. Just as you took solace in other mother's admittance of mistakes, I'm taking a breath from reading yours. When my eldest was 3, we were swimming at a friend's home, when I asked another acquaintance to watch my 3 yr old in the pool while I took my 3 mo old inside to eat. I don't know how much time passed before my husband came running in, cussing at me, with our 3 yr old in his arms, who was somewhat blue and spewing water. I have re-lived that moment many a days... and regretted my decision to ask another to watch my child. We all make mistakes and we learn from others as well. You're a great mom, just keep loving your kids. Thanks again for sharing!

Unknown said...

Wow, Betsy, thanks so much for sharing. I had never read this before. I am crying my eyes out at your pain. I cook on the front burner. Honestly, my son is WAY WAY too close to boiling water every day. Thank you so much for sharing. I can bee a little to care-free about safety (read: REALLY) and just because we've always been lucky I realize I've really got to do a better job. I even trust my two year old to swim well in the bath while I run away (for 7 seconds) to get his towel. I need to stop doing things like that. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I think you are a GREAT GREAT mom.

Mammala said...

Thank you so much for writing your experience. I had to take my baby girl to the ER today after she pulled my hot tea cup down from a place I shouldn't have left it. I am racked with guilt and grateful at the same time that she is home sleeping in her bed tonight. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. Even when things aren't our fault (in this case I feel it is mine) we blame ourselves as parents. Sending blessings to you and your precious Isla. Thank you for sharing.

Betsy said...

Thank you for commenting, and be kind to yourself, Mammala. So easy for me to give that advice, rather than take it for myself.

Michelle Medina said...

An emotional read. It brought back some serious memories for me, only on the flipside, because I was a kid and my situation was different.
It's not burns I contended with/still contend with, but a Tessier Cleft that has seen me have 66 reconstructive surgeries thus far to close my face (as it didn't form properly in utero), and then build up bone structure with skin and bone grafts so that my face wouldn't collapse in on itself and kill me. It's named after Doctor Paul Tessier who performed the first surgeries and is extremely rare, I'm one of only between 50-56 people in the entire world with such a severe cleft).
I remember being 2-3 and screaming from under the mask: "Daddy!! Daddy! Daddy!!" as he left the operating room. I'm 27 now and though he's never said anything to me about it, I feel guilty for "making" him feel guilty.
When I was 9 and at a different teaching hospital, I finally had the fear scared out of me altogether.
The anesthesiologist was trying to make polite conversation as they stuck the sticky pads on my skin and got me situated just so on the operating table. . . Only, I wasn't ready for the mask when he had decided it was time so I sat back up and clung to him. The next thing I remember is what felt like a million hands grabbing me, pushing me back on the table and holding me down as he quickly shoved the mask over my face.
Since then, I've been the picture in picture perfect patient and I put the stoic in stoicism.
Reading your account, speciffically the part where they tell you to kiss Isla good-bye had me sobbing like a Baby.
I've posted on my FB page to remind my sister and friend to be careful with their Babies.
Thank you for posting.

Betsy said...

Michelle: What a horrifying story. You must be one tough woman for having to deal with that kind of medical dis-empowerment. I truly dread the day Isla has to go back for plastic surgery once she hits puberty because her skin graft will not stretch with her body. Having her cognizant of what is going on, of having to go under, will be a big challenge. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to read our story.

Marcotafia said...

I just "refound" you today -- I used to read your blog on Babycenter as well and was also touched then by this story…it is true that you can't blame yourself. I try not to every day as well when I see the scar right next to my 9 yo daughter's eye that she got at age 4. She climbed up a chain link fence in her soccer cleats and fell, hitting her head on an exposed sharp edge of an irrigation box. I had seen her doing it, told her to get down, turned my back to get a phone number from another team mom and it happened…. Blood everywhere, not sure if her eye was OK, I tried to stay calm but it was really hard. Several years later my daughter sheepishly told me she hadn't fallen -- she jumped! I guess I wasn't the only one who felt guilty…. I'm glad you had so many mothers telling their stories and making you feel better; another time when my older daughter got hold of a bottle of Goo-Gone and I think drank a bit, the hospital staff was so condescending and preachy to me they just made it worse.

School bags said...

What an experience. Coincidentally, I was just reading up on burns the other day because- that's just the sort of knowledge every adult needs to have. You did the right thing by immediately soothing the burns with cool water. You did the right thing by calling for help.

Jenna said...

Thanks so much for delurking. Telling the story again feels a bit gratuitous, but there is so much to be learned from it.