On Being Burned

I’ve been burned – literally. And here’s what I’ve learned less than 24 hours later:

Lesson # 1: Buy a kettle that shuts off automatically

I was making ginger tea for my roommate Pip, who had a stomach ache. Our kettle is the kind that boils and boils until you unplug it. I forgot about it, and then I neglected to unplug it before I poured the water – at which point I don’t even want to think about how hot it was. It boiled over and spilled onto my stomach and left forearm.

“I’m buying you a new kettle. Consider it a pre-engagement gift.” – Mom

Lesson # 2: Don’t downplay your pain

Pip kept asking how I was doing and I assured her I was fine. So she went to bed, and I took 2 Advil, 2 cold showers, 2 cold baths, and iced my wounds with 2 frozen milk bags before realizing that maybe I wasn’t fine. Then I googled “scalding” and got scared. I had texted my parents, who called to see if I was ok.

“I really don’t want to talk to you right now. There’s nothing you can do for me.” Click!

Sometimes I’m such a snob.

Thankfully, they called back, and at that point in time I was sobbing. “I think I have to go to the hospital.”

“How are you going to get there?” They asked.

I took a cab.

A CAB? I know…

Lesson # 3: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

I really hate asking for help. It’s a pride thing. I am fully aware of this. I didn’t want to be a bother to anyone. I didn’t want to wake up Pip, my amazing roommate, to have her help me get dressed and come with me to the hospital. I didn’t want to call my loving boyfriend close to midnight, waking him from his sleep, when for all I knew the doctors would take one look at my burns and tell me to apply ice. So I called a cab.

While I was waiting in emergency my parents showed up at the hospital, and to be honest, this made a feel a little silly. Despite the pain (and I truly can’t remember the last time I experienced so much pain) I felt small, young, and a little foolish that my parents were meeting me at the hospital. I didn’t want them to come all this way for nothing. I don’t like being a burden. This goes back to pride.

Lesson # 4: Use caution with narcotics

The doctor who treated my burns (second degree – with a nice bubbly blister across my stomach) gave me some narcotics for the pain and then a prescription for 30 more.

Never again.

At least I hope I’m never again in so much pain that I have to take them. I laid in bed until past 3am. My body was sleeping but my mind was fully alert. I decided to go into the living room to get my book, but as I walked down the hallway I nearly fell over, and then I was certain I was going to vomit. I crawled back to my room on my hands and knees and remained in body sleeping/mind awake limbo until about 6am. The fuzziness hasn’t worn off 12 hours later.

Lesson # 5: Be Thankful

As I laid face down in a bath of cold water (which slowly became warm due to my skin) I couldn’t help but think of all the people who experience my pain or worse on a daily basis. I can’t imagine what life is like for a burn victim. I said a prayer for these people, and later in the night when the narcotics made the pain tolerable, all I could do was thank God that it had passed. I may very well have some large scars across my stomach and my arm, but I’m thankful for doctors and nurses and that I have a fully functioning body that will be restored to health.

Lesson # 6: The Sky is Falling! (No, it’s not)

I’m not as important as I think I am. And why do I think I’m so important? Oh yeah, pride. I woke up at 8am after very little sleep and got dressed for work. The bosses are gone for the rest of the week, leaving me in charge. Better go, because they need me. My coworker Alex took a look at me, asked what happened, and sent me home. “We can handle things today Natalie.” Riiiiight….humbled once again.

Lessons Learned

So my goals? To be humble, to ask for help, and to receive. I am not a burden, people care deeply for me, and they want to bless me. And I am certainly blessed!


3 thoughts on “On Being Burned

  1. Natalie! This was such a delight to read! I laughed and gasped aloud, sighed and smiled in knowing that asking for help is hard to do! Hope the burn feels better soon :)

  2. Amen to that and ‘thank you God.” But please, no more Emergency Room visits! Never hesitate to ask for help Natalie.

  3. Hope you feel better soon! I did almost exactly the same thing about 10 years ago. I had to go to the hospital every day for a week to have my bandages changed. The scars do go away!

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