I almost wish I hadn't started this story
but because I did, I need to finish it.
The burn unit gave us strict instructions how to care for Ian's face, neck, and arms. This picture was taken within two weeks of the burn. We had to vigorously wash Ian's arm three times a day with a special antibacterial solution. This caused Ian an enormous amount of pain because we had to hold him down in the bathtub and scrub his wound a special way so it wouldn't get infected. It took two people to do it properly. He screamed and screamed and screamed every time we did it even though we gave him pain medication before the procedures. As soon as it was wrapped back up, he would be OK. This was extremely difficult for me to do because I knew I was causing him pain every time I washed his wounds. That was heart breaking for me and Ian had an extreme fear of any kind of pain for many, many years. He especially did not like doctors.
I was instructed to wash his face and neck and apply Bacitracin and keep Bacitracin applied to it so it wouldn't get infected. I received a book for a wedding gift called "Let's Have Healthy Children." That book was a great gift. There was one entire chapter on burns and Vitamin E treatment. I read that chapter long before Ian was burned but I never forgot it. Uncharacteristically for me, I did not follow doctor's orders. I only applied the Bacitracin for about a day. From then on, I slathered Ian's face and neck as often as I could with Vitamin E oil. That stuff was amazing. Really and truly, it worked. His face and neck began to improve immediately and the effects of the Vitamin E oil was worth defying the doctor's order.
The burn unit doctors were very concerned about the burns on Ian's arms however. They were deep second degree burns and they said he might have to have skin graft surgery. We hauled Ian to the hospital every other day for two weeks. They debrided his wounds and checked the progress every time. This was an awful time for Ian and an awful time for me. The stress of not knowing if he would have surgery or not and the daily cleansing/scrubbing of the wound were a nightmare for all. After seventeen long days, they decided that Ian needed the skin graft surgery. Thus began the new nightmare.
Ian had the surgery and was in the burn unit for five days.
He was not a happy camper and it was very hard on me.
This normally happy toddler was
not much into smiling anymore.
The red port on the far right was for the administration
of antibiotics directly to the skin graft.
Three times a day for two more weeks we had to put him in the tub and cleanse his bottom wound the same way we had to cleanse his arm wound prior to the surgery. Two more weeks of intensive screaming. God bless that child.
Finally, finally, finally we could stop the cleansings after about 33 days total. Ian had to wear a special tight burn stocking on his arm and leg for about 2 1/2 more years so the skin grafts and skin graft site would heal well and lay flat.
He never liked having to have the stockings
put on but they were part of life.
As bad as everything was, life went on.
I love this picture of Ian here smiling and laughing.
We all adjusted, but I never forgot.
This is a picture of Ian's third birthday.
His face had healed beautifully as well as his neck.
I have been forever grateful that he
didn't need skin grafts to his face or neck.
He has a beautiful face.
The Vitamin E was extremely effective.
And he grew into a very, very handsome young man
with a very handsome face.
This was his senior high school picture.
And somewhere in Brazil is this very good looking missionary.
When we left the burn unit for the last time after about 2 1/2 years of treatment, I told Dr. Morris that if he ever saw me walk in the burn unit again that he should shoot me on the spot. That was a very, very hard time for me. I learned a great deal of things I never wanted to learn. I learned you can't let a toddler out of your sight. I always put pots on the back burners from then on out and always with the handles facing to the back. I was told that you have 30 seconds to make a difference in a burn, that's all. Those 30 seconds have to be used to the best of one's ability.
When Ian had his surgery, he was in the hospital for five days. I stayed with him but asked for no visitors. The guilt I had over his burn and not protecting him well enough consumed me. I didn't want to talk to anyone. The Sunday morning I was there, I went to the chapel for an LDS service. I was so depressed, it was really tough. The speaker that morning talked about the card game UNO. He said that sometimes when bad things happened, it was like a game of UNO. He said, "You have to play the hand you were dealt, you can't give the cards back." I have never forgotten that. I had wished Ian was never burned. I had wished I had gotten to him sooner. I had wished a hundred different things, but that speaker helped me. From that moment on, I knew I could not "undo" the burn. I had to live with it. Ian had to live with it for the rest of his life. I had to play the hand I was dealt on poor Ian's behalf and learn from it and learn to forgive myself.
The Lord helped me through that time. I learned that He loves mothers very much. I was grateful for priesthood blessings and kind people who helped me. I was and am grateful to a good husband who was a great strength to me during that time. And I am grateful that this wonderful son has healed. He didn't heal the way I thought he would or the way I wanted him to, but he healed and is well and is happy and always, always has my heart.