Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sane and safe or not really?

On July 4th, we had some friends over.  We set up our blow up pool out back, made some good food, had a glass of wine, it was a great time.  L *loves* fireworks.  They are one of her favorite experiences in all the world.  Every year, we have purchased a $50 box of fireworks.  This year was no different.  Our neighbors buy together and blow them off in the middle of our cul-de-sac and everyone has a good time.  In the package we purchased came 6 packs of the safe and sane sparklers along with a few other fun fireworks.  When dusk had drifted in, we headed outside.  We set up our chairs and got the fireworks ready to be lit.  We had our bucket of water all ready, too.

We light a few, our friends are taking pictures, it's a fun time!  It was our first 4th of July without the chickens and although that felt a tad weird, it was still going so well.

Then, it was our turn to have a sparkler.  They took FOREVER to light.  We ended up lighting three at a time because it was such a hassle with this package of sparklers.  L and I have ours and we're writing our name in the space in front of us and then again on the sidewalk just like we did when we were kids.  I look over at L and she has the biggest smile on her face and it just makes my heart beam.  Our friends are smiling and all was well.

My sparkler is done, I'm walking to the bucket of water to throw it out and it decides to shoot out it's sparkles one... last... time.  In the direction of my skirt, which promptly lit on fire.  Yeah, on fire.  As in, I was on fire.  I thought it was just a little thing so I began to pat at my leg with my hand thinking I could get it out before it started to spread.  My skirt, which was made of cotton, erupted into flames.  In a panic, I kept patting my legs thinking I could get it out.  L, who was standing next to me, started to get concerned.  No one really knew what was going on.  In a matter of seconds, my skirt was in flames.  People were yelling at me to get on the ground and roll.  In my panic, I started spinning.  I was screaming.  I could only feel the pain of the flame and how hot it was on my skin, I couldn't get it to stop.  One of my friends, who was there with us, finally realized that I was basically in a state of holy effing shit and grabbed my skirt and pulled it off of me.  I fell to the street, hitting my back and the back of my head.  I didn't feel that until a few days later.  All of our neighbors rushed over.  I was crying and screaming.  I had one on each side.  Someone called 911 but I don't know who.  I couldn't see L or our friends.  So many people had their cell phone flash lights on, and I remember thinking that I hope no one was taking video!  I also remember thinking that holy shit, I just became a fucking statistic!  And I wasn't even drunk!  We hadn't had a glass of wine since two hours before this all happened.  I also remember thinking that my right hand had been melted.  It hurt SO BAD.  They forced me to look at it and I was so afraid.  Luckily, it wasn't melted, just burned and blistered.  I kept saying - 'how am I going to sign, how am I going to teach'.  Shit, how was I going to type or cook or write or do anything??  I'm right-handed and my right hand had been engulfed in flames not 10 minutes ago!  For some reason my hand hurt, at the time, worse than my legs.  I think it may have been from someone placing wet towels on them to stop the burning.  I didn't care, I was grateful.  Having only my hand to concentrate on helped me calm down.  A little.  I would be calm for about 30 seconds and then freak out, especially because I couldn't find my wife.  She'd show up in my line of vision only to disappear again.  I couldn't see our friends, either and that freaked me out, too.  I had no one familiar or close right there, even though they were RIGHT THERE, I couldn't see them.  None of them left my side for a second. 

The ambulance came and because of the location of the burns, I was taken to the closest hospital that had a burn unit.  It took L a few hours to get to me because she didn't know where I had been taken.  By the time she had arrived, they had already scrubbed the sloth off and wrapped my legs in medicated bandages.  I was sleepy from the pain medication but could feel my legs.  The burn was a pain I will never forget.  I had second degree burns on my left and right leg and on the fingertips on my right hand.  Yes, it could have been much worse.  I was told that numerous times.  I'm grateful that my entire body wasn't engulfed in flames.  However, it does not take away from the fact that I was on fire.  From a sparkler.  That I thought was out.  That was labeled safe and sane.  That we give to our children. 

It has been two months since that night, exactly.  My fingers have healed.  My left leg has a small scar.  My right leg, though, will probably take months to heal completely.  It is much better!  The nightmares are few and far between now.  Much less than before.  I can cook now without feeling freaked out about the flame on the stove.  I'm sure it will take some time to be able to be around a fire, though.  One thing I know for sure.... we're never buying or lighting fireworks in our front yard again.  Ever.
After the first bandage change.  Hurt like hell.

Two days after the incident. 

After the second bandage change.  These happened every two days for a week and a half.

These are blisters that would eventually pop and peal away to baby skin on my finger tips.

Much better. This was after a few weeks. They are all healed up now. My pinky is sore sometimes because it was the worst.

Taken yesterday, the 3rd of September.  Two months since it happened. 

My left leg almost looks normal again.
My point in sharing this is to just be careful.  You never know when some freak accident is going to happen.  We weren't drunk.  We weren't careless.  It just happened.  Thankfully, I changed my shirt before going out front, otherwise that would have been in flames also.  Thank goodness my friend had the mindset to get my skirt off.  I am eternally grateful to him and to his lovely wife.  They both stayed with our dogs who were probably more freaked out than they have ever been.  I got to come home that night to yummy cheesecake but couldn't enjoy it because of all the pain medicine I had been given.  Sadly.  But I got to come home.  I didn't need a skin graft.  And my leg is healing. 

Until next time... ~L