*Warning*- This may get graphic.
My post today will not include any recipes or food pictures. Nor will there be any travel stories or tales of spring foraging.
There was a terrible accident at work that resulted in me spending two weeks in the hospital.
During dinner service, someone dropped a deep pan of braised meat that had just come from the oven, and all the liquid and meat spilled onto my legs. The result was deep 2nd and 3rd degree burns covering most of my left leg and half of my right. I was rushed to Mass General Hospital were I spent two weeks undergoing severe burn treatment and full skin grafts over all of the burn sites. The pain I have been through in the last couple weeks has been incredible. I’m not even sure where to begin in describing it.
A friend of mine was saying the other day how she just keep thinking “You went to work one day and didn’t make it home.” It is still mind-blowing to me that even as I arrived in the emergency room I thought I would be in and out. I thought the doctors would put some cream on me, wrap my legs and send me home. Instead my burns were monitored for 4 days because apparently burns need to mature before you can tell how bad they are. Then I was informed I would need full skin grafts over all of the burn and that they would take the skin from somewhere else on my body to cover the burn sites. They also gave me the option of using pig skin, which as a chef was compelling for a moment. Oh how that would have changed the meaning of “You are what you eat”.
After the skin graft, I was ordered strict bed rest for 7 days. I spent 7 days laying in a hospital bed, after the 5 days I had already spent in the hospital mind you. I’m not sure if any of you have spent any amount of time laying in a hospital bed but its pretty miserable. I think one of the few things that saved me was the food that was brought in for me by my friends. So at least I can say that I didn’t have to live on hospital food for 2 weeks! Also during this time and throughout my entire stay in the hospital my burns were treated with a silver nitrate solution that was arguably the worst part of the whole process. Every day, twice a day, a nurse would come in a soak my burns and bandages with this nitrate solution that when applied felt as though they were burning me all over again.
I was finally released from the hospital last Tuesday. I am still working on being able to walk. It is very difficult as both my ankles were completely grafted. From my feet to my upper thighs is a patchwork of skin, colors and textures and most of both legs are numb. When I put my feet on the ground for any length of time my feet and ankles double in size. There are still surgical staples in the grafts that pull every time I walk. But I am trying to stay grateful that someday I will walk normal again. I know that there are people who go through worse than this.
I took photos of my legs throughout the whole experience. From the first night in the ER until a few days ago, I have been tracking the progress of recovery through pictures. But I have to say that the physical recovery is much different than the mental recovery. While is was in the hospital my mind went to some pretty dark places. I felt a lot of anger, resentment and hopelessness. Even now I am having a hard time getting over it. Even though every day is better than the last as far as my physical recovery goes. I think it may take awhile to recover from the trauma mentally. My biggest lesson in this is forgiveness. When all this was at the hand of another how do you learn to forgive even if it was a complete accident? Even when I know in my heart this was not done on purpose, it was a true accident in every sense of the word. It’s something that I will continue to work on. Along with walking and daily bandage changes.
One day at a time….