[SIZE=“3”]This is a continuation of my and ModelCarMan’s fire & burns subject from page 18 of the Photos by Numbers forum above. I didn’t think it was appropriate to extend this subject in “Photos” because it’s not in context so I brought it down here.
Before I get to the two stories I mentioned, I just want to say something about my treatment. I had 3rd degree burns over 35%. That required 6 skin grafts over a period of 75-days. And that was nothing compared to some patients that were in there when I arrived and still there when I left. I can’t imagine what Leroy must’ve endured for his treatment and recovery process.
And another thing, I don’t know what they use these days to ward off infections during healing but in 1969 at UCH in Tampa they strictly used Silver Nitrate. That’s the same chemical used for mirrors, explosives and photo development among many other uses. At first sniff the smell is not too bad, that is before you’re immersed in the stuff for days.
For 60 straight days, I was either sitting in it in a tub with just my head & shoulders exposed or wrapped in bandages soaked with it in bed. When the wrappings started to dry a little the nurse would come in with a stainless pitched that looked like a Kool-Aid pitcher and pour more over me. I never want to smell that stuff again. I know Leroy checks this board and posts here once in a while so maybe he will expand a little on what they used to prevent his infections. I know his injuries were sustained later then mine (and much worse) so I would imagine the medical profession had moved onto something else by then.
Now back to the two stories I mentioned.
First the sad story. A young woman with three small children was admitted a few weeks after me. She had sustained severe burns in a car wreck out on I-4. She was on the passenger side of an old VW square-back (fuel tank in front) that her husband was driving when he hit a bridge abutment. He got out OK with minor injuries however, her foot had gone thru the rusty floor on her side and neither she or her husband could extricate her before the car exploded into an inferno from the ruptured fuel tank.
A passerby had a fire extinguisher and did what he could but she was burnt very badly by the time the EMS folks arrived. Then to top it off, she had yanked her leg so much in the ragged metal of the hole trying to get out it was decimated down to the bone so they amputated it right there on the spot.
I can?t remember the precise percentage of 3rd degree burns she had but I know it was up there. Treatable burn patients were two to a room but she was in isolation in the room right next to mine. I knew by the way things were sounding & going her injuries was fatal. Her husband stayed with her 24/7.
She lived for only three days.
The husband was devastated of course and blamed himself. I know that he agonized whether or not to let the children see her in that condition but then finally opted to let them see and speak with her for her sake because up until the last few hours she was still lucid.
I spoke of life-changing events that often times makes you re-arrange your priorities? Between hearing her before she passed and hearing dad and the kids in the hall, this incident had a profound effect on me!
Story #2 is not exactly a good story but it had its funny part.
After I was out of the ICU, they put me in a room with a college guy that had already been there for a month.
He too was severely burned in a car accident but he also had a broken neck. According to the story I was told, he flipped an expensive collector opened top sports car of his father?s (I think it was an Austin Healy 1000) somewhere near the USF where he was student. He ended up pinned under the front of the upside-down car in the ditch. Apparently the hot engine oil is what burned him because the car never caught fire.
At any rate, due to his spinal chord damage, they had him in a Circle Bed. For those of you that have never seen a Circle Bed, at first site it appears to be something derived from the torture dungeons in the mid-evil days. It is designed for exactly the type of injuries this kid had sustained. It allows the staff to treat the patient from virtually any angle or from any side without moving him or her and thereby minimizing any further damage to the spinal chord. Here are a few shots of a Circle Bed:
This kid was strapped to this thing at his ankles, mid-section and head. At the top of his head attached to his skull was an eye-screw with a small rope attached to it that ran through several small pulleys then had a weight at the end. At the same time he was going thru all of this they were keeping him saturated with Silver Nitrate solution for his burns.
I laid all this detail out for you because it?s relevant to his disposition and the end of the story.
Now, anyone would be miserable and cantankerous under these conditions but what made matters worse, this kid came from big money and was a spoiled brat. Up to this point, he had obviously led a sheltered life of getting anything he wanted and never experiencing the word ?NO?.
Consequently, he made his hell virtually a living hell for everyone around him, but especially the nurses and care-givers. He would cry at night when he thought no one could hear him then turn into a 24-carat horse?s a$$ during the day. I don?t remember who da-da was but everytime a nurse would try to stand up to him or do something against his wishes for his treatment he would threaten her position at the hospital with ?wait til? my dad gets here?. I had plenty of sympathy for this kid for several weeks but after a while he really started to wear on me.
Anyway, one day his birthday rolled around and his family came bearing gifts, flowers, etc. Much of the time was spent with this guy berating his nurses and his treatment to his family, some of which was in their presence. After the little soiree was over and everyone went home, it was back to the routine. That?s when it happened. A spur of the moment payback.
By this time the nurses had gotten into the habit when taking his temperature rectally, of leaving the thermometer in his rectum for a short period of time while they performed other duties, sometimes leaving the room for a minute then returning.
The particular nurse on duty at this point was a jewel. I liked her a lot because she always stood her ground and didn?t cave to this guy?s whiny ways.
She punches the button on the remote and rolls him over 180 degrees face down to take his temperature. Then, like I mentioned at the spur of the moment, she reaches over and snaps off a Rose from a bouquet and sticks that thing right in his a$$!
I thought I was going to die. It was definitely one of those ?beer out of the nose? Kodak moments. Of course he was unaware that it was anything else but a thermometer so I had to stifle myself. Need not I tell you, the nurse circulated her co-workers through the room as quickly and quietly as possible in the next few minutes to enjoy the moment before taking the thing out.
Aside from the Jack Daniels that my buds slipped into my room for me later after I was out of the wet treatment phase and into a single bed room, this was definitely the high point of my stay!