Pretty soon after I got back in the room with Mr. Everything, the nurse came in to clean the burns. They gave him another shot of morphine. Apparently, this was number 3, yet he was still alert and making sense. The nurse scrubbed Mr. E’s face and put ointment on it. He told us that they would probably keep Mr. E overnight for observation but then we would be good to go.
As we waited in the sterile room, my phone rang. It was the Goose. I answered to hear her tattling on the Beetle. The thought that crossed my mind was, “Well, at least they aren’t too traumatized!” Then, the next thought was not so nice. As she rattled on and on and on about what he was doing or not doing or saying or not saying, I felt all my blood rush to my ears. Sometimes I understand why animals eat their young. I finally managed to interrupt her and say, through gritted teeth, “Do you realize that I am standing in a trauma room with your father in pain? Do you realize they cut off all his clothes and he is now lying (actually, I said “laying,” because I always get that wrong) on a metal table naked? Do you realize that you don’t know that because you did not even ask how he was?” Her answer was, “Oh. Yeah. Sorry.” When I got home, the whole house had been cleaned and was spotless. Bless her heart.
The irony here is how my kids handle trauma. The Beetle gets angry. The worse the situation, the angrier he is. The Goose gets irritating. Together, they are the perfect storm. God really does have a sense of humor.
So, quickly, we were moved up to a room. (Okay, you know that’s not true. We were in a hospital.) Actually, though, it only took a few hours for us to be moved. This is really good in hospital terms. Shands was an excellent hospital, but the way. I did not meet a single staff member who was not kind and caring. It was amazing!
After Mr. E got settled in and it didn’t seem like anything else would happen for the night, I headed home. The kids were home alone, apparently killing each other, so I had to go. It was hard to leave him, and it was one of those moments when the choice between motherhood and wifehood was excruciating.
The next morning, I got up and had to do some things for work. Then, I started getting ready to go to the hospital. I sent the kids to church and headed out. Although I tried to get there earlier, it was noon by the time I arrived at the hospital. As much as I had tried, I seemed to be moving through molasses all morning. I got up to the room and found Mr. Everything sitting in a chair. He was wearing a hospital gown that no one had bothered to tie in the back for him. He had no underwear because they had cut it off. He was a sight for sore eyes.
Mr. Everything’s face looked worse than I remembered it looking the night before, but of course I didn’t tell him that. He joked about looking like Yoda, and I told him I would love him even if he was hideous. It’s a good thing this man isn’t vain.
The nurse came in and said they were transferring Mr. E to the burn unit to stay for a few days. That had been mentioned to him that morning, but until this point, we were not sure. I asked the nurse if she was sure, and she said she was sure. I called my sister, and she and my father left Brandon to come get my kids. I knew I could not leave Mr. E in a burn unit by himself for two days, and it would be easier if the kids were taken care of.
Meanwhile, we waited. In case you don’t know, you do a lot of that when you’re in a hospital. Soon, the lady with the wheelchair came and got us. She took us through the tunnel that goes under the street to the other side of the hospital. Shands is a really big place.
We got settled in the room in the burn unit. Then, the doctor came in and talked to us. She said she was sending Mr. E home. We had just waited and been transferred only to find out we were going home! We said this aloud, and she said we could stay if we wanted. We declined her gracious offer.
Basically, the doctor told Mr. E that he could do the same thing at home that they would do for him there. He would wash his face twice a day with gentle soap. Then, he would apply the ointment that makes him look shiny and slimy. She told us the warning signs of infection and told us who to call if we saw any signs. Then, she told Mr. E that she wanted him to eat a high-calorie, high-protein diet. In fact, the words she said to him were, “I want you to eat as much as you possibly can.” In a matter of 24 hours, Mr. Everything had faced one of my biggest fears of being stripped naked in public, and he had lived one of my dreams coming true by being told that he could eat as much as he wanted! We were truly on a roller coaster.
The thing that amazed the doctor was that Mr. Everything’s pain was minimal. He said it felt like a sunburn, and he did not even flinch when people touched it. We asked her if this could have been from putting eggs on the burns. She said that many people believed that eggs helped and many people believed eggs were a terrible idea. There was no medical evidence either way. She did, however, admit that the eggs seemed to work for him, because she said she was astounded that he was not in more pain.
I believe that the eggs worked. I also believe that the prayers worked, because I know the prayers had begun before the ambulance even arrived. (I was saying them until I could alert the CGVS – Church Grapevine System.) Whatever worked, we know that he is tremendously blessed not to be in more pain.
So, all in all, our adventure ended well. It was fortunate that Mr. E thought quickly enough to close his eyes and turn his head. If he hadn’t, the outcome would have been much, much worse. We are also blessed that his arms were not burned, because they were on fire. I saw it myself.
Now, we just wait for Mr. E to heal. He isn’t in pain. He isn’t itching. He isn’t miserable. He’s just watching TV and eating. A lot. Life could be much worse, and for that, I am tremendously grateful. I have to admit that the slimy face is a little annoying for both of us. I tried to talk him into going down to the dining hall to get something with me last night. I was going to drive the ATV. He had one word for me: “Bugs.” To that, I said, “EWWW! Never mind!” Can you imagine how many mosquitoes he would have had stuck to his slimy face? -Al