Your life can change in a second. We all know that. But this past weekend I was reminded of this fact and it was a moment I will never forget.
We were in the kitchen on Sunday evening. Making dinner. The steaks were resting, the salad was on the table, the broccoli steaming. I reached for the pot of pasta and I walked over to the sink to drain it. My son was 2 feet away from me, at the sink. As I walked towards him, suddenly, I felt the pot handle slipping out of my right hand. The pot dropped.
That moment will forever be etched in my memory.
I screamed at my son to move but it was too late. I watched, in what seemed like slow – motion, as the boiling water hit hisfeet.
That is the moment that will haunt me forever. What followed was chaos. My husband and I scrambled to help him. My youngest followed me around, scared and wanting to help. My niece started cleaning the mess because she couldn’t figure out what else to do. I cried. I called my friend who is a physician and asked her what to do because in that moment, all of my first aid training went out the door.
We soaked his feet in water for 20 minutes and then made our way to the hospital. My son sat in the front seat, feet soaking in my canning pot, stifling his cries of pain. I sat in the back, sobbing. At one point, my son said to me, “It’s okay mummy, I am going to be fine”.
We got to the hospital and as I wheeled him into the Emergency Department at Sick Kids, his body began to shake and he started to cry. The hospital staff was incredible. They had the physician sign off on pain meds before we were even in a room. As the drugs began to take effect, we all settled in to see what the night would bring. As my son’s body went numb from the pain killers and his brain started to focus on the movie he was watching, I fell apart. I called my brother and sobbed and sobbed.
Both of my son’s feet are burned. Fortunately, by soaking his feet for 20 minutes before leaving the house and then keeping them submerged in water on the drive, we were able to control the damage. The doctors sedated him, cleaned the burns and bandaged him up. We were told we would have to follow up in a couple of days.
That night, though he was still under the influence of the sedatives and pain killers, my son hugged me and I teared up. He said “Mummy, I think you are hurting more on the inside then I am on the outside”. My sweet boy.
We were back at the hospital to get the wounds cleaned and bandages changed on Tuesday. More sedatives, more pain killers and serious drugs that no child should need but here we are. Fortunately, he is not in a lot of pain otherwise. We need to go back next week to repeat the procedure and, in the meantime, my son is milking the situation the best he can. Unlimited Netflix, snacks inbed, homemade cookies and quite possibly, a new iPhone.
Since the incident, I have not returned to work. I have these moments of nausea, where I feel this pit of anxiety in my gut. How could I do this to my son? But overall, I am okay. I am thankful I didn’t drop the pot of hot water on his whole body. Burned feet are bad but burned faces and hands are worse. I am thankful that my physician friend insisted that we soak his feet for 20 minutes before going to the hospital, thereby limiting the damage. I am thankful that I live 15 minutes away from one of the best hospitals for children in the world. I am thankful that the hospital staff took such great care of my son and of me (they have a social worker on staff so that when these types of accidents happen, the social worker can support the parents through the shame and guilt they feel). I am thankful that my son is not in constant pain and I am so very thankful that he forgave me so readily.
Luckily, my son will be okay. But others are not so lucky. This weekend, when you are with your friends and family, remember to be thankful. Take a few minutes. Count your blessings. You never know when it could all change.