Burn baby burn…

So the last four weeks have been a bit unusual for me. Just as I was preparing to enjoy my summer and make the most of the good weather, I had an incident with a hot water bottle that resulted in a pretty horrific burn on my lower back. I’m still not entirely sure how it happened, and why I ignored the dull achey pain I felt (I’m very used to lower back pain when I’m sitting in my wheelchair), but anyway, it was my mum that noticed it, and as it was about 5.30pm on a Friday evening, off to A&E we went to get it checked out.

I was told that the burn was pretty bad, but it would heal, so I had it dressed, then re-dressed the next day, then again pretty much every couple of days for the next two weeks. Anyway, it basically wasn’t healing, or was healing too slowly for the nurse’s liking. So a photo of it was sent to the specialist burns unit, and I was summoned for a consultation. And they decided that I needed a skin graft…oh joy! As the burn is located on the skin very close to the metalwork in my spine, there was concern that the slow healing could lead to an infection, and if the metalwork gets infected then it’s seriously bad news!

Two days later, I was in hospital awaiting my skin graft. We (being me and the surgeon) had decided that a local anaesthetic would be sufficient as it meant that I would be able to leave hospital sooner and wouldn’t need an overnight stay. And as I can’t particularly feel that part of my back I thought it would be a breeze. Huh!! I was so wrong!

I have had quite a few surgeries of the last few years, and people who know me well know that I love a general anaesthetic! I love the feeling of slowly drifting off into a relaxing sleep and waking up when it’s all over. I even usually ask the anaesthetist to inject it slowly that I can drift away for longer… sounds pretty weird I know, but I’ve gotta embrace the small pleasures in life these days! But I hate being in hospital even more than I love anaesthetics, so I found myself lying in the operating theatre wide awake, while lots of people were prepping stuff around me. And I was absolutely terrified!

Unfortunately, it turns out that I can feel a lot more in my lower back than I anticipated. Although I cannot feel skin touch, I can feel any amount of pressure…so for a normal person, it would be like having the skin numbed by ice, so you can’t feel the exact sensation on the skin, but you’re very aware of every little prod and poke. That combined with hearing the surgeon asking for various tools and stating what she was about to do set my imagination running wild with what exactly was happening, and I felt very queasy indeed!

She took skin from a ‘donor site’ also on my lower back, just to the left of my burn, to reduce the amount of dressings I would need and to make the whole thing a bit easier for me recovery wise. And the skin she harvested was stapled on to the burn once she had scraped out all of the dead tissue. If you’re starting to feel a bit ill reading this then I apologise… but I can assure you that being awake while it is happening is 100 times worse!

Anyway…it was eventually all over, and all of the nurses etc were so sweet to me and I was looked after amazingly. I was discharged a couple of hours later on strict instructions to avoid putting pressure on the area. Pretty difficult for someone who relies on a wheelchair and leans back on absolutely everything. But I have been focused on healing in time for my upcoming family holiday to France, and determined that I will not miss out, so that means spending almost all day and night lying on my tummy or my side (but not the donor site side.)

My family have been incredible at looking after me. I have been staying with my parents so that I can be properly looked after, and they have done such an amazing job putting up with me. I had the staples removed on Wednesday this week, and thankfully, the skin graft seems to have taken, and I think I am finally on the road to recovery. I’m going back again tomorrow for another dressing change, but I’m hoping that they will be happy enough with the progress that I will be fine to go away for a few days on Tuesday with my family.

So the last four weeks have, on the whole, been pretty shitty! I am forever going to be so so careful with hot water bottles, and I also highly recommend anyone getting a skin graft to opt for the general anaesthetic, no matter how brave you are feeling. I am hoping that this inconvenient injury will not completely ruin my summer. I was planning to take part in a triathlon in August, but unfortunately the surgeon has told me that it would be ‘asking for trouble’. I am so gutted about that, but I am trying to find something that I can focus on to help me motivate myself through this recovery. Any bright ideas are welcome… I enjoy a good challenge!

Below is a picture of the attractive dressing I have been sporting for the last 10 days… and below that is a picture of the burn and the donor site a few days ago when I had the staples taken out. I warn you, the second picture is not very pleasant to look at, so do not scroll down unless you are prepared. And click away now if you would rather not see it.

Mmmmm..attractive!

Mmmmm..attractive!

>

>

>

>

>

>

Last chance to look away… I have warned you…

>

>

Ewwwwww

Ewwwwww

One thought on “Burn baby burn…

  1. Gosh poor you! What an ordeal but fingers crossed properly on the mend and you will be on holiday in France soon xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s