Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I was frying up some home-made chicken nuggets and Korean potatoes this evening (which were not anything like my mother's) when hot oil splashed and burned my fingers... 3 on my left and one on my right. And Boy do they hurt...I remember, from my several first aid classes, that I had to run my wounds under the cold water from the tap for a while to soothe the pain and cool it down so that the burn would not sink deeper into the skin... it helped a little but the pain kept coming back...

I remember my mom slicing open an Aloe Vera leaf to place on one of her burns... they were much worse than mine and actually left a bit of a scar. She also said it would be a good idea to rub some antibiotic ointment on it and wrap it with a bit of gauze so that it would not get infected... I also remember her advising a cousin of mine who had major sun burn on his back, to rub some yogurt all over to reduce the pain. I tried it once when I was in Beirut and after a whole day on the beach in the sun without any sun protection (yup... I know what you might say). After an hour, the yogurt dried up and it felt so much better. 

Anyway, being the lazy person I am when it comes to taking care of myself, I decided just to go with the water and continue preparing dinner for the family... it was not such a major wound for me to do all that anyway.... just first degree burn that is all. A week of red skin and then it would be gone.

During our meal, I sat with my husband and we talked about burn victims and how dreadful it must be to have so much of their bodies burned... if a tiny burn on the fingers can cause so much discomfort, can you imagine what it must be like for a burn victim who has third degree burns?

I did experience second degree burns on my nose with blisters and all... but if I tell you the story, do you promise not to laugh? (Fat chance I know)... ok so here it goes... I was fourteen years old and had finished changing into my clothes after swimming laps in the pool. It was a long fun-filled yet exhausting day and I decided to sit on a chair with my head leaning back to enjoy a few minutes of sun before my parents came to pick me up from the club. I fell asleep, which I never usually do especially not in the position I was in. It was a 20 minute nap.... I woke up and thought nothing of it until my mother and father saw me and my blisters- covered nose. I did not feel pain until I had a shower. For weeks I had to put ointments on it to soothe the burning sensation.

As for third degree burns... It was not me who experienced having some but my dearest and only brother. I still remember the incident as if it were yesterday. I was twelve years old  and remembering him coming back to my uncle's house with a bandaged arm.  He was on an airplane when it happened... Remember how the air-hostesses used to walk around with boiling coffee or tea asking passengers if they wanted some? Well he was traveling to Mecca with my mother, grandmother and a few other relatives. He was 15 at the time and going for a Umrah (which is similar to a pilgrimage but does not involve all the rituals and basically it is considered just a visit to the holy place). 

The air-hostess passed by my mother and brother carrying a boiling jug of tea and wanted to take my mother's food tray as well. My mother asked her if she would return the tea pot and then come back to take the tray as it was much too dangerous. But she refused and as she was leaning forward to take the tray she spilled all the hot boiling tea on my brother... he lifted his arms and was in shock... my mother quickly opened the closed water cups on the tray and poured water all over my brother asking everyone around for their water cups as well... because my brother had lifted his arms she did not pour water on them. His right arm was still burning and the more it stayed up there the deeper the burn sank. His jeans trousers provided some protection but his shirt did not. 

My poor brother suffered third degree burns on his right arm and had to be rushed to a hospital as soon as the plane landed. Can you believe that the air-hostess did not blink an eye, help or even apologize?  But had the audacity to ask for the airplanes blanket that my mother used to cover my brother's semi-naked body? My mother sure gave her an ear full and a piece of her mind... and believe me she deserved it... if I were there with them, I would have tore a strip off of her too. 

Anyway, my dear brave brother's burns were horrible and very painful to the extent that my grandmother fainted when my mother was changing the dressing... I can still remember how his arm looked like. But due to continuous dressing changes, he recovered well and I believe there was no scaring (right brother?)

Anyway... burns are horrible... learn to protect yourself....  There are excellent information sites out there... so as not to lose precious time treating burns... check some of them out to acquaint yourself with the different methods.

Anyway.... here are some good sites to visit for more information.


The Dr. said...

Thanks Sis. If memory serves, I believe I only got 2nd degree burns. No permanent scars, but sometimes when my right arm gets a lot of sunlight you can see that the place where I got burns has a different shade of tan than the rest of the arm. A gentle reminder of how things could have been much worse.

Tabouleh said...

Huh... only second? man it really looked much worse that than... I still remember the raw skin...oh goodness...thanks for correcting me and for your comment.