Sunday, February 28, 2010

a story behind my profile picture . . .

I have been having some real computer problems and need some major computer updates (money is an unfortunate issue here), and when it came time to set up my blog, I was unable to post a picture from my own computer. I was limited to a few pictures from my husband's work computer. My first choice initially would not have been a sleeping picture, but I love that picture of my little boy and me snuggled up together. After all, we spend hours a night this way, and often (especially lately) we spend an hour or two in the middle of the day like this as well. I have a lot of pictures of us snuggled up together from the time our little guy was tiny until last week sometime. But this particular sleeping picture of us is especially precious to me. If you look closely, my little boy is wearing what appears to be a tight little mesh tank top. He is 22 months old in that picture (about three months ago). The mesh tank top is definitely not our attempt at toddler trendsetting. Rather, this little "shirt" is the final layer of his sterile dressings that we changed twice daily for weeks after he was burned by scalding coffee on Thanksgiving morning. I don't like thinking back on that morning, on the moment we heard his scream and realized he had pulled over a cup of brewing coffee in the hotel room we were staying in. We were right there near him, and the coffeemaker hadn't appeared to be in a dangerous location. We consider ourselves to be very aware and conscientious parents. We are always trying to clear anything potentially dangerous from our little guy's path. How did this happen? We rushed him to the bathroom expecting that some coffee had splashed onto his hand. We thought we would run his little hand under cool water for several minutes and all would be back to normal and we'd head to the State Street parade as planned. Instead we realized his shirts (double layered for warmth as we were heading out) were drenched. We peeked under his shirts and saw that his entire chest skin was completely burned and peeled off! We took his clothes off as gently and quickly as we could and took him into the bathtub to try to cool him. We quickly realized our little boy's pain level and these burns were beyond what we could care for and we dialed 9-1-1. We also saw that his forearm was burned as badly as his chest. I was afraid my little boy would go into shock. There was a hospital across the street from our hotel, but we didn't want to walk him there. It was cold outside. He was now without clothes and wet from the bath water, and I wasn't about to dress him again over his painful open wounds. When the paramedics got there, I just felt relief. They wrapped our little boy in a warm blanket, and they let me hold him in the ambulance. On the ride over, they called ahead and took us to Children's Memorial, a hospital I didn't even know existed in our nearby city. I was soooo glad we had not taken him across the street. Who knows how long we might have waited in an ER at the community hospital? The care he received at Children's was phenomenal. They were waiting for us when we arrived. Getting an iv in his little arm was almost, if not more, traumatic than the intial burn. I tried to hold him still, but I didn't have the strength. My little boy is tiny but strong! And he was in so much pain. They finally wrapped his little body (and his favorite stuffed cat he was clinging to) in a near-swaddle to confine him, and I nursed him to calm him. After this strategy, the iv was in place in no time. And within minutes the pain medication took effect and my little guy fell into a peaceful sleep on my chest. Shortly after, we unfortunately needed to waken him again so his burns could be covered with an antibiotic cream and dressings. He cried through this, but I think once the cream was on, it soothed his wounds and he calmed down again. The surgeon told us our little boy would be admitted to the hospital. I was a bit surprised, but I was also really comforted knowing he would continue receiving this good care, and especially knowing we could stay right with him. They wanted to observe him for fever, dehydration, and infection for 24 hours, and they needed to teach us how to properly clean and dress his wounds.
Our story got easier after this point, for the most part (the first dressing change that evening was a bit traumatic for our little guy and for us). We got settled in our room, and they brought a movie for our little boy to watch. He was calm and snuggly and munching on Cheerios and drinking all the fluids we gave him. It was so good to see he was no longer in pain and keeping hydrated. We kept thinking the pain medication would make him sleepy again, but after the movie he begged to "walk around." Hearing him say this was medicine to our souls as parents. He was being his normal little self! The nurses brought him a tiny gown and slippers. His dad wheeled his little iv cart, and we went walking. Our little boy is never one to sit still. We walked and walked those hospital hallways for almost the entire afternoon and evening. We'd get back to the room, and he'd ask to "walk around" again. Then he'd beg us to "race" in the hallways, which of course we couldn't do, but we were so happy to see him acting like himself.
Well, I could really go on with details--there are a lot of them--but the bottom line is that the picture I used for my profile picture makes me so thankful. That burn was heartbreaking. But it could have been so much worse! All of the skin that got burned was burned through two layers of thick clothing. It could have been his bare hands, or his bare face, or his eyes! I believe God protected him, and I believe his guardian angels were there as well. We were able to get amazing medical care immediately! While I was in that hospital, I met moms who would have gladly traded places with me. Their kids had congenital heart disease, cancer, and other terminal illnesses. No matter how amazing the care is, no matter how bright and cheerful the decor is, a children's hospital is a very, very sad place. Our little boy was going to recover. We were going to go home in 24 hours. I thank God that our little boy made it through this burn with flying colors. It took several weeks of meticulous care on our part. An infection would have been very serious in his wounds. But in several weeks, new skin formed and now only three months later he has only a slight discoloration where the burns once were. When I look at this picture I realize that even in the midst of it--wrapped up in all his bandages--here he was resting peacefully with his mom. He was comfortable and healing. We never would have chosen to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital, but I'm not sure when I ever ended up being more thankful on Thanksgiving. And I'm not sure a Thanksgiving will ever pass again where I don't think of and pray for all the moms, dads, and kids in the children's hospital and all of the different circumstances that have brought them there. Life is so, so fragile. So, so precious. It is a gift. May we make the most of it and never take it for granted.


  1. What a scary experience, Cyndi! I remember when it happened. Poor little guy. I'm so glad that he had on all of that thick clothing and that he is fully recovered now.

    And I'm so inspired by your strength and positivity through it all. You are a wonderful mom!

    P.S. That photo of the two of you is beautiful.

  2. You're a beautiful Mom!

    And that photo of the two of you is so lovely.