Accidents Happen…Over the past week I have heard this statement often. By friends, by family, by doctors, nurses and everyone in between. Accidents happen…indeed they do!
My sweet little Easton had a very terrible accident last week but thankfully is on the road to recovery. So many people have asked what happened? and although the "what" is really easy to explain, the "how" is not!
The short of it is that he burned his hand…the series of events leading up to that accident are ones that could probably never be repeated. Here it is…
In our home we have what is referred to as an appliance caddy. It is located under our cabinet and swings up when the appliance is in use and tucks away nicely behind a door when the appliance is not in use. This caddy houses our Keurig coffee maker.
Do you see where I am going with this? On Thursday morning I made a cup of hot tea and then turned off the keurig and returned it to it's normal space under the cabinet as I have done the entire time we have lived here and throughout Easton's entire life. As I shut the cabinet I walked about 4 steps over to our sink and turned on the water to start dishes. As I was walking away, Easton walked up to the cabinet, opened it, turned it on, and because it was already hot and didn't need to warm up, the ready lights started blinking and for those of you who are Keurig users you know that if you hit any one of those blinking buttons it will immediately dispense HOT water. I do not have to tell you what a 13 month old does in response to blinking buttons. By the time I got to the sink, turned it on, and turned around, I saw Easton in the cabinet…I went over to grab him and I was about 2 seconds too late. I was about 2 steps from him when he started screaming…in that moment my adrenaline took over. When I grabbed Easton I could already see the damage…it was awful…I won't go into detail because it is pretty gross…..
I yelled for Aiden to come and get his pants on because I needed his help. I called my friend Tara but she was busy (although she says I should have been more clear of the nature of the emergency), once Aiden was dressed I told him to run across the street and get our neighbor Jolene…"tell her it is an emergency" My sweet little power ranger ran to the front door, swung it open, did a ninja pose and said "go go megaforce"….once Jolene arrived I decided that based on the extent of the burn we needed to call an ambulance. Poor Easton was screaming and had somehow got his hand in his mouth which meant he had a bunch of skin in his mouth…yes, his skin just melted off. I knew there was no way I could put him in a carseat and drive to the hospital.
Once the EMT got here my adrenaline started to wear off and the tears started to flow…and didn't stop for a while! The EMT were amazing…they wrapped the hand and had us out the door in no time. They let me hold Easton and comfort him the whole way! Once we arrived at Children's Hospital we were in a room in minutes and seen by the nurses and doctors as soon as we were in the room. Everything was happening very quickly and thankfully they were able to give him some pain medicine nasally so that he could relax and be sort of "out of it" when they placed the IV. I met with the doctor who was amazing…she was so reassuring, comforting and incredibly hands on. Easton was passed out and I was sobbing…she calmed me down and told me how I did everything right…"accidents happen…he's fast, he's curious…you can not watch him every second of his life" She was so sweet but I still felt awful. She broke the bad news to me that he would have to have surgery…he had to be put completely under in order to scrape all of the dead skin off, clean the area and check everything out.
In the meantime I called my sister, who headed my way immediately, and gave her the task of calling the others while I tried to reach Leif who was, of course. out of town in the middle of his final test in Design school for the newest design of Nuclear reactors. He was essentially unreachable due to the security of the classified information he was in contact with. Between myself, a fellow Navy friend, the social worker and the red cross we were all trying to figure out a way to get a hold of him.
After a short wait we were on our way up to surgery…I was able to hold Easton until they had him nice and drugged and then I passed him off without any anxiety from him. Thankfully Uncle Tom and my girl Jolene were there so that I didn't have to wait alone.
Everything went great in surgery, the surgeon said he had a partial thickness burn on less than 1% of his body…she concluded that it was a 2nd degree burn. Although things looked good the surgeon said that she wanted to wait 24 hours and do another surgery because so much can change in the first 24 hours of a burn. Once he began to wake up from anesthesia they took me back to recovery so that I could be the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes and he would never know we were apart. I held my sweet boy and just prayed and prayed. Tom and Jolene headed out and my sister stayed with me for the long haul…while in recovery, around 4pm, approximately 8 hours after the accident and 7 hours from the time we started trying to contact him, Leif called. My poor husband had just finished his exam and was met in the hallway with the words "your son is in emergency surgery you need to call home"…talk about being frantic to figure out what was going on…he had to get special permission to leave early (only a day early) but he did and was on his way home (8 hours).
Since Easton could not eat past midnight and vomited up everything he ate up until that point he was not a happy camper…this is us giving Daddy the "stink eye" on day 2 because he was eating in front of us…
We hung out until surgery time..
He headed into his second surgery and again…we waited!!!
So the bottom line is that Easton is going to be fine…the doctors say that he will never know this happened….I will never ever forget it. I feel an enormous amount of guilt. I think that is only natural. I know I am a good mom…I am not looking for praise or pity…I am just being honest. I have replayed that moment a million times. I have said the should haves, the why's, the how's…I have beat myself up and down. It does not matter how many people tell me that accidents happen or even that the same thing happened to them (hand and face burns are very common in babies because of their curiosity), I still feel horrible. I am his mommy and I should be there to protect him…the surgeon's response to that comment was "you can only protect him from the big stuff and although it may not seem like it right now, this is a tiny little accident"…I have spent the past week doing a lot of thinking…how will I ever get over this? How can I forgive myself? My only hope is that I can try to practice what I preach. I try very hard to teach Aiden (and Easton) about forgiveness. About how people make mistakes and we should always have a kind heart, a forgiving heart, a grateful heart. I need to remember my own words...I know that it could be worse. I know that this wasn't my fault. I know that these things happen. My mind knows all of these things…my heart is still trying to get there. These boys are my world…I want to protect them from everything but I also want them to look at me as an example…I need to forgive myself, be kind to myself…I am beyond grateful for ALL of the AMAZING support I have received. Easton is completely unfazed most of the day…unless I am changing the bandage, he is as happy as can be and I am so grateful for that…he is healing so well…and my hope is that I start to heal too!!!
And some Thank You's:
Jolene- for letting me yell at you when I was in distress and for still loving me, coming to support me, packing a bag for me, bringing me coffee, sitting with me while E was in surgery, cleaning my house, and for being you!!!!
Ann- for taking care of my boy while we were at the hospital and for helping me with my first dressing change
Nana and Pops-for dropping everything, driving 8 hours and taking over for me when I could not be there, for staying the weekend to make sure Leif and I caught up on sleep, doing my laundry, and just being available for whatever we needed
Tom-for leaving work and being my other husband when Leif wasn't there
Tara-for making sure Aiden was comfortable, I had everything I needed, and keeping me company in the hospital
Nikki-for being such a sweetheart and bringing me dinner and snacks
Katie-for hopping on the road, making all of the distress calls for me, holding my hand when I was down and out, not letting me have a pity party, cleaning up vomit off of me, you and E, sleeping sitting up in a chair, feeding me granola when I was ready to pass out but didn't want to put my baby down, for being awesome and knowing that I needed you even though I told you not to come, for leaving your family behind to take care of mine…you are the BEST!!!!
And although he can't read this…I must Thank my sweet Aiden for being a real life superhero when his mommy and baby brother needed him! THAT BOY has a heart of gold. I remember sitting in the hospital just crying not only out of fear and sadness for my baby boy but also out of pride for my amazing 4 year old and his bravery!!!
And my prayers warriors…ALL OF YOU!!! You know who you are…I appreciate you all!!!!