Scalding Hot Water

"Burn in hell"

What does that even mean? Have you wondered? It sounds painful, of course. But there may not be anything such as hell. However, the said thing to do in hell is a real life, actual thing. But why not drown in hell or why is hell full of fire and not simply a gas chamber? Because fire hurts. Immensely. It is worse than a deep cut. And infinitely worse than a bruise. My tryst with fire has been very limited. Never played with the red flower, you see.

Your skin is a wonderful organ, the biggest organ overall and also externally. Internally that position is occupied by the liver which for many of you, I am sure bears the brunt of your life's ups and downs. Coming back to the skin, it is made of many layers primarily to protect your inner machinery from any damage. It has plenty of other responsibilities but it is the first line of defence for any external attacks. Such as boiling hot water. Or Scalding Hot Water.

As I was to discover one Sunday morning of January 2016 when I accidentally dropped a big vessel full of very hot water on the floor and my left shin took the hit. At first I didn't realise how bad the damage was. By instinct I poured water on it. Very cold, straight out of the fridge, big mistake. This extreme range of surface temperatures confused the skin and led to more damage.

The sensation you feel is hard to elucidate. It stings on impact and then burns later, pun most definitely not intended. Your toes curl up, and your fingers make a fist and your other leg shakes. You want to move about but you don't. Your stifle a scream and your throat runs dry. You look at the wrinkled skin and spot some blood, thinly sliced skin it looks like. You wince in some pain but then you accept it and start looking up about burns on the internet.

Then scalds appear. Big ones. Depending upon the degree of the burn. Visual damage assessment + WebMD told me that it was a second degree burn. Scalds full of fluids formed. Big question was whether to drain them or let them be. The Internet said let them be, they are good for the burn. So I let them be. They would drain on their own they said. I had to tie a loose bandage and keep the scalds covered. Initial damage was centered around 1 square inch but as the sun set, I realised it was 4x of that. Oh well, when it rains, it pours.

The internet also told me that the scalds were prone to become septic. Tetanus shot was to be administered as soon as possible. Got that done the next day and doctor Patel recommended a few tablets, rest and betadine solution. He said the same thing as docs on the web, let the scalds appear they will drain on their own. I had to look out for pus but I trust tetanus shots. It never came to that.

The skin is an amazing organ. Healing began as soon as the damage was inflicted. Bright pink skin or what is below the epidermis had started to appear as thin dark brown damaged layers started to peel off the same day. The fluid filled scalds remained for a bit. I would keep them covered with a loose bandage, tighter when I stepped out for a friend's wedding three days later at Bandra Gymkhana where I shook a leg. Well not really, more of a foot tap but you get the drift.

It took several days to heal completely and with the scalds gone, patches of red skin appeared. Dr. P recommended Aloederm a lotion that helped faster healing. Today the shin bears the mark of that fateful day where I learnt how the term scalding hot water originated. I am just thankful that it was not scalding hot oil.

I cannot imagine the pain that a higher degree burn victim faces. I cannot imagine the bravery of the Firefighters who risks everything to save individuals. I cannot imagine the trauma that an acid attack victim suffers from. So much needs to be done but I'll conclude thus -  fire and burn accidents are preventable, be extra careful. 

Comments

Melvin Dsouza said…
Whoa.... Although 6 months old you made it come alive. I almost felt your pain, thick skinned as I am. I trust in the bodys self healing capabilities and a dash of alcohol while I'm waiting. (helps dull the pain too) Burns are painful and tend to leave ugly scars.

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