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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smoked Ham

Lately, I have been fishing around for blog ideas.  I get weary of writing about my personal life, and besides, I have a personal journal for that.  I often feel as though I am whining for all the world to hear.  
I could write about the stock market and how I’m going broke, but there’s no way that wouldn’t be understood as major whining. 
I could write about how my dog, Belle, had a fluid-filled cyst on her neck, and I had to take her to the vet and get it drained.  More whining.
I could write about how my neighbors started a construction project at their house without bothering to tell me that, for nearly two weeks, I would wake to the sound of heavy earth-moving equipment at 7:00 AM, even on Saturdays.  Whining?  Oh, yeah.
I could write about the two nurses at work who get on my nerves, but, well........
I could write about last Friday, when I had both of my knees injected with cortisone to hopefully make them feel better, stop waking me up at night.  Sounds like whining to me.
I could write about the scorching heat and what a tough summer it has been and how my yard looks like shit and my little rust garden is all wilted.  Yep, more whining.
But it might not be whining if I tell the story of how I set myself on fire last night.
That is not a typo, and no, it’s not a pitiful cry for attention. No one could make this shit up.  I set myself on fire last night.
Last night, when I returned from dinner with friends, I took a glass of tea and sat on the deck while my dogs ran around and did their business.  Being a mosquito magnet, I always light a citronella candle to stave them off, and last night was not different.
What is different is that, eyeing a spider hovering over the table, I flicked on the grill lighter, leaned over and tried to zap him with it.  I had taken a few shots when I smelled smoke.  Looking down, I saw my thin cotton skirt afire.  Even though I had swept the deck the day before, there were pine cone spikes scattered all over the surface, I decided (in a millisecond), that “drop and roll” might be worse than grabbing the hose and dousing myself. 
The hose was on, as I had forgotten to turn it off at the faucet, so I grabbed it and put myself out - not without some difficulty.  Wet, and in horrible pain, I stripped out of the skirt and began showering my body with cold water.  My right leg was unbelievably painful, and I must have been in shock, because the first thing I did was call work to see if we were covered for today.  No shit.  I called work before drawing a cold bath and soaking in it.  
I lay in the tub, at intervals, crying and screaming.  (Envision Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”).  I dunked my head under the water and realized that the hair on the right side of my head was singed and shedding.  More crying and screaming.  I am hoarse today from all the ululating.
I emptied the tub, washed the hair down the drain, refilled it and soaked some more.  The pain did not let up.  My right little finger had 2 big blisters on it, the ring finger had a juicy one, too.  There were also two big ones on my right foot.  My right thigh, from knee to buttocks, was a brilliant scarlet but not blistered - or so I thought.
Remembering that I had some pain pills from my knee injection last week, I hauled my scarlet ass out of the tub and swallowed two of them.  I gingerly dried myself off and slipped into the softest pair of pajamas I own.  Still the pain, Oh-My-God, the pain.  
Since I only have one ice bag, I filled it and a few zip-top plastic bags with ice, positioned myself on my left side in the bed and tried to keep the burns cool.  It was several hours and two pain pills later before I fell asleep.  The sleep was deep and dark and I was grateful for it.  
I woke early when the dogs asked to go out, and once more feeling as though someone had a blow-torch aimed at my right thigh, took some more medicine and went back to sleep.  
When I woke several hours later, the pain was merely a little sting.  I got up the nerve to look at my leg in the mirror and was horrified to see one blister as big as my hand and one only slightly smaller.  
It was time to think about getting medical treatment, but first, I called Nancy, my best nurse/friend, and she came over to give her opinion.
“Don’t you think you should see somebody about this?”
“I probably should, but I think it will be okay.”
She jumped on her Blackberry and phoned her husband, who once set himself on fire, for advice.  
“You have to go to Urgent Care.”
I quickly agreed, realizing that burns that don’t hurt are the worst kind.  It means the nerves are damaged.
Well, shit a blue brick.

Nancy went to play bridge, and I dressed and presented myself at the neighborhood Urgent Care Center.  
“Why didn’t you seek help for this last night,” my kind nurse, John, asked.  
“I really didn’t think it was this bad.”
The doctor came into the room.  He was a gentle man whose name is Dr Patel. John pulled up the sheet which was draped over my leg, and I there was an audible intake of breath from the doctor.
“Well, now.  You have yourself quite a burn there.  How did this happen?”  So, for the third time, I explained my injury.  It was beginning to be funny, at least to me, so I quipped that I had invented a new way to smoke a ham.  He was not amused, but John couldn’t suppress a little chuckle.
About an hour later, after the MD had lanced the blisters, my right leg and hand smeared with Silvadene Cream and swathed in gauze bandages, I left for home, stopping by the drug store for a bottle of antibiotics.

And here I sit, not quite comfortable but not needing pain medicine, trying to keep my dressing from falling down my leg, writing this post and feeling a little but like a fool.
I go back tomorrow for a dressing change.




© cj Schlottman

8 comments:

Dazee Dreamer said...

oh my god, first of all, you should know better to get thee to the doctors. breathing.

but then, hysterically laughter took over on your smoking a ham to the doctor. good thing I didn't have liquid in my mouth

Sue said...

Thank heaven you're all right!

And having said that, why is it that medical professionals are always the last ones to get themselves some help? Any other person would have been at the ER in two seconds flat.

Sheesh, CJ. If I were your mom, I would nag you from now until Christmas.

;)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

CJ I hope you know you should have gone right away to the Dr...that said I am so glad you are OK and that it wasn't worse. That is so scary and can happen in an instant...by the way I think your 'smoking ham' remark was very funny! Now rest!

BECKY said...

CJ, you are one crazy broad! And I agree with Sue...Sheesh!

The Bipolar Diva said...

I don't think I took a breath the entire post! Thanks God you're going to be ok.

KeLLy aNN said...

damn Woman! sheesh! "}

{hope you get well soon}

Martha Mawson said...

My husband was a nurse and he is, as expected, the last to follow the usual procedures, so I understand why you didn't immediately get yourself to the doctor. Getting ready to read the next installment. Ouch!

injaynesworld said...

Holy crap, cj! I'm so glad you're all right. I'm so sorry to read about this, my friend. Please treat yourself kindly and whine all you want.

Hugs, Jayne