I woke up feeling remarkably cheerful. I remember that much. I refused breakfast. I received my first visitors. Then my second. Then my third, my fourth, my fifth. I was surrounded by friends from morning to night, that first day, and every day thereafter. It was fantastic. I called two or three people personally to let them know what had happened. I didn’t call my best friends. In fact, I didn’t tell them for days.
They bandaged me up that day. They wrapped my arms in silver fist so that my flesh wouldn’t stick and then they bandaged me up so I couldn’t see where the fire had eaten away at my skin. They were the worst wounds but, in a way, they were the easiest to deal with: out of sight, out of mind.
My burns were quite spread out and this made it difficult to move. My fingers had swollen to twice their size. I couldn’t move them at all. The skin at the fold of my wrist had melted together so my hand was bent (Look, Mom, I’m a gay man!) and had already started cramping. My palms were sore and charred.
Then there were the bubbles. I fucked hated them. There were some on the underside of my upper arms, some smaller ones, some puck-sized. When I looked down at my chest, all I saw one huge bubble just above my chest. If I hadn’t been wearing a padded bra that night… Then there was the one snaking across my belly. The orange-sized one on my inner thigh. The coin-sized ones on my thigh, on my back, on my side. The long one at the back of my neck (so close) that healed within a few days.
And then there was the one on my ass. How the fuck did I manage that? Every time I got up, I felt the skin pull. It took weeks to heal even though it was only a minor burn. Advice: take care of your respective asses ‘cos when something gets in the way of sitting down, you’re screwed.
The day nurses, the interns, the ones I loved, came round every day to dabbed at the burns with Betadine. They made me laugh. You did this just so I could feel you up, didn’t you? Nice try, Alexia, I’m still straight. That bit was okay, but every few days, they made me get out of bed, go into the bathroom and they would douse me with the stuff. And then rinse it off. The water was luke-warm. The room was always cold. The pressure had to be light to avoid ripping the bubbles and then they couldn’t dry me off properly for fear of infection. Betadine baths. They suck. To this day, I can’t stand the smell.
Getting out of bed was tricky. We laughed a lot on the first day because no one knew where to grab me to help me up! Obviously hands were out of the question, as were arms, upper arms… in the end we settled on elbows. It took some effort. I tried to push off the bed but sometimes that hurt. It was good for my abs though ‘cos I ended up using my stomach muscles to pull myself up.
My stay in hospital is a blur. I remember what happened but not the details of time. Every day was the same. I guess I’ll just write it as it comes.
Is it just me, or is there a bit more emotion in this?!
I’m going to sound like a corny shmuck, but thank you for all your support. We’ve never met but I appreciate how supportive you are, not just with me, but with everyone, and it makes my heart glow a little bit.
Thank you because -just in case you don’t know- you are all helping me in ways you cannot see.
(Except for Eleni, Kaiti, Kayak Jack and Zari… uhm… ‘cos you do see. You know, ‘cos I know you. Anyhoo.)