>Hi Melissa, What's this we hear about your hands getting burned?? What
>happened? If you can't write back, just know that we are all thinking of
>you and hoping all will be OK. We will be waiting to hear from you! Judy
Even in a third world country half a world away word still gets out.
Two weeks ago on Tuesday, the 4th grade daughter of the teacher
living downstairs came up to me and told me that she was having
trouble lighting her oven (she wanted to bake cookies). Glad that she
asked me when she felt over her head, I went down with my butane
lighter. I opened the bottom, flicked the lighter, and BOOM! The
lighter was thrown from my hand. Aside from some redness and a
distinct tenderness (I also had some ashes on my arm), I didn't think
that it was much. I later found out that Katie had been trying to get
the oven lit for a while and had the gas on for some time. Anyway, I
went upstairs and ran water over it. Katie brought an ice pack for
me, which I used as I tried to eat my supper. Instead of getting less
angry at me, my hand began to burn intensely, with blisters growing
in size. The burning and pain was growing, even as I began putting
ice on the areas. Aloe Vera didn't even touch the intense burning. At
that point, I went downstairs and showed the mother who was now
there. She immediately went and got the school Director, who took me
to a local doctor, a Malian from the Dogon area. By now, the more
severely burned areas had blisters that looked like cumulus clouds,
nearly a 1/4" tall.
It was the first time I was in a medical establishment here in Mali.
Other teachers had used the doctor before and were very impressed by
his care and compassion. Using sanitary devices, he cut the biggest
blisters and began applying a burn cream, antiseptic, etc. and then
special gauze (which were specially picked up from a local pharmacy)
Every other day I went back to the clinic to have my hand inspected
for any sign of infection (a big problem here, since there is a lot
of dust and other stuff, including open sewers), cleaned and then
wrapped with succeedingly less bandages.
The bandages were removed for good on Thursday night (actually I
removed them, as I got anxious to begin using the hand and it was
quite itchy). The burned areas (from my forefingers down to each
middle knuckle except the thumb, and the ring and pinky finger all
the way down to the bottom knuckle) have now closed up completely and
have a new layer of skin that is very red/pinkish. It still is a
little tender, and is very sensitive to heat. But I am very pleased
with my healing. I can type like normal and hope to begin drawing in
a day or two. Happily, I started kora lessons on Monday and then took
another lesson tonight. Being able to do that made me feel quite
good, and definitely on the road to recovery.
Besides the pain and intense burning, the next worse thing was not
being able to do things - cut your own food, draw, type, etc. For
someone who is always doing something, this was difficult. No TV to
daze in front of either!
Thanks all for your words of kindness and concern. I always felt that
ArtsEdNet was a second community to me - always there, whether for
knowledge, support, or even laughs.