Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Emergency Room Trip

I've been involved with Celebrate Fairfax for 16 years, and some of my enjoyment now is seeing the my kids' excitement at the festival. So this year, I took my kids figuring that we would eat some food, see a few performances, and maybe even ride a couple of carnival rides. When we arrived at the festival, I wanted to make sure to say hi to a few people and to show off the kids before we partaked in the food and merriment. These are people who I've worked with for years but only see at the festival, and of course they want to see how much the kids have grown.

After being on site for approximately 10 minutes, we wandered over to the VIP area to say hi to someone I didn't see during festival set-up. The VIP area had trays of food, presumably for sponsors and other important people. Basically, the food wasn't for me. Anyway, as I was talking with my friend, my three year old (Pedro Tulo) apparently became curious by a Sterno container and its flame. I don't know if he touched the Sterno itself or the pan, but my friend told him to be careful that it was hot. Neither of us actually saw if he touched something. Pedro Tulo wasn't happy after this, so I picked him up, said goodbye, and walked away as he started to cry. Not a massive cry/meltdown like when I take off his shoes when he wants to take off his shoes himself (the remedy for this is to put the shoes back on his feet so he can then take them off himself), but he seemed to be in some discomfort.

(An innocent looking Sterno kit.)

With his hands wrapped around my neck, I wasn't sure at this point if he did touch something, but I figured we should find First Aid just to be safe. He stopped crying pretty quickly though he still wanted to be held as we walked to the First Aid station. It was at the station that I saw his hand for the first time. Three fingers on the back of his right hand were white. I learned later that they blistered over quickly. The folks at the First Aid tent really couldn't do much for us on site and arranged for us to take an ambulance ride to an Emergency Room. This was about the time when I started to panic (on the inside; I needed to stay calm so my kids would stay calm). I had no experiences with burns, but going to the hospital never crossed my mind. The ambulance was located probably 250 yards away, and the First Aid crew offered to wheel us over. Pedro Tulo decided that he wanted to walk. My six year old (The Moose) was next to him the entire time being an excellent big brother.

When we arrived at the ambulance, I lifted Pedro Tulo up the stairs, but then he took it from there. He went right into the bed which surprised the medic* as he said he had never seen a kid so young go into the bed so willingly and easily. Although there are hospitals much closer to festival site, we were transported to Children's National Medical Center, the place to go in the DC area for pediatric burns. The medics were outstanding. They were patient and caring and really put my kids at ease. The medic in the back of the ambulance gave The Moose an iPad to watch a video and Pedro Tulo his phone to watch a video, and both kids enjoyed the ride.

At the hospital, Pedro Tulo held the hand of one of the medics walking into the ER registration and then part-way through the walk, decided he wanted to hold the hand of the other medic. Throughout the ambulance ride and at the hospital itself, Pedro Tulo acted like his normal self. I had to stop him from touching every piece of equipment in the room and try to stop him from going into other rooms. It turns out that he had second degree burns on the back of his hand. They gave Pedro Tulo some sort of pain inhalant and rubbed off the already dead skin. Lovely, right? They bandaged the area and sent us home with instructions not to get the bandage/wound wet.

Pedro Tulo and I had three subsequent visits to the Children's National Medical Center's burn clinic where they saw how the skin was healing and re-wrapped the wound. They are wizards at wrapping.

At the last appointment, they said he has no restrictions, and hand should heal in as soon as a few weeks or several months. We put lotion/massage his hand 2-3 times a day, and the key is to protect the hand from the sun, so we have a special zinc oxide suntan lotion.

This is a picture of Pedro Tulo's hand six days after he burned it. While this may look bad, this was actually the new skin growing back. It looks much better now, just 10 days after this picture.

A few notes:

- When we got to the First Aid tent, I repeatedly referred to the Sterno as steno. Obviously, no one knew what I was talking about, unless someone thought that there was a stenographer who was on fire running around the site.

- While in the ambulance, I gave both of my kids fruit snacks since I figured they were or would be hungry. In hindsight, that was not very smart. If Pedro Tulo needed to have any type of surgery, he couldn't have had any food.

- Giving Pedro Tulo a bath over the last few weeks was loads of fun. We put a sock on his hand, then covered his hand/arm with two plastic grocery bags, and tied it on with one of my wife's hair bands all while pleading to him not to get anything wet.

- There are no quick ways to get to Children's National Medical Center. None.

- I have a feeling (and another friend said this too) that this won't be Pedro Tulo's last trip to the emergency room. He is mischievous and will find some other way to get into trouble or hurt himself.

I think the kids will have a better time at Celebrate Fairfax next year!

* I'm using the term medic though I'm not sure of the actual title.


Nichole Fisher said...


1. So glad he is ok
2. Amazing at how well he took the whole thing, ambulance ride included
3. I think your friend might be right. Make friends with the ER peeps now :)

Sean said...

Thanks Nichole! His hand looks even better now. Amazing how quickly kids can bounce back.