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So here's my story - read it and weep (you have been warned)

(204 Posts)
BulletProofMum Thu 10-Nov-11 11:15:51

I am married with three lovely children (6, 4, 20m). On the first day of the summer holidays I was preparing a barbecue on one side of the house whilst my husband was trying to light a bonfire on the other. He was looking after the baby or was toddling around the courtyard with her dolls pushchair. The older children wer inside watching t.v.

I heard shouting and then my eldest calling on me. I went round to find the bonfire out of control and my daughter's pushchair at the base of it. I went inside to find my husband sobbing and the skin hanging off his hands and arms. My daughter was in the bath screaming. What I thought were her clothes hanging off her was her skin. The ambulance took forever. My daughter was taken first to a hospital 25 min away and my husband to another. She was intially asessed as having 70 % burns. They battled to stabilise her, no one would answer my question ' will she be alright'? She was stablised, ventilated and transferred to a specialist burnes unit in Essex. She spent 32 days in intensive care, underwent 7 operations, survived 2 bouts of pneumonia, partial lung collapse, GI failure, metabolic instability. It was a roller coaster. The first two weeks were critical and she was extremely poorly. Numerous heart breaking conversations were had - I can't descibe the pain of those weeks. My husband was at the same hospital wit 15 % burns.

Once she turned the corner her progress has been fantastic. She has grafts to her face, hands, tummy, legs and large scars all over. Three times a day I have to cream and masage her, apply silicon gels and dressings, and then put on pressure garments (tight mask, gloves, leggings and body suit) that make her look like a super hero). She is extremely itchy and takes 5 drugs for this but still doesn't sleep well and scratches constantly. It wakes about 3/4 hr to do it properly. She develped blood clots so needs twice daily injections of a type of warfarin that I administer. My husband can't help and his hands are slow to heal (he had grafts up to hs elbows) and he has limited movement and pain in his hands.

So - my life is crap! My beautiful bay girls is scarred and uncomfortable (although copes remarkably well). I constantyl have to go through her massaing routine which she is becoming more tolerant of but is staill ahrd. The worst bi is puting on the gloves. She runs to my husband after I have doen the crap bit. We are back and forward to hospital (2 hr each way) once or twice a week. My poor boys have to play second fiddle all the time and I barely saw them throughout the summer. They are wonderfult o ehr though and super protective. Everywhere we go we are stared out and nudged (she wears a pink balaclava, the opressure garment).

However all this will improve as her scars mature (moths/years rather than weeks).

But here's the crux of it. Will I lose my marriage as well? My husband left a bottle of petrol, in a vegtable oil container, about 10 ft away from the bonfire, whilst in charge of a toddler. I don't know whether she picked it up but it was this that exploded. I have berated him 101 times about using petrol on bonfires, also on putting petrol (or any chemical) in stupid containers. He would give his life to turn the clock back and it was an accident. However it was a completely avoidable accident that I hold him 100% responsible for. He is a broken man but as time goes on I am finidng it harder to forgive rather than easier. What are my other options? A single mum working full time with three small children, one of whom needs an awful lot of care? I just don't know.

Hi BPM, have seen your story throughout my time on MN, but never felt able to comment. Whilst I am sorry that your marriage didn't survive, I am pleased that your DD is recovering and taking things in her stride.

I know a girl around a year ago who had life changing burns to her face after pulling a chip pan down on herself at around 18 months. At 3 years and in nursery, whilst she was quite aware that people "looked" at her, she would smile and tell them her name. It was her coping mechanism, and it was quite wonderful to see, especially as it was one which she had come up with alone.

BCBG Wed 13-Feb-13 21:21:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bulletproofmum Wed 13-Feb-13 22:38:48

Thanks for all your kind messages.

Mimsy, she does cope with it brilliantly. She calls her scars her burnies. Apparently her self-awareness will hit at about 7. However at the hospital they tell me that frequently the more seriously injured children turn out to be the most confident and secure in their appearance and very out going. I believe dd will be like this.

Molly. I'm struggling to see my responsibility in this. Regrets, oh yes plenty, I kick myself for not thinking what he's like and taking action.However parenting is a partnership - you cannot be watching the other at all times. You trust them, You have to. It never would have occurred to me at that dh would be so stupid to leave an open plastic bottle of petrol near a bonfire whilst in charge of a toddler. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Fwiw - it's not the blame that has destroyed our marriage. It has been the impact of numerous hospital visits, endless day to day care, sleepless nights, seeing my dd in pain. Balancing this with the needs of my other two children and a full time busy job. I was surprised to see that 18m ago I said there were no problems. Looking back now our marriage lacked many things. Of course dh was deeply affected by the accident but the day to day impact has been on me. Dh failed to recognise and appreciate that (and no I have never rammed that down his throat). Even if there were equal blame our marriage would have struggled under the circumstances.

Jux Thu 14-Feb-13 00:01:33

TBH, I think you're probably still partially in shock, as you are still working so hard to get your dd well, your dh is not fully recovered, and you are running about like a blue-arsed fly with insufficient support and help. You are exhausted from everything you have to do every day, and there is no real let up in it yet.

To expect to be able to make that act of forgiveness on top of everything else is expecting too much of yourself. Until the long terms effects are clearer, you don't know really what you are looking at, so how could you decide whether you can forgive anything or not, even though you want to. Wait until you have some leisure to think about and feel things. I suspect you don't really allow yourself to feel too much right now; you're concentrating very hard on getting through each day, creaming, wrapping, medicating your dd, trying to keep things normal for your boys, rushing about hither and yon, and working.

As so many others have said, now is not the time. Deal with the things you have to deal with today, the rest can wait until tomorrow.

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