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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.

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 13-Feb-13 20:45:02

Mollydoggerson
My husband in the past has done a couple of really stupid things with my little boy. Very luckily nothing untoward happened. One example of this, was when he was just 4 years old, I went in to his workshop and my little boy was at the top of a 12ft ladder, whilst my husband was doing something next to it on the workbench. I went absolutely ballistic. I just couldn't believe my eyes!! That was 2 year's ago, and I still mention it now. The other example was with some fireworks - but I was there at the start, and in no uncertain terms put my foot down immediately (I am glad I did, because had my son been standing where my husband suggested, it could have ended up to be very nasty indeed).

I do take what you are saying in terms of them both being stupid, but when you literally tell someone hundreds of times, sometimes you (probably very naively) believe that they would not be so utterly utterly stupid as to do it again.

Mollydoggerson Wed 13-Feb-13 20:15:11

I am so sorry that your whole family went through such tragedy. It really is so heartwrenching, I can't imagine how hard it has been.

FWIW I think you either need to forget about the blame (it wont change anything), or else to reassess it. You knew he was reckless, you had to remind him 100's of times before the accident to take better precautions. In the knowledge that he was reckless you left your dd in his care around a naked flame. You knew he had caused a fireballl years before causing a near miss to another child. Blame is wasted energy, it won't help or change anything. He did something exceptionally stupid and you did something stupid too. Your dd doesn't blame, she is such an inspiration. I am so sorry you have had to have lived through such horror and I hope that you can continue to be really strong and to leave the negative feelings behind.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 13-Feb-13 20:14:30

Mimi
It exploded on to her daughter because the petrol was in a 'plastic' container - ie. petrol fumes/vapor in the air near the bonfire.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 13-Feb-13 20:07:05

Pilgit
How can BPM forgive her ex-husband if he won't actually accept full responsibility for the accident?

He describes it as 'a mistake anyone could have made.' (What utter bollocks).

I really do appreciate that forgiveness is a wonderful healer, but sadly some things can never be forgiven.

How strange, I was only thinking about you last night - was there something on the news about a fire? Anyway, I was wondering how you and your DCs were doing and here you are!

So glad to hear that your DD is doing well, and that you are optimistic for the future.

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Wed 13-Feb-13 18:55:04

Bulletproofmum I lurked and followed this thread, so incredibly sad for you all.

You are truly amazing, I,m so happy to hear your dd and ds,s are doing well.
Children are fantastic aren,t they? Their ability to adapt and cope with the most testing of circumstances never ceases to humble me.
I was saddened to hear your marriage has ended - I hope you both find peace, and I wish all of you the best for the future.
I have no dout your brilliant girl will handle whatever her big, bright future has in store for her, how could she not, with such a loving family and inspirational mother by her side?
thanks .

RoomForASmallOne Mon 11-Feb-13 13:00:25

Glad to hear your DD is doing well OP and her brothers are minding her smile

Sad news you have split, the extra pain of that will hopefully ease.

Good luck.

Mimishimi Mon 11-Feb-13 12:54:53

One of my second cousins fell into a container of freshly prepared cement when he was four and had gone with his dad and a friend to do a paving job. Cement back then was very caustic and he ended up with 80% burns. He had to wear a suit like your little one does for what seemed to me back then years. My Aunty also had to massage him etc as well. Of course, don't know the ins and outs of their relationship afterwards but they are still together. He grew up to be a handsome bugger too strangely enough ... Somehow the scarred skin only served to emphasise his huge dark greenish brown eyes and almost black hair.

I'd say your husband feels awful about it but was he lighting an open bonfire or an incinerator? You can't predict what kids will do around fire and they move so quickly. My 3 year old brother threw his new expensive Tonka truck and tractor in the incinerator to see what would happen to it. Dad said he had his back turned for 3 seconds.

Pilgit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:54:07

apologies just noticed thedate of the first post - ignore me....

Pilgit Mon 11-Feb-13 11:52:36

long term forgiveness is the best gift you can both give to yourselves and your family. If he cannot forgive himself he will not be able to move on and this will be a spectre over your relationship and family. I cannot imagine the heartache and stress for all of you. I am in awe of all of your family's resilience. I cannot imagine how you would begin to forgive and counselling would probably be of help. I am not sure i would manage it if i were in your position.

caramelwaffle Mon 11-Feb-13 11:17:52

Good to hear your daughter is doing well. Good luck with everything

StuntNun Mon 11-Feb-13 11:04:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pancakeflipper Mon 11-Feb-13 10:56:03

BPM - I think about your daughter and you very often and wonder how you are doing so the update about your daughter has lifted my snowy dull Monday. Sorry to hear about your marriage, though glad you are looking forwards.

badinage Mon 11-Feb-13 10:47:33

I read this thread over the weekend and it sounds like a horrendous 18 months for you all BPM. So glad your daughter is doing well.

I'm so sorry your marriage didn't survive. Before your update, I thought it would because you'd said several times in the thread that your marriage had been happy before the accident.

How have the kids responded to the split?

Bulletproofmum Mon 11-Feb-13 10:30:12

BTW... the whole blame issue that was discussed at the time wasn't really ever a conscious decision in the reason we decided to split. The accident clearly hit our relationship hard, we have barely touched eachother since. the longer time went on the less I wanted to. DH was also very unhappy and had plenty of opportunities to work on our marriage - he never tried.

whenw e had counselling much of the discussionw as wrt to issues we had precedding the accident. The seemed as pertinent, if not more pertinent than the accident itself. Maybe the issues before the marriage came into sharper focus in the months that followed and I was les prepared to forgive those under the circumstances.

Whilst exDH initially took complete responsibility for the accident he has later described it as a mistake that enyone ould have made. This is red rag to a bull to me. I completely and utterly recognise it as an accident. I also recognise it as a mistake that many would have made, but not one that anyone would have made. I certainly wouldn't have.

Feckthehalls Sun 10-Feb-13 23:37:51

wow BPM, I am speechless.You are an incredible woman.
I wish you and your family much love and happiness in the future. I am glad you reached the right decision about your marriage , even if it was a hard one.

foofooyeah Sun 10-Feb-13 23:09:37

Just came across this post, I am so glad your daughter is doing well, it must have been such a hard time for all of you. I am sad your marriage didnt last but it sounds like you are looking ahead with optimism and hope. Youy boys sounds lovely. Good luck.

Bulletproofmum Sun 10-Feb-13 22:18:03

Hi there,

I'm still here and nice to know my story was remembered. I haven't seen the other thread posted today and didn't start one today of my own.

My life hasn't been easy for the last 18 months. My dd is doing brilliantly. Thank god she no longer needs the injections, pressure garments etc - just massage and creaming. She has regular operations, mainly on her hands. She deals with it all brilliantly but her life is very different to most two year olds. She has an anaesthesia induction mask to play with at home. She puts it on my face and tells me to go to sleep as she will make me better. At nursery last week she was playing nurses and bandaging her friends. Before administering care she was offering them some morphine! She is badly scarred and still does gain attention and the odd stupid comment. She is such an amazing character though she gets through anything.

Her brothers have been amazing, they are so protective of her it's lovely. She gets away with murder.

Sadly my marriage hasn't survived. We tried counselling, weekends away, many things. The love, the passion is gone. We had problems before the accident. Even a strong marriage would have struggled to get through what we've been through, ours wasn't strong enough. We decided to separate in September and he moved out last week. It's been a horrid time despite being, in the overall scheme of things relatively amicable. I'm doing ok, the relief now is wonderful as its been very difficult tense time living in the same house for the last 18m. I'm happy and optimistic about my future. It is hard though working full time with three young children, one of whom needs a lot of help.

RafflesWay Sun 10-Feb-13 20:39:22

Last I saw I believe they have recently separated but are still living under same roof. I think that was around Christmas. Do hope all is ok for them all!

Abitwobblynow Sun 10-Feb-13 20:30:10

Did she not leave him? I think she did.

Bobbybird40 Sun 10-Feb-13 11:15:48

I know this thread is old - I think the OP has started a new one today, hence this been resurrected. FWIW, it seems perfectly understandable to me that the OP should be annoyed at her DH. His arrogance in ignoring her previous warnings re containers of petrol nearly cost her daughter her life. Anybody in her shoes would be furious, how they would ever forgive him I do not know.

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