The Burn Unit

Someone close to me, an 8 year old girl ended up hospitalized in the burn unit of a large hospital after a serious injury to her arm and chest. We were all so concerned and upset because anyone who knows anything about burns knows how painful they are. The treatment in the hospital at first consisted of pulling off the bandage and scrapping the wound clean. Repressed tears were a constant, since we tried not to cry in front of her. Burn units are full of sad and tragic stories from babies to men who cry in pain. While in the waiting room one day we met Carol, the grandmother of a patient there, Pinky. Pinky then 15 was hanging out with some friends at a recording studio when someone who had a grudge against the studio or its owner torched it. 2 people died and Pinky was burned over 80% of her body including her face. She turned 16 in the burn unit, even after 3 months was still on a ventilator, which means talking was hard, and was expected to be there at least 2 more months.  In the children’s playroom a couple of days before, I had noticed a young boy, Julian, who looked to have been burned all over his body. Carol shared his story. He was 9 years old. While in a car with his 2 siblings and parents, the car was hit by a speeding RV and caught fire. His siblings and father died. His mother was injured but had recovered and shared with Carol how she remembered laying there while people around took pictures! Julian was burned over 70% of his body. By the time I saw him however, grafts had taken the rest of his usable skin. His wounds were no longer open and he no longer needed bandages, so he was discharged while we were there after having been in the burn unit many weeks.

The 8 year old did not see Pinky but saw Julian and understood he was hurt far more than she was. I did not see Pinky either, but the whole idea of being a victim of someone’s wickedness is  something that cannot easily be dismissed. How often do people snub any of us, are inconsiderate, say unkind words, do hurtful things, how often are we the object of others’ mistakes yet nothing like Julian and Pinky experienced. How would we handle being on the other end of such a situation? Carole said it’s hard not to be bitter and did not talk like a bitter person.  How would we deal with those who wrong us in a way that negatively affects the rest of our lives?

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