Fire! I’m on fire!

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I am going to use this article to force 1 of my friends to do an article on safety in the work environment for me. She knows herself (yes, you!), lol. This is one of those stories I’m sharing, just because I am mischievous. You should have noticed by now that I tend to see the lighter side of things.

I was thanking my Jehovah that my call was over, at about 7 or 8 am, that day. Who should drive in, but the manager of a popular fast food joint in that town. The patient she brought was stark naked, screaming in agony, covered with burns, and slimy stuff. He stood in front of the A & E, howling. I asked her what happened, while the nurses were trying to convince him to let them cover him up. He refused. As far as he was concerned, everyone could get an eye full. She told me he was frying some pastries in a big pan of hot oil, when for whatever reason, he fell head long into it! I don’t know till date, whose idea it was to pour eggs on him. They seemed to believe it would help, or they used the opportunity to fry the eggs, I don’t know. He was covered with burns and eggs. No part of him was spared, not even the scrotum (sorry for being so vivid, it’s the medical me).

I told her we needed to take off the burnt skin before dressing his burns. He had 1st degree burns, luckily. That means only his skin, and not the tissues underneath were affected. I can’t remember the percentage, but it was extensive. Face, chest, buttocks, arms, legs, you name it, had a burn. The young man refused to let us peel it off. He insisted we give him a pain reliever, and dress the burns. I told him they would form eschars. These are scars formed when burned skin is allowed to heal without being taken off. It’s unsightly and disfiguring. He would not budge, despite myassurance that in less than 1 month, he would have new skin.

That day, I did something drastic. I may not have the courage to do so, now I am older. I told him it was my way, or the high way. He could take himself to another hospital, where his orders would be obeyed. All this while, he was stomping, howling, appealing to his ancestors and what not. I held firm. We had given him a shot, but I knew it would take a while to kick in. That time was all we had to convince him as I knew if he felt better, he would ask to be taken away.

His manager, all the while averting her eyes from his nakedness, tried to reason with him.

“Let them do what they want to do. I’ll leave you here O! We’ve been to another hospital, and no doctor was on duty. Stop wasting time!”, she scolded.

“How will they take off my skin? Won’t I die? Won’t I look like an animal? What have I done to deserve this?”, he moaned.

“You have 5 minutes to decide, or I’ll go home. My call is over”, I threatened.

Finally, he agreed. Then began the long, harrowing process of gently taking off the burned skin, and dressing his wounds. This was after washing off the egg crusts. His pain threshold was also low. I have treated other burn cases but this one takes the cake. His crying discouraged the nurses from being the ones to attend to him, most often. I guess he was young, probably 19 to 21. He was on admission for 2 months. I never got any rest, for he reminded me daily that he was waiting for his new skin.

It came in 3 weeks, thank God! Slowly, at first, but he eventually thanked me for insisting. That case brought me many laurels. My MD was excited by the patient (corporate patients don’t owe like private patients). I increased my knowledge of burns management. Also, he became a testimony. Just before discharge, we had another, less serious burns case. When he put up a resistance, I simply took him to this guy’s room. It was he who convinced him to put his life in my 5ft5, 52kg hands, lol. I didn’t spend as much time appealing. In fact, he went ahead to shower praises on me, when it was the nurses who did the most work.

I’ll leave you to decide what to take away. Sometimes you need to stand your ground. You have to be willing to lose your life, to keep it, says the bible. I hope we ensure safety standards are met where we spend most of our day. If you spend 8 to 9 hours at work, it should be as safe as your home. Should you sustain a burn, please use only clean water (room temperature), to cool the site. Cover loosely with the cleanest material you can find and rush to the hospital. I pray we remain safe, we don’t want you screaming “I’m on fire!, now, do we?”. Cheers


15 thoughts on “Fire! I’m on fire!

    omo said:
    March 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    You really crack me up. I stumbled on your blog via bella naija and must say I’m glad I did. As a mum of 3 just finishing up my 2nd year of medical school, you inspire me and I know I’ll get there by God’s grace. I always wanted to be a doctor, but trust our dear naija to attempt to kill one’s dream. I am blessed to be able to go back to med school at age 36, turning 38 soon and ready to take my boards before starting rotations. God has been good. I hope I have as much fun as you seem to be doing. God bless…:)

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      U are an inspiration! It’s not easy being a mom O. I work part time so I can be available for my kids. Thank u for not giving up on your dreams. Mmuah

    Charles Williams said:
    March 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    This is so funny!

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 18, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Ahhhh, if u were d guy u wouldn’t be laughing

    tenderonii said:
    March 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Wow,….this is indeed another gist from t=you to me….inspirational gist I would call it.
    I have learnt from this “gist” to always strive to the what’s best, no matter the opposition or circumstance.
    And that comment from Mrs. Omo, is just so inspirational and motivating. The dream is coming to pass in reality. Nothing is stopping her. Great.
    Thanks ma’am, you keep inspiring me

      omo said:
      March 19, 2014 at 1:19 am

      Thank you all. The thought that I could be inspiring others… It’s never easy for sure but with God, all things really are possible. Thanks Dr N. Looking forward to the day I’ll be called Dr. O!

        tenderonii said:
        March 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

        Yes Ma, indeed with God all things are possible…there’s no stopping us ma. I too will be called Dr. H……and we shall be a testimony and inspiration in the mouths of others. God derives pleasure in doing good things for us, so I have no fear. Thanks ma

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 19, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Yay! To Omo. She’s my new hero

    imperfectlyperfect92 said:
    March 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    yes Mrs Omo, you can do it. we had a 71 year old woman in my class then, she graduated with us with no extra year and good results, she is also in law school right now with us too…with God on your side and determination, you can..cheers.

    Naijawife said:
    March 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I’m inclined to focus on the nurses in this story…we all know how they tend to be aggressive. and mean towards patients, was that the case here?

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Yes, but, in the presence of doctors who don’t permit such, they transform into angels. The leader sets d mood. It is really difficult to attend to someone in pain, to the nurses’ credit. They try to be gentle but….

    Inthe... said:
    March 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Wow! You go girl! I’ve actually heard the whole egg on burns thing. My aunt who poured eggs all over my cousin’s burnt arms said it soothes the skin! Who knows.. Anyway great story and important moral.

      drnsmusings responded:
      March 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      You have? Methinks it’s an old wives tale. Did it help?

    hrh7 said:
    May 1, 2015 at 3:58 am

    It actually does. Had a burn myself once. Depends on the individual though.
    I do have a bone to pick with you. You’ve been claiming petite and you’re 5′ 5. I’m 5’4 and no one thinks I’m petite! đŸ˜¡

      drnsmusings responded:
      May 13, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      No one thinks u r petite? Aren’t u lucky? Lol

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