My Miracle

It has taken me several months to post this. I was given the website by a very dear friend and I've been procrastinating because I don't like to think about that long ago night.
In May of 2006, my life changed as I knew it. I was in a house fire, and suffered third degree burns on 43% of my body.
The only thing I know is that alcohol was the leading factor in the situation.
Earlier in the evening, I remember filling my Zippo with lighter fluid. The story that was printed in the news paper was that I had spilled lighter fluid on my pajama pants, and passed out smoking a cigarette catching them on fire. And that story came from God knows where because at that point I had already been in an induced coma. However, nobody (including myself) knows for sure what happened.  whether i blocked it out because of the trauma, or blacked out from drinking...I'll guess with ya.
Earlier in the evening, I remember filling my Zippo with lighter fluid. The story that was printed in the news paper was that I had spilled lighter fluid on my pajama pants, and passed out smoking a cigarette catching them on fire. And that story came from God knows where because at that point I had already been in an induced coma. However, nobody (including myself) knows for sure what happened.  whether i blocked it out because of the trauma, or blacked out from drinking...I'll guess with ya.
I had called my 16 year-old sister right before the fire started, and she says I sounded very out of it, not making much sense. Apparently, I told her my legs were burning, so she told me to wake up my boyfriend. I told her I couldn't walk that far, and she told me to crawl. Then she heard my first screams. I will never know what that has done to her mentally and emotionally.
I have had one flashback of those screams, happening when I was watching a movie. Every time I think about it, my throat hurts as though I have just screamed as loud as possible until I can't scream anymore.
I didn't find out until months later that a passerby was the one who pulled me from the fire. My boyfriend had woken up and pulled my burning pants off, pulling the skin off with them. He then ran out of the house I guess thinking I was going to die anyway (needless to say he is no longer my boyfriend). I will never know who my savior was, but neighbors had seen him stop his truck and go into the house. He got me out and carried me across the street, laying me in the grass. He went back to his truck and got a jacket, and covered me with it (I was naked and by this time there were several neighbors outside). It took 15 minutes for the ambulance to get there, and I do remember riding in it, holding my arms and legs up screaming in pain. It looked like black chiffon was hanging from my right arm, but I know now it was my skin.
I was life flighted to the University of Utah Burn Center after they induced me in a coma in case I crashed on the way.
Once there, they had to wait for three days before they could do any surgeries so I could go through alcohol detox. I had several blood transfusions in those first days and it was touch and go the whole time.
I woke up 3 weeks later, convinced the pain was because both of my legs were broken from jumping out my second story bedroom window. It's amazing what the human brain can do to protect us! My first two graft surgeries had already been done by then. My entire right leg, and my right forearm and hand. They took donors from my abdomen, back, and upper buttocks. I had suffered contractures in my foot from being immobile for three weeks. I will never forget the agony of them standing me up for the first time, let alone the showers in the "tank room" every day.
I had one more graft done, and that was from the inside of my left ankle to my crotch (i was lucky my groin area was not damaged). Those donors were from the outside of my left leg.
Since I didn't have any medical insurance, I was sent home after six weeks in ICU. I was not eligible for the rehab floor, so my incredibly strong, loving mother brought me home and bathed and bandaged her 22 year-old daughter every day. The process took about two hours, then it was off to physical and occupational therapy. She also had to work since my medications alone cost over $400 a month, and she couldn't find any financial aid.
I've thought about trying hypnosis to find out what really happened that night. I don't think I will because if God wanted me to know, he would allow me to remember. It wasn't my time to go. And honestly, I wouldn't change what happened to me if I could. It has made me into a strong woman, and to appreciate everything I do have. I have also found God, and He has helped me tremendously.
I have since become a CNA. I have been on the receiving end of being dependent on other people to care for me. There aren't many people my age who can say that, and it has made me a very compassionate caregiver.
I have since relapsed twice from sobriety, but I just celebrated my one year sobriety birthday in AA. It's the longest I've ever gone. I have a sponsor now, and I'm finally dealing with being burned. I've started the grieving process for the loss of my skin, and "perfect body". I still can't stand naked and look at myself in the mirror, but I hope to someday.
The good thing about all of this I tell people, is that I save money on razors and shaving cream. I only have about a quarter of one leg to shave for the rest of my life!
And that, of course, I am grateful to God and lucky to have survived.
luckyred luckyred
26-30, F
2 Responses Aug 7, 2010

hi lucky red i am a burn survior from canada!! I understand completely!! But i look as my scars i am 85% burned i have earned the and they make me unique!!! i was in a atco wellsite campshack fire in 96 i tryed to save a friend and i didnt and i got burned!! you arent ever alone keep smiling and it does get easier!! troy

Your story touched my heart. As a fellow burn survivor, I can sympathize and empathize with you. I have no memories of my accident, nor much of my childhood. I too, cannot stand in front of a mirror and look at myself. The scars are horrible, and I am still very self concious about my scars. The ones people see in public dont bother me. But as far as feeling comfortable exposing my other scars to even a boyfriend, I cant do it. Take care and I hope your healing process is going well.