Could Have Ended Worse
while laying in a pool of molten aluminum on fire there is no way of knowing what will be the ultimate outcome. the only choices are try to get out of the situation or give up and succomb to the flames. it becomes a matter of survival and a matter of what drives you to survive. family is the drive.
when i first realized what was happening to me, i was already on fire and laying in molten aluminum. the tool i was using blew the welds and released this built up pressure into the furnace and threw me to the ground with the impact of the tool. many events that night were weird. i had turned off the "do not disturb" function of my home phone before i left for work that night. now on the ground and burning, luckily i could not breath otherwise i would have had inhalation damage in my esophagus and lungs. i never lost consciousness which allowed me to comprehend what i needed to do to escape as quick as possible.
since i was at work i am more fortunate than some because i actually had a minor amount of protective gear on. a face shield with hardhat, a welders jacket, and a kevlar apron. welders jackets are not fireproof. the apron protected my legs well and the helmet prevented me from being knocked unconscious, although i sustained significant trauma to my upper lip and took extensive stitches both in muscle tissue and skin to repair.
the impact of the tool had broken four ribs, lacerated my left kidney , lacerated my spleen, and bruised my adrenal gland on the left side. by th etime i was able to remove my flaming gear and stumble toward the overhead door to outside the building i had been able to regain a small capacity to breath. i knew i was burned because i had to use my arm and hand to get up out of the pool of molten aluminum and also my jacket was on fire, but my abdomin hurt so badly i had no idea the extent of the injuries.
helicopter ride to the trauma center and 2 C.T. scans later they determined i had better be moved to the burn unit. i am most fortunate to have only sustained third degree burns to ten percent of my torso, arm, and hand. there were guys in the burn unit who were 80 percent or higher. i thank God every day for protecting me during this.
to forget something so devistating could take a lifetime. instead, it is a matter of living with it. always remembering while there may be skin grafts and scarring, there is still breath and life.