Paul was a three year old at the time this happened in October 2006. He seemed extra happy and full of energy that evening. After coming in from chores, he and his next oldest brother, six year old Yost, were playing hide and seek and having a good time. I was very tired that evening and fell asleep on the rocking chair trying to read.
Daughter Barbara had brought a four fallon bucket of hot water in from the milk house and was getting ready to take a bath. She set the bucket in the bathroom next to the tub and had gone to get a light. Not knowing the hot water was there, I told the boys to go to the bathroom and I’d help them get ready for bed.
They went and still having their mind on the game Yost when first and hid behind the door. So when Paul came in to find him they ended up with the door closed and in darkness. Not knowing the water was there, Paul backed against the bucket of hot water and sat in it.
Barbara was on her way in with the light, so was right there to help him out. I could tell by Paul’s cry and Barbara’s voice that something serious had happened and I rushed in to help.
My first thought was to get his clothes off as soon as possible, but as we took off his shirt the skin came off with it on his side and thighs. Oh my, the sinking feeling as I realized that this was serious. Freeman was still outside choring.
We tried to cool him in water but he didn’t want to sit in cold water. So we wrapped the wringing wet towels around him, changing off to freshones, while I had my oldest son look in the “Home Remedies” book hoping to find something to help us decide what was the next step to take.
There it said ti spray with white vinegar, so we did that. We could tell right away that it felt better, so after covering the area good with vinegar, we drizzled honey over the burns, then covered him in a blanket. He quite crying then and within an hour after it happened he fell asleep. What a relief to be able to make him comfortable!
He had burns on his back and side from under his arms to him bottom and on his thighs. Thankfully his underwear had protected his private parts and we got his clothes off soon enough that it did not burn in that area.
We knew the burdock leaves and B&W salve were good and had some on hand but didn’t know if we knew well enough how to bandage it so Freeman had a neighbor take him to our friends we knew had experience, when their seventeen year old daughter spilled boiling water on her arm and chest area. They gave us more salve and elastic wrap that they had used. We didn’t have any gauze so we just used strips make from a white sheet.
Paul had a good night’s sleep after we got the salve and leaves on and gave him pain reliever. The next day he didn’t want to eat much and we had to keep trying to get him to drink more. I gave him emergen-C.
He laid on his stomach on the couch during the day and in bed at night. He didn’t site or walk for a week to one and a half weeks. I remember one time he was restless I tried to hold and rock him with a pillow on my lap but he suffered from trying to sit. So I didn’t encourage him after that until he decided for himself that he felt like it.
We changed the bandage every twelve hours. We had quite a lot of leaves on hand, but had not had a hard frost yet, so we could gather a lot of fresh ones.
There was an area on his lower back that took longer to heal. I remember changing off some with chickweed salve and honey, which was easier for one thing.
Our neighbor’s daughter had an experience with painful road burns on her leg and arms when something scared her house, tipping the buggy and she was dragged along on the gravel a bit. They healed that with B&W and leaves and I remember her telling me it’s important to keep it wrapped and not uncovered to prevent scars. They also shared their book, Comfort for the Burned and Wounded with us.
We used gauze some, but also cloth strips made from bed sheets and thinking back now, I realize how hard it was to keep everything in place. If areas became uncovered at night, it became itchy and then he’d start picking out the leaves. So we realized now, this is not the time to try to save by using cloths, etc. But he was healed and spared a painful hospital experience which we felt very thankful for. You can still see the spots where it was burned. The skin is even and not burned but it has a lighter color than the older skin.
–Written by Freeman & Sarah Mast in Brown City, MI
–Published in Balm of Gilead Burn Caretakers’ Newsletter Volume 1, No. 2, Summer, 2009
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