Mark Stoll’s Burn Treatment Newsletter November 2008
Dear Caregiver friends,
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Ps 139:14
In the past eight years, my thoughts have turned to this verse again and again as I have watched burns heal. Truly if we have been privileged to see burns heal, we know it is not us that did the healing. It is only by God’s blessings and the wonderful way that he has made our body.
Over the past year and half, John Keim has been having lots of meetings, sharing with others the art of dressing and caring for burns. Those of you who have signed up to be caregivers of your area have a great privilege as well as responsibility. Recently we got to thinking how nice it would be if there would be a way we could all connect and share with each other. I suppose there are none of us that will ever come to the place where we will feel that we have now learned all there is to know. At least I hope not!
So here is this little newsletter, which we are hoping to put out several times a year (perhaps summer, fall, winter and spring). We are largely depending on you and your interest in helping make this a worthwhile venture. We feel the need to be able to share with each other some of the experiences we have come across and some of the things that we have been learning. And also perhaps some of you may have questions that you would like to have answered. We could all help each other provide answers by sharing our experience.
Here is one example that I will begin with to share with you. What can be done of lye burn on the inside of the mouth? Nevin Miller from Cass City, Michigan wrote of his experience in The Plain Interest, which I believe will be printed in the November issue. Here are a few of the details.
Their two year old daughter swallowed lye. By the time they came to the scene she was crying and they expected that a period of about five minutes to have passed from the time that she ate the lye until they came on the scene. They took her to the hospital, and she was transferred to the burn unit. They estimated 75% of the inside of her mouth to have been burned. Her tongue was black.
In the burn unit, they did a scope of her esophagus and felt that the burn was contained to her mouth only and not down her throat. After a few days she was allowed to go home. But the pain was intense, and the little girl refused to eat. What could they do?
They contacted me by phone, but I had never had any experience in this line either.
The did mention that the child seemed to sleep with her mouth open which dried out the mouth and seemed to make the pain more severe.
So I suggested that they put burdock leaves on the outside of her chin and cheeks and tie her mouth shut with a scarf or something while she is sleeping. No B&W ointment was used. That first night she slept until 4:00am. Then she woke up and asked for yogurt! After that, whenever she took a nap or went to sleep, they put burdock leaves on the outside and tied her mouth shut and the pain level was very bearable.
So a while later, Nevin himself had a toothache bad enough that it kept him from sleeping. Remembering their experience with their little daughter he decided to put a burdock leaf on the outside. I guess he had tried crushing a leaf and putting it right on this tooth first. But this was so bitter it was hard to decide which was worse — the bitter taste of the leaf or the pain from his tooth! But after putting the leaf on the outside the pain was bearable and he could sleep.
Has anyone else ever had experience similar to this? I usually think that just because something works for one person one time, does not necessarily mean that it works for everyone all the time. A number of different cases would need to have similar results before we could expect something to be facts. At least that is my opinion.
Another example of something that we tried once with very successful results that we would like to share with you, and would welcome feedback from anyone else trying this same thing.
And that is – both John Keim and I have noticed that when dressing a small child with burdock leaves and B&W ointment, it seems the skin of the little children is often so delicate. It is often just a matter of time until an allergy develops and we need to switch to another king of leaf. Other leaves can work as far as keeping the bandage from sticking, but our experience has been that no other leaf has the healing and pain properties that the burdock leaf has. Nor the protection from infection.
In February, we had a two-year-old come to us that had sat into a bucket of hot water. Her whole diaper area – every crack and crevice – was second and third-degree burned. She was not potty trained, and we felt the need for using the the burdock leaf as long as we absolutely could. So we then experimented by diluting the leaf. We poured boiling water on the leaves, and once the water was nicely colored, we poured the water off and put boiling water on them again. We repeated this process for three times. We did not know, it was simply an act of experimenting of how often to do this until the leaf would not be too weak to do what it normally does.
The little girl’s burns healed beautifully. She never once got an allergy nor any hint of infection. We put a leaf on her buttocks, lengthwise right on both sides of her rectum opening. This way, when she had a bowel movement it went on top of the leaf and not between the leaf and her burn. We tried to change her dressing each time we became aware that she wet herself or moved her bowels. This was often 5 or 6 times a day.
Here again we would welcome input. Did weakening the burdock leaf work only on this little girl, or is it a pattern that we should now be able to follow? We welcome hearing anything you may have experienced.
We assume that all of you are aware that Hills and Dales Hospital in Cass City, Michigan has offered its service to any Plain people that do not carry health insurance. For minor burns that do not need to have a ventilator, they will take care of the clinical part of the burn patient and allow the B&W ointment with burdock leaves to be used in the hospital. They had their grand opening on August 14, 2008. Both John Keim and I were there, and the hospital and the staff are very serious about this. The Plain people of the U.S. are very fortunate!
I, for one, feel quite strongly that any burns over 15% of the body – especially so if it is a child – needs to be monitored very closely for the first 48 hours. Shock and dehydration are not always easy to detect, and once detected, minutes count. There have been too many casualties. Let’s not take chances. Even if we could get away with it 90% of the time, what about the other 10%? Now that we have doctors and a hospital that will work with us Plain people, we could encourage everyone to consider the use of them.
This is their address and phone number:
Hills and Dales General Hospital
4675 Hill Street
Cass City Michigan 46736
No doubt most of you have heard about Lydia Miller, two year old daughter of Andy and Barbara Miller of Norwich, Ontario. She burned approx. 35% of her body in a fire. The doctor and the hospital in London, Ontario that has been so supportive in the past (even as recent as the two-year-old girl that got burned in her diaper area – mentioned earlier – Dr. Scilley had said “If Mark is comfortable, so am I”, has made a complete turn-around. They forced little Lydia Miller to receive three skin graft surgeries, even though her parents did not sign for the surgery. They got a public attorney to do the signing. It was a long, sad, and hard nightmare, the eight weeks spent in the hospital. Especially knowing there is a better way.
We do not understand why this happened, other than Dr. Scilley says his insurance company will not let him support us, and we do not know what God’s will is for letting this happen. Lydia now has severe restrictions because of skin grafting. But never mind, there will be follow up surgery and releases all of Lydia’s life. How horrific!
Last week we were in Holmes Country, Ohio and had the privilege of being invited to and attending the second semi-annual care-givers gathering. We found this such a positive idea-getting together and sharing in a non formal way. It is heard to put a value on something like that.
So may we hear from you – anything you have to share, any advise you have for the rest of us. We should be able to benefit from one another’s experiences.
It is hard to guess what the size of this newsletter will be once we hear from you. But postage seems to keep on going up. Right now there are nearly 500 of us caregivers. Isn’t that encouraging?
If you are interested on receiving this newsletter and becoming a part of the sharing and learning, we were wondering if you would want to pay $5.00 annually? In other words, we are mailing out this newsletter to all of you free of charge. But everyone’s subscription begins at New Year. When we are ready to mail out the next newsletter after New Years, we will mail it only to those that are interested and only to those who have sent us $5.00 to help along with the postage and copying costs.
In closing, let us remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Let us also remember that if and when healing takes place, it is because of that.
Send all correspondence to:
Mark & Dora Fern Stoll
51623 College Line
Canada N5H 2R3
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