A return visit to the burn unit to say ‘thank you’

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately.  I’ve been super busy and on top of that my laptop has been out of commission and when I have access to my husband’s computer in the later hours of the evening, I’m too tired to think straight anymore!  But I miss you all when I don’t write.

A while ago I took Yirmiyahu for a standard hearing test.  It wasn’t clear at that time if he was hearing well or not.  Initially he responded to all the tones but after several times turning his head to the sound of someone calling his voice and seeing no one there, he began to look intently at the woman in the glass enclosed room when she spoke into her microphone (though her mouth was covered) instead of looking to the speakers that her voice emanated from.  I’m not concerned about his hearing but this is something that has to be checked out to be sure there’s no issue and the way to do it with a child this young is via the BERA test which tests the brains response to auditory stimulus while a child is asleep.

To make a long and exhausting story short, after traveling for the BERA test to a hospital in a different city that’s only a thirty minute drive away but an hour and a half trip on two different buses, he fell asleep after being given the medication.  The technician attached the electrodes to his head, and as she was almost finished, he stirred and sleepily opened his eyes.  If he hadn’t seen a strange woman looming over him and had black wires hanging down over his eyes, he probably would have fallen right back to sleep but he was very alarmed.  I waited 2.5 hours for him to fall asleep again, but the same thing happened then. So I had no choice but to reschedule for this week.

It was very frustrating to spend so long traveling and then waiting there for four hours and return home late in the afternoon not having been able to get the hearing test done, which takes maybe 15 minutes at the very most.  But one thing I was able to do while walking him around in the stroller trying to lull him to sleep was to visit the nurses in the burn unit where I was hospitalized in April so they could see how well I’m doing.

I had such a powerful emotion that came over me as I walked into the unit.  I had never walked in to the unit before – when I was admitted ten months ago, I was wheeled in with bandages covering my face.  Though my eyes weren’t burned, my sight was affected for the first few days and on that evening I could hardly see anything.

I didn’t expect the nurses to recognize me since I looked very different at that point than I do now, but both nurses I saw remembered me when I started to speak.  I started to say hello, and I hardly had a chance to say anything before I started crying.   It’s interesting that other than the exceptions that I wrote about, I didn’t cry much during my hospitalization but since then, I’ve had a  number of waves of emotion that come over me when thinking about my accident and God’s amazing kindness to me.  I told the nurse I don’t know why now I’m getting so emotional when everything is fine and then when things looked so bad I wasn’t crying.  She smiled and said, “They’re happy tears,”  and she’s totally right.

She told me how wonderful I look and told me that she would have to look with a magnifying glass to see the remaining signs of the burns. To me it’s noticeable but many people have said they can’t tell I was ever burned, and I’m not going to point out the signs of the accident!  That same evening I went to an event and saw many people who I hadn’t seen since before I was burned, and all of them were exclaiming that they couldn’t believe that I look ‘perfect’.  I’m telling you, you get so many compliments on how good you look after an accident like this!  In all the years before this put together I didn’t get as many compliments as I have in the last eight months.  :)

Beginning three days after I was burned, I took a picture each morning while in the hospital.  Not because I wanted to see how bad I looked – I didn’t – but because I believed that one day I would be healed.  And I knew that I would look back and think it must not have been so bad, that in the intensity of the experience it felt worse to me than it really was.  The pictures are a tangible proof for me to remember that, yes, it really was that bad, but I don’t have to look at them to appreciate how incredibly fortunate I was.


6 thoughts on “A return visit to the burn unit to say ‘thank you’

  1. Avivah, My guess is that you gave the nurses in the unit a tremendous chizuk. The burn unit is a very tough place to work and seeing you probably meant a great deal to them. How wonderful that you turned an annoyance of Yirmiyahu’s test not going smoothly into a bracha.

    1. I don’t know what my coming in to see them meant to them, but both of them were very surprised and touched that I remembered them after all this time. I was surprised that they were surprised – how could I forget the people who helped me at such a sensitive time??? To me the surprise was that they remembered me when they have so many patients in the course of a year.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly, for sharing my gratitude for my healing and also for reminding me that you’re reading even when I don’t hear from you! :)

  2. Hashem is really amazing when you look at your accident from that perspective. He showed you one extreme to the other. And you did your hishtadlus too! Very inspirational.

    I had to do the same test with my daughter when she was 3 or 4 weeks and we had the same experience. However, the doctor reassured us that although it is frustrating, especially for the doctor who needs your child to sleep around her schedule, it is a very good sign that the child is aware and has legitimate fears which is very healthy – I hope that helps and that the next time around goes much more smoothly.

  3. Thanks for this perspective, Liat!

    My husband took Yirmi back to the hospital for the test yesterday and the same thing happened so once again we weren’t able to get it done. But the staff there said when he has his surgery, they can have the audiologist come in and give him the hearing test while he is anesthetized, which seems like a great suggestion to me!

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