Wednesday, April 10, 2013

bad burn for my mom :(

I took my mom out yesterday for her birthday and she mentioned that her internet connection was down.  Which of course was my fault because I was tinkering with her Wifi on Sunday (which isn't the connection she uses for her computer--she uses a wire right from the modem).  So I felt bad, which was her intent, and today I stopped by in the midst of errand running to see if I could figure out what was wrong.  Turns out I did nothing wrong and it was the modem and I had to call AT&T to get talked through fixing it.
While I'm on speaker phone, my mom casually says, "Hey look at this," and shows me her arm.  She was wearing a white long-sleeved top.  Under the sleeve was a bandage--on her whole arm--and it was oozing fluid through the bandage and through the sleeve.  I was dumbfounded.  She said, laughing, that she put a hot cup of coffee on the couch arm and the cat knocked the whole thing over her arm and she didn't want to bother me.  So she went to see her friend who's a CNA in the morning (happened at 8 last night) and her friend wrapped it up and they put over-the-counter salve on it. 
Her CNA buddy should have known better.
As soon as the modem was fixed, I made her go to the emergency clinic.  She unwrapped her arm and showed them.  It looked like raw meat from just under her shoulder to her wrist, all around the whole arm.  She said it didn't blister, the skin just "fell right off."  Apparently the only bad burn is a blistered one?   Clear fluid was just weeping from it steadily, literally dripping from her elbow and fingers like she was standing in the rain--they had to give her one of those diaper-like pads to put under it to catch the fluid.  Honestly it was completely disgusting and there is no way if that was my arm I wouldn't have been at the ER or clinic as soon as it happened.
I told her the doctors were going to give her antibiotics, maybe a shot, most likely a pill, and prescription burn cream.  The over-the-counter burn cream is for when you have a little 1st degree burn that's a couple of square inches.  Honestly her burn is square FEET and third degree.  
I wish my grandma was still alive because she would have called me, like she did when the dog attacked my mom and she drove herself to the ER last summer.  Instead I found out by accident.  If I hadn't gone over spontaneously to fix the computer, I never would have known and she wouldn't have sought treatment.
And my mom is saneShe hasn't a hint of dementia.  I don't know what her excuse is.  Being strong and not wanting to bug someone is stupid when it comes to a serious life-threatening injury like a 3d degree burn over an entire limb!
The women in the office at the clinic were dumbfounded as well to hear that my mom thought this burn was no big deal, mouthing to me behind her back that it was a good thing I'd dragged her in.
Two doctors consulted over it.  The only good thing they had to say was "at least it's not charred."  I had to learn how to clean and bandage this oozing raw mess, twice a day until Saturday, when she has to go back and find out if she's got to go to the burn unit.  Yes, burn unit.  And she wasn't even going to go to the doctor's office until I forced her!
We had to get prescription cream, and not a tube of it, but a TUB, and prescription pills.  Then we had to buy all kinds of bandages, gauze, tapes, and everything needed to bandage the arm 4 more times.   She kept insisting she felt fine and she wanted to take me out to dinner.  I had a run one more errand and then we stopped to eat.  She started to shake, going into shock, and we ended up getting the food to go and going home so she could take more pain killers and go to sleep. 
I'm really worried.   This is one of those times I wish I had a brother or sister to help.  I guess i should be glad my dad isn't around to see this because he'd be completely freaking out.  And he'd grab her arm, I can't imagine how bad that would be.  I am shuddering to think that I have to touch it, clean it, salve it, gauze it, bandage it, then sleeve it 4 times in the next two days.