Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Update On My Son - He's Doing Great!

It has been a month now since my son, Jeff, was badly burned in an accident while trying out his new barbecue grill. The support our family has received, especially from the Bonanza community, but also from friends and total strangers, has been amazing. To all of you who have sent cards and treats and gifts and contributions to his "Chip-In" - I cannot begin to express my appreciation. I would like to provide you all with an update on how he's doing.

Jeff is healing at a mind-boggling pace; even the doctors are shocked at his recovery. At first they said there would need to be skin grafting (he had second and third degree burns), and then they were pleasantly surprised to find that would not be necessary. Such a relief! Then they said they were optimistic that scarring would be minimal. Now we are all thrilled to have learned that the burns may actually leave no scars at all. Absolutely amazing! He does still have the potential for scars if he damages his vulnerable, brand-new skin. For instance, about a week ago he had a little itch on his cheek and, just out of habit and without even thinking about it, he reached up and lightly scratched it. When he did so, a bit of his skin came off of his face and it started to bleed. He learned that he has to be very careful with this new skin!

Bandages are not necessary most of the time at this point. His does still bandage up his arm and hand when he goes out into a crowded public place, just to protect them from possible accidents, being bumped into, etc. Other than that, though, he can leave his skin uncovered, although he cannot be in the sun and has to wear very strong sunblock if he goes out at all, even if it's just in the car to go to a doctor's appointment or something. We've been warned that this new skin can burn in as little as nine seconds!

Jeff is still being treated for the conditions he had prior to the accident, and unfortunately his tremors seem to be returning, so we still have to get to the bottom of that (the tremors become seizures, and had him hospitalized for a week back in November). He's also being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to the burn incident (he has flashbacks and hears the "whooshing" sound of being engulfed in flames). So, there is obviously quite a way to go, but he is a trooper and I have great confidence that he will get through all of this. The boy was meant for great things - I just know this!

Here's Jeff's hand one month ago, and then today:

Amazing, isn't it? You can still see what looks kind of like a red "shadow" where the new skin has grown over the damaged areas (my photo doesn't really show it well enough, but no one's ever accused me of being a great photographer), but no skin grafts and no scars. I'm so happy about that! Here's a kind of creepy-but-Jeff-thinks-it's-funny fact: When he moves his fingers, that skin is so thin that you can see the movement of the muscles (or whatever) underneath it. Jeff finds this ridiculously entertaining.

Here is his face, then and now:

Again, my photos aren't great at showing what I wanted them to. But if you look at his cheek you can see that little red spot - kind of looks like a pimple. That's where he scratched it. The spot was a bit bigger, but it's healing well just like the rest of him. The only places that really still show some scabbing and remnants of the burn are the tip of his nose, the edge of his upper lip, his neck just below and behind his ear, and his earlobe. Also, as you can see, he hasn't shaved. He's too scared of an accident with that sensitive skin!

By the way, that beautiful turquoise necklace you see him wearing was a gift from Bonanza seller Montrose. It came in the mail one day with a card that promised it would protect him. He has worn it every day since he received it, and... So far nothing bad has happened! Maybe there's something to that protection! :)

Again, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive throughout all of this. In addition to all the ways you've all been helpful, it has also kept Jeff's spirits up and I believe that helps even in the physical healing. Much, much gratitude to all of you!

That's about it for tonight. I will post updates from time to time and let you all know how things are going for Jeff. For now, I'm just happy to say that all the news is good! :)

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