Friday, October 23, 2009

Grace Strikes Again

When I was a kid my grandmother had two nicknames for me, one was Susan B. Anthony and the other was Grace. Mostly I was Susan B. The nickname Grace was reserved for the times that I did something ungraceful or got injured and usually it was a combination of both.

My childhood injuries were legendary, most involved not thinking ahead. Once I decided to hang upside down on a swing. You remember, you lean back and wrap your legs around the chain and .....WHEEEEEE, off you go, swinging upside down. Unfortunately I failed to recognize that the swing was very to the ground and there was a strip of gravel underneath. Up I went, down I came, dragging my forehead across the gravel. It hurts to think about it.

There I was, stuck with a giant scrape across my entire forehead. That was an unpleasant and embarrassing summer.

I'm also a legend in emergency rooms.

When my children were grade school I had an incident that provoked an E.R. doctor to exclaim, "How in the world did you do THIS?"

The stairs in our two-story house always seem to collect items that needed to be carried upstairs. One day it was a stack of clean towels, some school books and a pencil. I carefully stacked everything with the pencil on top. As I was ascending the stairs the pencil rolled off and I said to myself, "I'll just pick that up on the way down."

Well, I did retrieve the pencil, but not in the normal way. The pencil had landed upright on the stair tred, with the sharpened lead portion pointing UP. Yep, i stepped full force on the pencil and it broke off, leaving an inch of lead and wood in the bottom of my foot.

Yeah.....legendary.

My latest "Grace" move was not only stupid, but incredibly dangerous. I'm going to relate the incident here and expose my stupidity before the entire blogosphere in the hope that it will prevent at least one person from making the same mistake.

The Farmer has a small project he's working on and was away from the house on Wednesday. It was a beautiful, clear day and I decided to help him out by completing some of the outdoor tasks. We have two acres of lawn, bushes, trees and evergreens which means we have tons of yard waste. There's a brush pile and other dry materials that we burn in the fall.

The one pile was nice and dry but I decided to apply a very small amount of gasoline on the corner of the pile to get it started. BAD.....DANGEROUS.... STUPID MOVE.

The brush was dry and probably would have started just fine. What I didn't realize is that gasoline does not start with a nice flickering flame, it explodes. Seriously. Even the smallest amount of gasoline will produce enough fumes to create a large WHOOSH of flames.

When I lit the match, it did just that. The second stupid mistake is that I paid no attention to how the wind was blowing. The wind is always blowing in Illinois and it was blowing in my direction. DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

I instinctively threw my arms up in a defensive position, turning quickly and throwing myself on the ground. Stop, drop and roll. I realize how important it is to drum these emergency procedures into our minds. They work!!!! Your mind quickly pulls that information up and you snap into action.


Grace. This is not a Halloween costume.

The quick whoosh of the flame wasn't enough to ignite my clothing. I'm thanking God every moment for that. The underside of my forearms were burned, first and second degree. The ER nurses applied some incredible stuff that accelerates healing and today there's only one area that still needs to be bandaged. I'm left with something that resembles a bad sunburn. It could have been much worse.

Here's another stupid thing I did, as if burning myself wasn't enough. The initial pain was just a stinging sensation but I realized that the burns might be more serious than I realized, so I set off for the hospital. Halfway there the pain struck like lightning.

DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF TO THE HOSPITAL IF YOU'RE INJURED!

Call a neighbor, or if it's a critical situation call 9-1-1.

And remember - NO GASOLINE - EVER! Gasoline only goes in engines. javascript:void(0)

But, please tell me I'm not the only dumbass in the world.

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Time for the book drawing.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society goes to........



Kat!

If I Live to be 100 goes to ......



Millicent.

Congratulations ladies. Contact me via e-mail with your addresses and I'll get the books into the mail.

28 comments:

dara said...

I picked up the very bad habit from my mom and grandmother of sticking the sewing needle I was using in the arm of the chair so I knew where it was. I was using a rather long long darning needle and stuck it in the end of the chair arm, not realizing that the point was touching the wooden part of the chair. I decided to get up and used the arms of the chair to help me stand up. I put my hand right on top of the needle (the eye portiong) and pushed down to stand up. The needle pushed through the thick part of the base of my hand and went straight through to the other side. Impaled by a 4 inch long needle. Couldn't push it through, couldn't pull it out, had to go have it removed.
I hope my "grace" moment makes your arms feel better. :)

Mim said...

Oh Suzanne, I'm so glad you are okay. My Dad did something similar this summer. He used a mix of Gasoline and diesel and managed to burn himself enough that he had to miss two weeks of work. Not only is gasoline explosive but when you slosh it back and forth you aerate it. Please don't do this!

ingasmile said...

Suzanne, that is horrible. I am glad you seem to be healing quickly. How very scary!

Mary Rex said...

Oh Suzanne! As if the last week hadn't already been bad enough. Thank goodness you are OK.

A friend of mine heats his house with wood, and was pretty far up on his wooded property one day, without his cell phone, cutting wood when the chainsaw reared back and cut his neck! He had to drive himself, no one else was around! Luckily he made it. Safety First!

chocolatechic said...

Oh...my.

I'm so sorry.

Amber said...

My mom used to have a stoker coal furnace that heated her house. It was very hard to start a fire in it, but once it started, it took off. It had gone out one day and she had already filled it up with coal, and had put a bit of kindling in it to start the fire back. She couldn't get it to lighth, so she got a pepsi bottle, filled it with kerosene, and dashed some into the furnace...bad mistake, as the kindling she had lit previously had not gone out completely, and the fire whooshed out right into her face and took off her eyebrows, eyelashes, burned her face, and hurt her eyes...I guess we never learn. Glad you are ok!

Lisa D. said...

Your childhood swing injury reminded me of my brother. He did similar things as a kid. He had stitches in his throat at 2 years old and broke his nose at 3 or 4 years old. If it looked fun, he was going to try it - pain or thought of injury was not considered.
Hope your current injuries heal quickly - I've had a couple of small, nasty burns, I can't even imagine your pain.

Jenni said...

Oh Suzanne! I'm so glad you're okay!

You are NOT the only one, and this is a VERY important lesson for people to understand. NEVER use gasoline to light a fire.

When we first bought this land and were clearing an area for our septic system, Danny did something very similar. We were living in Wichita and since I had a meeting to go to, he took the four kids with him to work on clearing. He had a huge pile to burn, but he found that he had run out of the diesel fuel (which burns differently than gasoline but I'm not sure that's a good idea either) and decided to use just a little gasoline to get things started. He put the gas on one spot and then, knowing how gasoline reacts, started the flame a little bit away from it. What he didn't realize was that the fumes had traveled and that's what caught and exploded toward him. His left sleeve caught on fire. Although he managed to get it out quickly, he burned his arm badly. Probably second degree burns covering the entire inside of his forearm. Na was only about 5 or 6 at the time and she was terrified by the sight of seeing Daddy on fire and ran and hid in the truck. He called me and then proceeded to drive 45 minutes home, insisting that he was fine. About 20 minutes into the drive, hail and intense pain hit at the same time. I was so thankful he made it home okay instead of passing out from the pain on the highway with a carload of kids! He probably should have gone to the ER, but he called his BIL who is a doctor and had him prescribe some cream. It was a lot to keep cleaned and dressed and very painful for him, but today you can't even tell where he was burned. We used it as an opportunity to teach the Young Marines about fire safety and first aid treatment for burns, letting them watch as I cleaned and redressed the burn area.

Susan said...

Oh, Suzanne! I am so glad it wasn't worse. I went to high school with a girl who was burned over most of her body and face. As a child, her older brothers were burning debris and threw gasoline on the fire. She was too close. It was tragic. Drop and roll was the right thing to do.

Lori said...

So glad you weren't hurt worse. Gas is not a friend other than in your gas tank, now diesel fuel on the other hand starts fires pretty well. :) Take care of those burns so they don't get infected. I think rest and breakfast in bed would be a good start, don't you?

J'Ollie Primitives said...

OUCH.

We use an air compresser to paint with. The basic common-sense rule is to detach the big hose (which leads to the air compresser)THEN detach the little hose leading to the paint cup, otherwise you will be covered in a geyser of paint.

Which I learned the hard way.

Twice.

Not ER-worthy but definitely a Grace moment. Thank goodness you're OK!

martina said...

Wow, are you lucky to have only minor damage! Get well soon.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Suzanne I am so very sorry - we all do things sometimes and think "what in the world was I thinking!" Thank goodness it didn't get your face or hair. blessings, marlene

Kat said...

Wheee!!!
I won!
I can't wait to read the book, and pass it along again!
It's rather fitting that the win goes along with your awful story. I'm a big klutz, and have been all my life. I trip over things that aren't there, I spill things all the time, and have goofy scars all over my body. One scar lays straight down the full length of my forehead from a high school chemistry class accident.
I just started yoga, and told the instructor I was trying to find grace! She laughed at me...

Sarah - Kala said...

It could happen to anyone. I'm just to scared to start fires, really. I hope you heal quickly! Other than that, it could have been so much worse, thank God it wasn't. Take care.

Karen Deborah said...

Suzanne, the name Grace was not yours alone. I am so sorry you burned yourself. I hope you heal very quickly and you know, you really a trouper.

mimi said...

Well, my dear, you have no monopoly on acts of stupid carelessness. I say this not to insult you but because I have done the same thing. In my case, I was very lucky in that the gas only whooshed and I was able to step back far enough to escape getting burned but it is a lesson I have never forgotten. I am so sorry that you had to suffer for yours. I give you much credit for having the GRACE to warn others not to repeat this mistake themselves.

I also just read the "Roger" story. How very heart-wrenching. There is much to life I don[t understand and the horror of homelessness in a society of excess is one of them.

Jayne said...

Oh you poor thing! What a close call! My DH had a near miss doing the exact same thing, so I know how easily it can happen. Glad you are okay, mending, and feel well enough to share your misfortunes with us!

Steph said...

Glad you're okay! I too have had an incident with a swing set and a pencil! I've also been burned, but that was just an iron falling over on my hand. I flipped over the swing set just like you, but when I flipped, my shin hit this plastic 4 seater swing thing and the plastic broke off in my leg! When I was in the 4th grade, I sat on a pencil at my desk, and threw up all over the place. I still have a gray hole in my thigh.

Ruta M. said...

I do hope your arms heal up quickly and with the minimum of pain. It must have been very scary. We have lots of fires, indoors and out and I've always been too cautious to use any sort of fuel. I usually challenge myself to se if I can get a bonfire started with just one match. My daft moments are usually walking into bits of furniture at work. My legs are often covered in bruises.I did have to drive Pete to hospital once when he had nearly severed his thumb on the circular saw. I use the circular saw but not the chainsaw.

Pinkie said...

How scary. Hope you're feeling better.

Stuck on Sunflowers said...

Oh Suz!!! How scary. First the bees and now FIRE!!! You guys have got to get a landscaper to do you outdoor work before someone gets hurt really, really bad! You know, of course, that we all do dumb things. I should remind you that this summer I broke my back (on the boat), last summer I broke both wrists (falling out of bed) and the summer before that I broke my shoulder cleaning the hot tub. WE ALL DO DUMB THINGS! I am very happy that your dumb thing was not anymore serious than this. Now, let's make a pact, no more dumb things! OK!!!!!

Chris said...

Very, very glad you are going to be okay... have made less than good judgement calls myself. Don't forget that in the long run everyone has made a zillion terrific judgements and that's got to count like money in the bank. It helps us get out of the bad scrapes. Hang in there and feel better.

Jody Blue said...

I'm so thankful your healing! How scary. And Thanks for sharing, its how we all learn.

Anonymous said...

I was a nurse for several years in a Burn ICU where we saw too many who were severely injured from using gasoline to start fires. Makes me wonder why there aren't public service announcements to help spread the word too. Do those even exist any more? I hope so. I was startled to see all the comments of those who had also tried this. VERY DANGEROUS!

~ Sara ~ said...

That's awful! Glad your OK.

My worst moment happened a few years ago, I didn't want to take the farm truck all the way to town to put gas in it. So I just got a can of gas, note it was covered in spider webs and I didn't notice the spiders until to late. Well there I was just pouring away, when all these danged spiders came crawling all over. YIKES! In my hast to get away, the gas can upset pouring fuel on my face. Let me tell you gas does burn even if it's not on fire. It burned my eyes, and all the skin around them. We did call 911, and thankfully I didn't have to go to the ER, and thankfully I had been wearing my glasses that evening, and my eyes weren't damaged. PRAISE the LORD...

Liz in PA said...

Oh my.....I sure hope you are feeling better......you know we "readers" think about and also worry about you and each other when accidents, etc. happen.
I hope your hubby and son are taking over the household tasks for a while.....maybe even the kitchen duties!
Heal Fast!

Vee said...

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. At least you are using it for good. We three were deciding last night, after one of us got hurt, that most times getting hurt involves doing something pretty dumb. Is your miracle salve silvadene? I love that stuff!