A little over a week ago, I didn’t just burn my hand – I burned it good and proper.
On the night in question, I was making bacon cheeseburgers in my iron skillet. After frying the bacon and sautéing my onions, I actually had too much bacon grease in my skillet. I knew I’d be making beans the next day, so my intent was to carry the iron skillet (those things are heavy, you know?) to the sink and pour the majority of the grease into a grease-holding container.
On the way from Point A to Point B, my mind kind of wandered….
Why didn’t I make smashed potatoes to go with these?.. I had crinkled fries the last time I made bacon cheeseburgers… But they’re so good… MAN, is this skillet heavy… it makes my bad shoulder hurt like the dickens to carry….
Then it happened. Just as I was attempting to pour the HOT bacon grease into the container, somehow my arm gave way and I poured it all over the front of my left hand. Instinctively, I carefully sat the skillet into the sink and ran cool water over my hand like Niagara Falls.
I couldn’t, in that moment, remember exactly what would be best for such a burn, so I called out to my youngest daughter, “Would you please Google what you should do when you burn your hand with hot bacon grease??”
I’ll never forget her, “Uh oh! Okay…” Within 15 seconds she came into the kitchen with the answers.
When my husband got home from work, he took one look and off to the doctor we went. I’m not going to lie here, this was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had – and this from a lifelong klutz. The burning pain was excruciating and it did not let up for days. I’m not bragging, mind you, or even seeking sympathy (although that is always a comfort). I’m not telling you all of this or sharing these pictures to gross you out, I’m only trying to catch your attention because I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone. Please remind all the cooks in your life of the dangers that lurk.
Sometimes danger lurks the most in the “everyday” and “common” routines. I’ve cooked every single day for too many years to count. The kitchen is my domain and cooking is my obsession. I think part of the reason I slipped out of the moment is because I’m so familiar with the moment.
Big mistake. I realized this, like, 20 times between the moment it happened and our arrival at the urgent care center.
Side note: When you make RNs and doctors grimace, you know you’ve done something righteous.
- I made several glaring mistakes on “Bacon Grease Night” but there is one thing I have always gotten right. Since I first began cooking (at the age of 19… never you mind how long ago that was) I have always known and adhered to the law of keeping small children and animals out of the cooking arena. Even before heading toward the sink with my iron skillet of hot doom, I glanced around to make sure my cat Alexa had not wandered into the area. Always know where your children are when you’re cooking – whether they wear fur or skin.
- One other thing I did right, in the way of prevention, was this: I always keep a bottle of Aloe Vera Gel in the refrigerator. It was something I found myself extremely grateful for that night.
- Always know what you should and should not do in the case of any type of emergency – whether it’s a burn or cut. I did not. With a burn, you should apply cool water, but not ice or ice water. Also, aloe vera gel helps the burn to stop making you feel like you are on fire. Apparently, keeping my hand in cool water and following it up with cold aloe vera gel kept my burn from being even worse.
- Always have a stocked (with up to date ointments) first aid kit on hand. There should be Neosporin, band-aids, sterile pads, gauze, and first aid tape – just to name a few.
- If you have a significant burn, go to an Urgent Care or even the ER. They have what I came to refer to as “unicorn salve” because it was so magical. It’s called Silvadene Cream, but I’m sticking with unicorn salve. They can also tell you how to prevent infection and wrap it for you.
- You won’t want to leave your bowl of cool water or your life-saving sink, but GO.
- Last, but possibly most important of all – stay in the moment. Stay in the here and now and be AWARE. Since the burn happened, each move I make in the kitchen has been accompanied with the thoughts of what could happen. This isn’t making me a worry wart, it’s just making me more AWARE, and when you’re in the presence of things that could do you a great deal of harm, being AWARE is the only state to be in.
We’ll be returning to reviews, recipes, and gift ideas in just a few minutes, but I hope you’ll keep all of these things in mind – I don’t want you to experience what I’ve been through and am continuing to go through. Even now, over a week later, there’s still pain. The last blister to pop (when it did, if felt like it was crying acid… wow did it burn) just peeled and exposed the most tender pink skin imaginable. It actually feels like a fresh burn, so there’s that.
Handle everything carefully, stay in the moment, and take extra precaution with hot grease and pans. Also, it’s worth repeating (because accidents in the kitchen can be fatal to them), keep pets and small children out of the way at all times. When I think of what that spilled hot bacon grease would have done to a child or pet, I can’t even stand my own thoughts.
One final word: The image a the top was made for me the day after my accident by one of my daughters, Brittany. She and my other daughters (Stephany and Emily) were very sweet to me after my accident, as I would expect from them. I got so lucky when I had the three most perfect daughters in the world! I love that Brittany made this for me – it still hangs in my kitchen because it reminds me of how it made me laugh when she handed it to me!
You just never know how much thoughtfulness will mean to someone. I also love that she (and one of my sons-in-law, Rusty) insisted on being the ones to always help me change my dressings. Some sights and tasks are too much for some people to stand but their thoughtfulness and helpfulness meant a lot.
Family is everything to me and my group of heroes and heroines never, ever lets me down.
Five Days Later – There Was Still So Much Pain – STAY AWARE!