The time had to eventually come when Thomas would get his first real big bad injury. Of course it also had to be a time when it was due to something as stupid as mom not putting shoes on him and dad letting him sit alone on the four-wheeler.
Usually when I take Thomas outside I don't bother with shoes. He can't walk so what's the point? We went outside and daddy decided to take Thomas around the yard a few times on the four-wheeler. As he always does, he tucked Thomas' feet under his (daddy's) legs so they wouldn't come close to the hot motor. They started their drive and did a lap or two before running out of gas. Daddy got off waiting for mom to make her way over and let Thomas stay sitting on the quad. Then I came and took Thomas while daddy pushed the quad back to the garage. Thomas and I played outside a bit longer, riding in the wagon and sitting on the lawn mower (even though it wasn't on Thomas thought he was so cool sitting on it playing with the steering wheel). After twenty minutes or so I brought him in for his bath and bedtime.
As I was undressing him I noticed he had something on his toe and reached down to yank it off. Before doing so I took a closer look and realized it was his skin! He had two medium sized burns on the top of his foot near his big toe. He hadn't cried out while on the four wheeler, nor acted in pain at any other time we were outside.
I ran a cool bath for him and put him in. I cleaned him up and allowed the burn to soak in the cool water. I got him out and put some aloe gel on the burn, lightly wrapped it in gauze, put a sock over it and he promptly fell asleep. Of course I debated whether I should take him to the ER or not, but since he acted like it didn't hurt and it looked bad but not horrible I decided to leave it be for the night.
The next morning I unwrapped the gauze and put more aloe and fresh gauze on the wound. We went on some errands and then came home. All the while he acted as though he hadn't a care in the world. When I removed the gauze that afternoon it stuck to the wound and I noticed some discoloration on the gauze. I decided to go to my "in-home medical professional" aka GOOGLE. When I read some of the results about burn care and burn severity I decided it would be best for Thomas to be seen by a doctor. I called his pediatricians office and was told to take him to the ER near them which included a burn unit.
We spent over four hours at the ER. Which is crazy since it was only serving children and it was busy but not crazy busy. By the end of the visit Thomas was diagnosed with a second degree burn but what they did and told me to do was the same as what I had been doing. They gave me a medicated ointment to use and sent us home with an appointment set up for the next day at the burn clinic. Of course I was given major guilt trips about Thomas being on the quad without shoes. It really didn't matter, I couldn't have possibly felt worse than I already did, regardless of what they had to say to me.
The next day we went to the burn clinic and again the doctor tried the guilt trip on me for no shoes/quad. Okay, I get it, world's worst mother here, I know. I felt like asking the doc if he had kids, and if so had they never in their lives suffered a preventable injury while under his supervision. But I bit my tongue.
The doc said that while the burn was bad, and would require five or six weeks to fully heal, that it was small enough not to require any type of graft or other major procedure. I was told to put the cream on it and change the bandages twice a day, put him in the tub as usual and wash the wound while trying to slough off the dead skin.
So, basically to do what I had been doing.
I beat myself up over not taking him in the same night it happened. I surrounded myself in guilt over not putting shoes on him, not reminding his dad to watch his feet on the four-wheeler, and for not noticing the burn right away. But I have decided to forgive myself, relieve myself of the guilt, and realize I am human and things like this will happen. I will never again allow him to ride the quad without shoes or jeans, but I won't stop him from riding. He's going to get hurt and I won't always be able to prevent it. Life happens and while I will be more careful, I will also be careful not to smother him so that he cannot explore and enjoy life and what it has to offer.