I burned my hand this weekend. Just a moment of distraction while I was pulling dinner out of the oven and brushed the back of my right hand against the edge of the inside of the oven (not the heating elements, just the edge near the door).
I yelped and rushed dinner to the stove. I turned on the kitchen sink to the coldest setting and stuck my hand under the water.
It HURT. The pain was immediate and I wasn’t sure how bad the burn was. It wasn’t third degree (skin was still in one piece) and it hurt. It HURT. I wanted to just swear and cry. I didn’t because I didn’t want to further upset my husband and child (both were watching me with deep concern and my husband was only half-believing me on my “no no I’m ok” response to his question on my well being).
I went into a sort of emotional shut-down to fight the pain I was feeling. The immediate pain was acute and needed to be managed. I needed to prevent myself from buckling under the pain and being unable to function. Cold water was step one. I am a firm believer that swift action can help mitigate the damage.
Dinner still needed to be finished. My child is only fourteen months and he mostly eats by himself but his plate had to be prepared. Either my husband watches the child while I prepare or I watch while he does. Life goes on despite the pain. I still need to be an adult for my toddler.
A bag of peas was step two (a frozen bag of peas is the BEST ice pack for the price). Once plates were prepped I pulled the bag of peas out and brought it with me to dinner. It stayed on my hand while I ate. Thankfully, I am slightly ambidextrous and can use a fork in my left pretty much equal to my right hand. The pain persisted. I can not tell you anything of the conversation while we ate. The pain wove it’s way through my consciousness the entire time and colored every bite and every word despite my efforts.
When it was time for the bedtime routine to start, I dreaded it. I knew hot water would be awful. What I didn’t realize is how often my beloved baby would brush the wound and make me wince in pain. I love him and I know he wasn’t hurting me on purpose, but every “pick up the baby” interaction became a risk for more pain.
It’s a burned hand. It’s not a big deal. What I felt so clearly, was how many hearts were burned last week. How these burns are happening all too often, and how even well-meaning people might be brushing those burns with thoughtless comments about “all lives” and “violence isn’t the answer.” – you know what? I really wanted to cuss and yell about a little burn. I can’t imagine the pain of yet another bad burn on the hearts and minds of my black brothers and sisters.
I am not saying I understand their pain. I am saying that I see it. I am saying that I see the need for more than first aid. We need to make sure the oven is made safer so when someone needs to interact with it, they aren’t likely to get burned. And right now… the oven seems to be looking to burn people.