Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Very Ordinary

Yesterday was a very ordinary day, in Australian parlance.

Meaning, one of our worst ever.

On Galactic, we make coffee in a stove-top espresso pot.  Yesterday morning, the kids woke us up well before first light, just like they do every morning.  Alisa got out of bed, got the coffee going, and got Eric out of his bunk.  When the pot boiled, I told her "I've got it," and turned the stove off, then stepped into the shower.  But I didn't pour the coffee - I just left it on the stove where it had been, without either locking off the stove gimbal or tucking the top-heavy espresso pot behind the tea kettle, where it is more secure.

Alisa started changing Eric's diaper.  And before she even realized that he was in the galley, Elias did something he's never done before - he tried to climb up onto the counter next to the stove to reach down into the under-counter storage space where we keep the cereal.  He put weight on the stove, which, since it was free to swing on its gimbal, spilled the just-boiled pot of espresso down his leg.

I came running out of the shower.  Alisa already had Elias' PJs off.  We could see immediately that it was a bad burn.  The outer layer of skin had peeled off his thigh in one large sheet.

In the past, I've thought that I do well in a tight spot.  But I don't think that I did a great job for Elias in the next 10 minutes or so.  Alisa had the right immediate idea, to get cold water on the burn.  But when we finally got to the ER, and I saw how long they continued to apply cold water, I realized that we hadn't cooled it down nearly long enough.

I wasted some time finding and applying the silver sulfadiazine cream that we carry, when we should have just been cooling the burn off and getting him to hospital.

And then I had the waking-nightmare experience of not being able to find the car keys, anywhere.  Alisa finally remembered that I had hung my pants up to dry in the cockpit the night before, and the keys were in the pocket.

That's really just the tiniest detail of the whole event.  But I cannot forget the completely helpless feeling of not coming up with the keys.

I finally carried him off the boat, and we pulled into the ER entrance eight minutes or so later.

I'll be glad when we can stop remarking how good the ER staff is at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

I'll also be glad when we can stop remarking what a tough little guy Elias is.  After his hour of agony was over, and he was bandaged and afloat on a sea of analgesia, he kept telling me how happy he was...

So now he's a day and a half into his hospital stay.  The burn runs from his hip to his calf, about 8% of his total body surface area.  He just had the bandage changed for the first time earlier today, and the burn nurse tells us that we should expect him to be in hospital for 7-10 days.

Poor little bugger.


  1. holy crap, mike! my thoughts are with you all!

  2. Thinking of you all...Elias is one brave guy.
    Sending Elias thoughts of good healing and prayers of strength to help see all of you through this~~ Love, Zoya

  3. Ouch! So sorry you guys! Hoping for a quick recovery.

  4. OMG - it makes me shudder to think about the whole episode. I'm so sorry. Please tell Elias we love him and are thinking of him daily. Big Hugs to you all.

  5. So sorry to hear about this. We are sending lots of love and healing thoughts your way! XOXOXO

  6. I am sure you are feeling worse than Elias is right now, poor little guy, I wish him a speedy recovery,

  7. What a sickening experience for you, and for the poor little bloke who copped the coffee. It's happened before, in the best of homes. Modern medicine rides to the rescue....we love it when we need it. Hope you and Alisa are feeling less shaken up, less ordinary, and that Elias is starting to make a good recovery. Strength and hugs, xx

  8. Thinking of you all. Gell well soon Elias!
    Dan, Adrian, & Gavin

  9. get well soon elias, hope you can keep up the happy vibe...
    love from holland

  10. Have not commented before but feel must now, take heart, your Elias is in great hands and will heal very quickly. Our daughter is 26 now and although her accident did not happen on our boat but at grandparents with the burn on her forehead and palm of hand with a glass fronted slow combustion stove, she healed well and not traumatised. Things happen quickly and that's a fact of life. We also use a stove top coffee pot on our metho stove in the boat and it's tricky when you're underway to keep steady!!! best of luck, andrea & david, "Leoden" Yamba, NSW (not a liveaboard - yet)

  11. Yikes! Hope your son is on the mend soon, poor little guy. So good you all were not at sea, a reminder for us all to brush up on the first aid. So if an ordinary day Down Under is the worst ever, what pray tell is an extraordinary day like? Michael

  12. I guess the extraordinary day is when he gets out of hospital!

    Thanks again everyone for the kind notes.