A friend of mine had been burned at her legs and hospitalized in the Burns Department. That' s how I discovered the enormous amount of work done by the medical team to "erase" all accident traces. Kids are the first victims because their curiosity leads them to risky situations : pulling the tablecloth and the coffee-pot tumbles, reaching for the soup that smells so good on the gas-stove …
My first kid was seven years of age. One day when he was two, he was in his bath but the water from the tap was much too hot and he was burned from his belly to the tip of his toes. With the years the burned tendons did not grow with the rest. So he arrived limping at the hospital and walking on the tip of his left foot. He had to undergo a reconstruction : scrubbing skin and tendons to reach healthy tissues on which they placed a kind of undercoat, protected by a air-tight bandage connected to a vacuum pump, so that the product could penetrate the healthy tissues.
Next he was grafted : healthy skin had been peeled off on a untouched part of the body, then stretched five to ten times its size before being placed on the damaged zones. A long revalidation period followed, with hours and hours of physiotherapy.
During his three months in the hospital, I spent over 120 hours with him, sharing his fears, cries, revolts … but also his games, laughs, jokes and walks.
He has a vacuum pump ? Never mind : that's not going to stop us! In agreement with the nursing personnel, we went walking in the green turtle, with the pump on the perfusion stand and the electric wire rolled on one of its hooks, which gave us a 20-minute autonomy ! What an adventure in the corridors : the boy could leave his room and meet other patients. We even could breathe some fresh air in front of the hospital entrance.
Another day, the boy's attention was attracted by the low flying helicopter. As he could already better walk, he ran to the end of the corridor to see the landing zone. Miracle : the Agusta landed on the big H letter drawn on the spot reserved for it, close to the emergency entrance. The pilot stopped the engines and put the little red flags meaning that he would stay there for some time.
After having got the light on green from the nurse, the boy took Pinocchio's little red tricycle to speed to the lift and the corridor leading to the emergency services. At the other end of it, the pilot and co-pilot were arriving … we greet and explain we would like to see the helicopter. No problem, the boy is entitled to a special visit of the A-107, outside and inside, and he can even take place in the pilot seat and put the helmet on … Another unique experience for this first "real" outing !
"Tell me, did you enjoy it today ?"
"NO ! … I enjoyed it VERY MUCH!" and you should have seen the large smile on his face.
And then the day came when he left "us" at the military hospital to go on revalidation at the Zeepreventorium in De Haan. When he comes back for the follow-up, he always comes and says hello.
After that first boy, I have met many other children with whom I have shared their laughters and cries. Each time a new relationship is born based on mutual respect, which allows for sharing secrets.
What an energy and force to live these little kids radiate !