Salt In The Wound – Florida Tan Tuesday – Part 4

Finally, July 6th was behind us. Now all we had to do was get through July 7–and subsequently the coming week–and today the nightmare was just beginning to take shape. An air of pseudo-normalcy overtook the trailer while breakfast dishes were clanging in the kitchen where only four occupied a table set for six. Linda and I, in separate rooms, were radiating our heat all around us. Tears were useless  to cry because they only evaporated from our cheeks–okay, maybe that’s going a little far– but there were tears caused by the helpless realization that natural movement such as raising an arm (forget about walking) was no longer an option.

Nevertheless, Donna was put in charge of taking care of Linda and me while the adults went off on a grocery shopping expedition and they planned  to stop at the local hospital to inquire about any possible options for relief for the two of us, armed with the question, “Would aloe or Solarcaine be better?”

We were a hideous sight, Linda and I. To say we were red is an understatement; we were so burned there was a hint of purple in our swollen skin. Unfortunately for Linda, her swelling was a little more intense to the point of facial disfiguration. Deep creases radiated from her nose from the intense bloating that seemed be stretching her skin to its limit and it gave the illusion as though the center of her face had sunken into her skull. So, Donna’s duties included making sure we stayed hydrated, calm and she sat by Linda’s side when she made call after call home to her now worried mother who had been otherwise unsuspectingly enjoying her own summer afternoon back home. And when Donna had a spare minute, what do you think she was doing? Getting more sun. Bless her olive complection.

The best treatment for us, we found out, was to return to the hospital for specialized care. Aloe was only a temporary fix and really best for a first degree burn and  the oils in Solarcaine would be further irritating from being “cooked”. Linda’s mother gave her consent for Linda to see a doctor so off to town we went. Grandpa was tiring of being in the car so my mother helmed the wheel, with co-pilot Grandma in the passenger seat, probably manning her own brake pedal. You know how it is. The trip back into town was a tedious and precarious one. Great care had to be taken not to hit any more bumps in road, especially after the first one resulted in tormented squeals and moans.

The hospital, or medical center as I seem to recall it actually being, was a small one floor facility and the walk to get inside was laborious. Again, it was each man for himself and it was all I could do to get myself inside, in record time (15 minutes) and that was done on my tip toes, which had become my adopted mode of walking to keep the skin on my feet from stretching. The nurse behind the desk looked up  from her paperwork with an unflinching expression and with a comforting southern drawl, simply said, “I’m not even going to lecture you. Go in there and have a seat and I’ll be right with you”. We shuffled into the waiting room where having a seat was a lot easier in theory than in execution. With our arms stretched behind us and our hands ready  to grasp the arms of our chairs, we lowered ourselves in curious contortions as slowly as we could on unbending legs. I cursed myself for wearing those denim carpenter jeans. What the hell was I thinking?

No sooner had we gotten situated than the nurse came out calling for Linda. Donna, meanwhile, had been gone for quite a while in search of a soda machine that was “easy to find, just around the corner” and by the time she had returned, I was now settled and being carted off in a wheelchair to the examination room and my biggest worry at the moment being what the doctor would think when he would “find me out”, that I had neglected to put on my BVD’s to go to the hospital.



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2 Responses to “Salt In The Wound – Florida Tan Tuesday – Part 4”

  1. Nanc Says:

    yikes ! :O

  2. Bin Says:

    The painful memories have returned. Ouch!!

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