How I Burned My Fingers

Simple: I did a dumb thing.

About a week ago Thurdsay, while making dinner, I burned the first three fingers on my left hand. Since then, the burns have gone through a series of nasty, ugly, painful stages. They’re healing now, though, because I finally started taking care of them.

How I burned them is an example of how relatively smart people can do seriously dumb things. In this case, I’d put about a half cup of water in a 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup and stuck the thing in the microwave to boil. I always boil water in a microwave (if one is available). I wasn’t thinking very well — there was a lot on my mind (as usual) — and hit the Minute Plus button twice. So when I removed the cup of boiling water 2 minutes later, it wasn’t just boiling — it was superheated. As I was moving it from the microwave to the counter top, I added about 1 teaspoon of beef bullion powder. The superheated water immediate boiled over the top of the cup and onto my fingers. I put the cup on the counter, shook the hot water off my hands, and proceeded to clean up the mess I’d made on the countertop, cabinets, and floor.

I didn’t realize how badly I’d been burned until much later. It hurt, of course, but I was busy doing other things and tried hard not to pay attention. Later, I bought some Bactine and kept spraying it down. The skin was red, but I didn’t think much about it.

The next day, my forefinger was blistered and puffy. My middle finger also looked pretty bad. More Bactine. I was volunteering at an equine endurance ride and I was busy. The blisters burst and reformed multiple times. (Hope I’m not grossing you out too much.) It wasn’t until the weekend was over and I really had a chance to clean up and look at my fingers that I realized how badly I’d been burned. My first two fingers probably had second degree burns.

I won’t go into more gross details about the skin on my fingers and the stages it went through. I will say that I finally started putting Neosporin (a triple-antibacterial salve, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it) on my first two fingers and wrapping them in special knuckle bandages. If I’d done that a week ago, I’d be all healed up. But I didn’t, so I’m not.

I’ll probably be almost as good as new within a few days. I suspect, however, that my forefinger will be scarred because of my stupidity. No hand modeling in my future.

Lessons learned: put containers of boiling water on the countertop before adding ingredients.

4 thoughts on “How I Burned My Fingers

  1. I have zero medical knowledge, but was under the impression that one should immediately run cold water over a burn for several minutes. It’s way too late now, of course.

    When I was a teenager in high school we did some lab experiment involving a bunsen burner and something on a tripod. When it was finished we needed to clean up. I turned off the burner and picked up the tripod. Idiot! That gave me quite a burn and I was whisked off to the school nurse.

    I hope your fingers heal up soon.

    Miraz Jordan’s last blog post..TiKouka in bloom

  2. Yes, cold water is supposed to help. But I’ve found that once I stick my hand under cold water, it hurts when I remove it. Since I don’t like to sit in any one place too long, I don’t have patience for the cold water treatment.

    It might be possible that if I’d done the right thing right after the burn happened, I wouldn’t have two heavily bandaged fingers right now. But I really am an idiot when it comes to these things, and now I’m paying the price for my stupidity.

  3. In my previous life, my ex was in an explosion, 67% of his body all 3rd degree burns. I spent years in the burn unit and learned a lot. I learned that many people, including doctors, under rate their injuries. And that if I won the lotto, I would dedicate my life to traveling to hospitals, speaking to doctors. Teaching them how the little burns often become fatal or cause amputations. Now that I sound like an alarmist, let me give you the advice of the Kitchen Gods, always keep a tube of zinc in your fridge. For cyclists, Brave Soldier in your bento box.

What do you think?