Monday, October 6, 2008

First degree burns

I've probably burned myself while cooking more in the last year than I have in my entire life.

And they're all kind of stupid burns. Like when I explain what happened, I'm actually embarrassed. Not that there's any smart way to burn yourself. But some stories are dumber than others, like when I burned myself while trying to move a boiling pot with my bare hand. SMRT.

(My father actually has the stupidest burn story I've ever heard from a real person: he burned his chest while trying to iron the shirt that he was wearing. He's a doctor too.)

I've theorized that the reason I keep burning myself is that I'm cooking under very pressured conditions. Admittedly, I don't have some British guy yelling curses at me, but I've got a two year old who alternates between standing at the gate to the kitchen and screaming or toddling over to my bookcase and throwing books all over the floor. So I'm feeling a bit rushed to finish up dinner before our house is ripped to shreds.

Plus I'm just a wee bit tired from working all day so I'm not at peak performance.

Just because I'm a doctor, my husband thinks I know the best way to treat a burn. I don't. Last time, I tried everything that The Great Internet had to offer before the pain eventually faded away on its own. I seriously had toothpaste smeared on my hand at one point.

I get very frustrated by these burns because they keep me from doing what I need to do. I can't take care of the baby (change her diaper, give her a bath), I can't concentrate on studying, I can't wash the dishes or clean up. I can't be Supermomdoc anymore. I usually end up in tears over these burns, even the really tiny ones. It makes me realize how little breathing room I have in my life. Sometimes I worry I'm just two or three burns away from the edge.


  1. First dr. whoo writes about not answering the phone, and now you post about burning yourself. I'm starting to think all my personal quirks are just part and parcel of being a physician-mother.

    My right forearm has two burns at different stages of healing as I write this. When I take something out of the oven, I don't want to open the door all the way because of the kids hovering around trying to see how big the muffins got. So I open it a few inches, and while trying to extract the baked goods I inevitably rest my forearm on the edge of the oven door.

    It makes me angry at myself every time.

    Glad to know I'm not alone.

  2. For me it's my favorite serated kitchen knife and slicing my own fingers (no amputations, but lacerations and mini-avulsions indeed) since I'm more of a preparer than "real" cook. But same concept, doing things too quickly, not at peak performance, and wanting to get it all ready for those hungry little mouths and big tummies.

  3. As a pediatrician, I should know better, but after the 2nd bad burn and the 2nd toddler screaming (hubby generally not home until after dinner is on the table), I decided a half hour of Dora or Little Bear on TV was infinitely better than me being severely burned, frustrated, etc, or even worse, one of the kids getting burned.

  4. How's this for a stupid burn story:

    Before setting papers down on the stove (the only uncluttered surface) a man first checks to be sure the burner isn't hot--by placing his hand flat down on the burner.

    It WAS hot. Oops.


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