[Tripping On…] Burn On Arm

The burn on my arm from a few days ago has subsided, with only a minor blister being somewhat concerning, otherwise, there’s a splash of red on my arm that reminds me of two things: I have a fairly high pain tolerance and if this were a headache, it would be misdiagnosed, mistreated, and misadventured. It’d be like going into the doctor’s office with a bandage over the burn and being told it’s a cut.

I was cooking spinach and dumped the water too soon.

I should have waited for it to cool off, should have worn my oven mitts, and should have been more careful. Instead, it dumped on my arm, the counter, and let’s just say it’s good I was wearing pants and underwear. The most I said was a mild “ouch” then got to work tending to the wound. Fortunately, my editor for larger projects J.D. [writer’s note: Shout out to the editor.] was online, so I showed him a photo and asked for advice.

I lathered petroleum jelly on the wound, cleaned it up, dressed it, and called it good.

It didn’t blister throughout the night, only a day later, so I was in the clear. After a day, I thought about maybe going to see a doctor about it, but from all my experiences so far, the most they’d do is what I did for myself, maybe with a few more tricks up their sleeves. If it leaves a scar, then it will be a souvenir of this experience I’ve hadTripping On [The American Healthcare System], because that bandage example is exactly how it felt.

Here’s my fictional scenario behind that feeling:

I’d go into Doctor-Number-One’s office with the burn. He wouldn’t believe me. I’d offer to show him the burn. He’d refer me to a burn specialist, Doctor-Number-Two. -Two wouldn’t even look at the burn but say it was a cut and give me antibiotics. I’d go back to the insurance company and ask for another doctor. I’d be assigned another doctor, but because they didn’t tell me to arrive early, I arrived “on time” which was “late” and was assigned rookie Doctor-Number-Three, that didn’t know much about burns, prescribed me a mild sedative, then on my follow-up appointment was jealous I saw -Two.

-Four would just figure my burn was a performance.

-Five would be the first one to actually see the burn, but by then, it already became infected, so after my second visit, admitted in earnest that I’d need to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, Doctor-Number-Five-Point-One would chime in with some remote consultation in a completely random direction that I would ignore and forget about until later, so I’d go see -Six as a skin specialist that other than the infection everything about my skin looked fine.

Going to the emergency room with -Seven would provide somewhat helpful.

By that point, I would be in so much pain that I would be prescribed something for the cut on my arm. “No, burn.” “Oh, okay, your burn. Yeah, sure, you don’t look like you’re after painkillers, so here ya go. Now quit wasting my time,” is what he’d say, which was grossly exaggerated from the truth, but in spirit was much the same. I’d send the discharge notice information to my insurance company, who would then set me up with another burn doctor -Eight, that would actually look at my burn, treat the burn, and do some tests, which would lead to a generalist, -Nine, that would look over the wound and tell me to take some time to rest and recuperate.

-Eight would send me to -Ten, to get my burn cleaned up and healed up.

-Ten would clean up the wound and give me exercises for restoring functionality to the area afflicted by the burn. This fictional scenario, equating my headaches to this burn, fails at -Eleven and -Twelve, but here we are at the end of my story, with the equivalent of my burn finally being treated three months after it started… I’m wearing sunglasses as I wrote this essay as preventative maintenance. I might be able to wear my regular glasses without any sort of light sensitivity, however, this has been going on for long enough that I don’t want to risk it.

I’ve returned from this battle over headaches mostly unscathed.

I don’t have any major medical problems and have uncovered minor medical problems that I can proactively work on, so it wasn’t a major loss, especially since I have these essays I can compile into an ebook to show as a bit of a cautionary tale. Even if you’re as proactive as I was with dealing with my headaches, you’re still in for a world of pain, so sometimes, if you can do your own research and figure things out by yourself, you’ll be much better off than dealing with some of these doctors.

I can empathize that a headache is harder to see than a burn.

Still, I would equivate the analogy I wrote above where some of these doctors were willing to prescribe me various sorts of medication without hesitation for side effects. It’s funny, too, because when I got my new eyeglass prescription and was getting them fitted, the person fitting my glasses told me not to hyperextend my neck out as a casual observation, which ended up being part of the cause. Sometimes, although you may seem to be controlling your pain, you have to express it at the doctor’s office just enough for them to take you seriously and actually look at your wound, be it my burn versus cut analogy, my headache as it might relate with all manner of things, or any issue that could be fixed with just a simple observation by a trained professional. Am I asking for too much? I’m not turned off by going to doctors from this whole experience. I’ll still trust doctors.

I’m just more willing to walk away now than accept inadequate care.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Gotta take parts of your life, no matter how serendipitously, into your own hands.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Photos: The day of the burn and the day I edited this.
Written On: 2020 February 15 [1:01am to “misdiagnosed, mistreated, and misadventured” at 1:03am. From 1:10am to “some of these doctors” then 1:30am. From 1:32am to 1:39am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 February 27 [Second draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.