You never expect for one moment to change everything, but on this day one year ago our life was rocked. For me it was a normal day at work, until I get a phone call from Scott telling me to get home ASAP as Max has had an accident. In that moment you freeze. I didn't know what had happened but all I knew was that I needed to race home and be there for him. Once I got home I found Max stood in the shower crying his eyes out, his skin red raw.
In one split second Max had climbed up onto the side of our kitchen worktop, lost his footing and grabbed the closes thing he could. Which turned out to be a hot slow cooker full of dinner. The contents poured down his back, the slow cooker hit his head and in a moment things had gone from happy to life threatening. Before some asks, our slow cooker was always positioned pushed against the wall and as far out of reach as possible. But kid's love to help, they love to be involved and you definitely can't have your eyes on them at all times.
The ambulance service were fantastic, keeping us calm as I swayed between hyperventilating and extreme focus. Scott supported Max the whole way to hospital on his chest as he couldn't lie back due to blisters fast appearing on his back. Once we reached A&E the staff were great at keeping us calm, letting me grab my mum from the waiting room and keeping us up to date on everything that was happening. We were told that the burns whilst not life threatening (thanks to Scott's quick reactions to throw him in the shower) would need looking at properly so we were whisked off in another ambulance to Salisbury hospital who have a specialist burns unit for children.
By this time it was coming close to midnight, we were all exhausted and I'm so thankful my mum had stayed with us. She works in a hospital and kept us incredibly calm, talking me through the steps and tests they would probably run. Once there the nurses took over and tried to scrape off some of the burnt skin, but swiftly realised it would need closer inspection so a surgeon was called. He advised us that the best thing to do was to take him to surgery the next morning, scrape off the dead skin and apply Biobrane to the wounds so it could heal faster. Whilst it sounded terrifying we put our trust in his hands and agreed.
Watching your child go into surgery is a terrifying thing, but the staff on the ward were fantastic. They turned a scary experience into an exciting one with certificates, stickers and toys to distract him from the pain. Once he came around he was sore and stiff, bandaged all over his torso he was itchy and woozy from the pain killers. It was a few days and several dressing changes later before he was allowed home. I remember it being the same weekend as a conference I was supposed to be at and texting everyone to let them know I wouldn't be there. To be honest, those 4/5 days we were in the hospital felt like time had frozen. Scott was still in shock over everything and felt so guilty for not stopping it. The nurses were great at explaining to Max what had happened and how it was an accident, how no one was to blame and these things happen.
Once we were allowed home we were put in touch with our outreach nurse Nix. She was the biggest star of them all. We saw her on a regular basis and she helped us change his dressings, clean up his face and neck and reassure us that we were doing okay! It was fantastic to know she was there for any niggling panic we had. Because of his Biobrane he wasn't allowed a bath and because his neck and face were badly burnt we had to keep changing the weeping dressings. It was awful seeing Max wanting to go out and see his friends when he just needed to stay put and rest. Luckily we grabbed him some new toys and DVD's to keep him distracted.
After a few weeks Max's Biobrane was allowed to come off. The recovery wasn't over and we've spent hours upon hours rubbing lotions, creams and ointments into his skin to help promote healthy skin regrowth and try and prevent scarring. We need to do this for another year or risk the skin scarring or looking different from his other skin. He has to constantly be covered outside and needs to be closely monitored in case of any problems. I feel like a paranoid parent when I see the tiger stripes on his neck but know that I'm doing it for the right reasons.
One year on and his skin hardly looks any different. His face flares red when he's hot and runs blue when he's cold but in time that will pass. We've educated Max on how to safely help in the kitchen and did finally get a new slow cooker. Since the accident we've tried hard to educate friends and family on burn safety and burn recovery. When a close friend's son spilt a mug of burning tea on his wrist I knew how she would be feeling and helped her with any concerns she had.
Anything can happen in a moment, sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad. We had a bad thing happen, an accident that no one could have predicted. No one was to blame but that moment will stay with us forever. We've learnt to become more cautious, more attentive and adapt to whatever situation throws at us. Max has been such an inspiration throughout and been so incredibly brave. He talks about what has happened and hasn't let any of it phase him. One moment can change everything, but don't let that moment define everything.