The Burn: Week Four AND Paysandú

The Week of Awesome!

My week of awesome started with simply getting out of the house. I burned myself on a Friday, so it was only fitting that my week of awesome started on a Friday. I was looking forward to Beer Week in Paysandú and I was able to get out of the house and walk the few blocks to a wine bar for happy hour with my lady friends, Ana and Katie. God, it had been way too long since we had a ladies night. Dressed in a rocker chick outfit (not sure why I was in a Stevie Nicks mood, but I was going with it), I felt powerful. I was a Gold Dust Woman. We drank some wine (okay, lots of wine), we gossiped, we laughed, we talked boys. It was great! Oh, and did I mention that I walked to and from the bar! It was a big day!IMG_4702

The next day, Katie’s parents came to town. After a hellacious flight cancellation and layover, they finally made it to Montevideo. And, they were so sweet to bring me cream from the states and Vitamin E for my burns. Katie invited me to join the family for a bodega trip since I had missed the last one. We went to Artesana just a few minutes outside of Montevideo. It was delicious food, delicious wine, and even better company! I am in love with Katie’s parents! She is just like them, which makes them extra amazing in my eyes. That evening Katie had a happy hour at her apartment, which meant extra time spent with our usual gang and her parents. Similar to when my parents came to visit, I think it gave Katie’s parents a sense of peace to see her surrounded by so much love and friendship. Despite the tingling sensations that ran through my legs every time I shifted position in my chair, I felt normal again. It’s amazing how just getting out of the house completely changed my entire outlook on life.  I also received a happy present from my mommy that was really well timed!

I had lunch in Ciudad Vieja with Tavis and Diego, I went shopping for some loose pants for school, and I had a lovely final lunch with Katie and her parents before they headed to Buenos Aires. Thursday rolled around and my doctor gave me the final go-ahead to make my trip to Paysandú. By this point, I only had two patches on my foot and the rest of the burns were healing nicely and on to the cream stage. My right inner thigh barely looked like it had been burned at all. My upper left thigh was still tender and a bit red, but the skin was strong enough to not need a bandage. The doctor gave me the serious lecture about sun exposure and sustainability to infection from open water sources, meaning absolutely NONE of both. I had to keep covered, no water (especially standing water like rivers and pools) and I had to make sure I kept to my cream schedule. I sir-yes-sirred and practically ran out of the hospital. I felt like a kid on the last day of school, bursting through the doors into months of summer vacation.IMG_4728

Camping gear gathered (muchas gracias, Erin and Tavis!), Brad and I packed up his car to the brim and made the four-ish hour drive into the interior of Uruguay. Let me tell you, the interior never ceases to amaze me. It’s beautiful landscape of country-side, cows, and slightly rolling hills reminds me that we are truly in a foreign country. I think sometimes the big city can get a little monotonous and familiar making me forget the 5287 mile decision I had made less than a year ago. Plus, it was super fun to see all of the little cultural nuances of Uruguay at gas stations. Although, I will admit that I gave the hot water tanks some space. I will talk more about the specifics of the Paysandú trip in the next post, but since this one is about burns…

IMG_4727

DANGER!

The biggest issue was keeping covered. Although we are heading into fall, the days are still fairly hot. Plus camping tents can get pretty toasty. I had to be very conscious about shade and where my exposed foot was at all times. I also had to add sunscreen to the cream regimen because most of my flowy pants don´t do a great job of protecting against UV rays. So every day I woke up,  applied cream in the tent.  Ate something around lunch time and reapplied in the tent, did a baby-wipe cleanse just because we were exposed to some semi-gross bathrooms and 20,000 people, and got ready to go to the festival for the evening concerts. Then I would apply the cream one more time before going to bed.  The routine worked and I never felt inconvenienced or frustrated with the process. I never felt like it detracted from my overall experience. And again, I was so excited to simply be out of my apartment and living life again that even if constantly applying cream had been a pain, it would not have mattered. I felt lighter and happier than I had been in a long time. Plus, no one knew I was burned in Paysandú besides my friend, and he treated me the exact same as before. I think that is the hardest part of the -part-two stage of burns. You were vulnerable and relying on others to get you through a very painful and tedious process. Therefore, once you rejoin the world of the living again, you are seen as fragile. I am NOT fragile and did not want to be treated as such. So, Paysandú was a perfect experience for this still healing burn victim.

Several take-aways:

  1. Hand-washing was key. I had to remember that I was applying cream to an area that only days ago had been open wounds. Despite my huge dislike of hand-sanitizer, I used the crap out of it.
  2. Long periods of standing and walking was a bit twingy. I had been on a couch for nearly three weeks. Although I figured out how to continue exercising during my recovery, an hour a day versus several long hours of walking was a bit of an adjustment. There were times my ankle was a nuisance. This is where pain medication was helpful and necessary to continue.
  3. I apparently have this habit of slapping my upper thigh to emphasize a point. Did not know this was a thing until pain shot up my body after several thigh-slapping points were made.
  4. Watch alarms may be the greatest inventions for reminders.
  5. Gigantic tents that are big enough for a grown man to stand in and giant air mattresses are the best when camping with burned legs. (Thanks again, Erin!)
  6. I have some of the best friends.

 

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