Burned on Her Birthday

Turning Thirteen Painful Experience
reprinted with permission from Emu's Zine

by Myra Charleston

“We didn't even know anything was wrong, till she walked in the house then screamed,” says Mary Chidester “She says it just didn't hurt till then. We all did that headlong rush you do when you hear that hurt cry your child does when you know it is a serious problem.” Mary went on to tell us that her daughter, Cheryl had gone to throw some trash in the yard burner, a 55 gallon barrel used on their farm. As she got close to the barrel, she tripped on her shoelace, fell forward and hit the side of the hot barrel. The barrel tipped, then came back up and hit her on her upraised hand. “Her arm looked like a horror movie picture of a zombie,” said Mary, “The right arm was burned from wrist to elbow about 4 inches wide. The skin had already ruptured, and was just hanging there. The palm of her left hand was bright red, but not ruptured.”

They stuck Cheryl’s arm under cold running water and called the hospital to let them know they were on the way. The hospital personnel suggested wet towels with ice bags in them for the 20-minute trip into town.

After the Chidester’s got to the hospital, Cheryl was given painkillers. Then the nurses began cleaning the wound. Nurses scrubbed the raw arm as clean as they could and then began picking out the pieces of rust embedded in Cheryl’s arm. Mary watched the nurses flinch as they worked on her daughter’s arm, knowing how much this was going to hurt later.

“They put silver sulfadiazine cream on her burns and sent her home with a prescription of hydrocodone,” says Mary. “We had to bring her back the next day, to check how the burns were doing and to make sure if she was getting infection or not. The rust and all the open wounds worried them.”

Mary was told to give Cheryl a pain pill every morning, scrub off the old silver sulfadiazine cream and then reapply new cream. “It was very hard on both of us.” Sighed Mary. “I told my egger list family about it, and everyone jumped to tell me about emu oil.” Two of her egging friends, Peg Gardiner and D’Shea Villoch sent her emu oil products in the form of a 25% emu oil cooling gel as well as the pure emu oil. “I am very grateful to both, Cheryl’s burns were bad enough and large enough, we have gone through both bottles.”

The accident took place on April 14, Cheryl’s 13th birthday. It took 4 days to get the emu products so they had to use the silver sulfadiazine cream until then. Aside from the discomfort of cleaning it off and reapplying, Cheryl would itch. When the cream and oil arrived they started using them on the bottom half of her arm because it had the worse burns. After the first day Cheryl wanted it on all of her burns, she felt so much better and no longer itched.

Mary tells us that they put the gel on under Cheryl’s bandages when she had to be at school all day because the pure oil wouldn’t last all day with just one application and the bandages would begin to stick to the wounds. The pure emu oil kept the wounds moist when she had the bandages off.

“The old burnt skin came off in about 2 days, and pretty new skin was under it. We took a picture the day we got the emu oil, and one 5 days later,” Mary smiled “the old skin was all off, and even the discoloration around the burns was gone.” Cheryl loved the smell of the cooling gel and couldn’t wait to have her bandages changed in the mornings since it didn’t have to be scrubbed off the way the cream did.




Mary was amazed at the difference the emu oil made. "Cheryl's arm seldom hurt after about a week use. The skin was still very tender, and the least bump broke the skin, but the only scars she will have are where she itched through the bandages when all we had was the doctor’s cream.” Mary tells me (as of July) that Cheryl is fine and the scars are not noticeable unless she has been in the sun. After spending some time in the sun, you can see the outline of the burn on her arm, but otherwise would never know it had happened.

Dave and Mary Chidester can be reached via chid@oztech.com

The information provided above is strictly for educational purposes and not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your physician.