From: The Wall Street Journal

The Ordeal That Made Me a Student of Humanity

The Wall Street Journal:

In 1984, as a 17-year-old high-school student in Israel, I was a member of a youth movement that focused on study, civic work and preparation for military service. Our graduation ceremonies often featured big fires, intended to dramatize our patriotic fervor. That year, some of our leaders had brought back military supplies to help make the blaze especially intense.

One Friday afternoon, as we began putting away these materials, there was an accident. Nobody knows exactly what happened, but a spark must have been struck somewhere. A large magnesium flare—the kind that the Israeli military uses to light up a battlefield—exploded right next to me. In a moment, I was engulfed by flames.

Soon, I found, my personal and professional lives had become intertwined. For years, I felt the burden of my scars: the unending pain, the odd-looking medical braces, the pressure bandages that covered me from head to toe, the feeling of having gone through some kind of weird door and of living separately from the day-to-day experiences of my previous self and other “normal” people. I’d become an observer of my own life, as if I were watching an experiment on someone else—and I looked anew at other people as well.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal


Dear Sir,
I can sympathize greatly with your ordeal. As an R.N. I am appalled at the way those nurses dealt with removing bandages. I worked with a 7. y. o. boy who had burned his legs playing with matches. I had the advantage that I was a mother before I became an R.N. I knew from working with my own children’s injuries that it was much easier for them if they participated in their own treatment. I taught Jamie sterile technique, how to don sterile gloves, and had him remove his own dressings. Then I taught him (and his mother) how to apply Silvadene ointment and help me reapply his bandages. I wrote this in to the nursing plan of care & pointed out to the other R.N.s that it actually took less time to do his dressing changes when he was in charge. I saw his mother two years later while we were both shopping. He had returned to school and was doing well. He went swimming all summer & when other children asked him about his scars he would say matter of factly, “Don’t play with matches. This is what happens if you play with matches.” He was a truly great kid & together we taught the R.N.s on that pediatrics unit that they should respect their young patients.

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