Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 118: A Scare, Some Scars, & The Scale

So I am sure you guys have noticed that it has been almost 2 weeks since my last blog entry. The morning after my last entry (Wednesday, August 8), I received some terrifying news that my dad was in a chemical burn accident at work. My dad has told me horror stories about the chemicals that he works with, so when I found out about it, it took all that I had not to panic and assume the worst.

He was rushed to the UTMB Burn Unit in Galveston, one of the best burn hospitals in the country, which luckily for us, is only about an hour or so away from here. My mom and I sped to Galveston unsure of what to expect since we did not get to talk to him the whole morning. It was unnerving for me because the last time I heard his voice was from a voicemail message he left me from an unknown number on my cell phone at 4 in the morning. I had to pray that that wouldn't be the last time I would hear his voice...

We got to Galveston, and to my relief, found my dad chatting and smiling with the BASF Safety Officer, Sterling, who had been with my dad since 2:30 a.m. shortly after the incident occurred. The burns were on his face and chest, and his skin was purple and about 8 to 10 shades darker than he usually is. It was already 9:15 a.m. by the time my mom and I arrived at the hospital, and I hated that it took so long for us to get to him. I was emotional mostly because I was relieved and happy to see my dad smiling and talking, but the next hours and days would be critical because the chemical he was sprayed with has extremely toxic properties that could kill. Lesson learned: ALWAYS ANSWER YOUR PHONE...EVEN IF IT'S 4 A.M.

The chemical my dad got sprayed with is called Dichlorophenol, also known as DCP. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to explain what happened in a public post, so if you'd truly like to know, message me at my inbox on Facebook or Gmail, and I can tell you in a private message.

Thankfully, all of my dad's pH levels and blood work tests were normal. That meant the chemicals did not have the chance to seep into his system and affect his organs. Thank God he took the time to wash the chemical off as much as possible! He spent 60 minutes in the safety showers at BASF and they scrubbed him another 60 minutes at UTMB. Since his results were all normal, they were able to discharge him and send him home the very next day.

Here are some progress photos of my dad's burns
(Warning, some may be hard to look at, so scroll quickly if you have a weak stomach):

August 8
Same day of accident at UTMB
August 9
Back at home
August 11
Painful Peeling
August 13
August 13
Still peeling, painful, & swollen
August 13
Post 1st Follow-Up Visit
at UTMB Galveston
Doctors removed the burned peelings
August 20
2nd UTMB Follow-Up Visit
at UTMB Galveston
The doctors at UTMB and my dad's co-workers who know about the dangers of DCP keep reiterating exactly how lucky he was to escape such an accident alive and to be healing as quickly as he is. I am beyond thankful that this is the case, and I know that all the positive energy and prayers we have been receiving from everyone have truly helped. Thank you.

Somehow during all the chaos of the past couple of weeks, I have still been able to make time to work out and eat right 80% of the time. I didn't get to exercise as much as I would have liked, but it was better than doing absolutely nothing for 2 weeks. I was (and still am) very tired from this big shake-up from my usual routine, but I know that keeping up with my physical activity has helped keep my stress levels lower than they would be otherwise. Besides, I'd take this kind of fatigue and overwhelmed feeling any day over what could have happened.

The first weekend that my dad was home, I stayed with my parents to help my dad change his bandages, get him food, etc. When my parents were napping, I made time to work out in my old bedroom. I managed to walk to my aunt's house down the street and use her treadmill on Sunday morning before church also.
I was able to run/walk a mile in 16:12.
 My mom was also thoughtful enough to fix us healthy dishes while I was there, and she's trying to maintain healthier eating habits for herself and my dad. We ate mostly salmon, chicken, fruit, and vegetables during that weekend. It has been such a relief to see my dad's condition progress toward healing so quickly, and words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the way things turned out despite the scariness of the situation...

Back at work, it was weird to adjust. I've been on a spinach salad kick lately. I enjoy it with an Italian vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes, a little Pecorino Romano, and sometimes I add a protein such as tuna or salmon.

Spinach salad, tuna, pita chips & hummus
I was able to bike 11 miles after work August 14th - August 16th. I took an off-day on Friday to FINALLY see The Dark Knight Rises with Nick (which was QUITE good, by the way!), and then I did the elliptical for 45 minutes on Saturday morning (the 18th).

Going back to August 14th, that day was my mama's 62nd birthday! Due to my dad's burn accident, plans got changed up quite a bit. We originally planned for me to take off a work day for me to go with my parents to a casino in Louisiana since it's become a yearly tradition for her to try her luck on her birthday. Instead, we changed our plans and went to Coushatta to gamble on Saturday the 18th and stayed the night to Sunday morning.

This was the first time I ever went to a casino. Yes, I am 28 years old, but there are several reasons why I've avoided it for so long, though. I hate cigarette smoke, and I don't want to risk losing any of the little extra money that I have after all my bills have been paid. The only joy I got out of the trip was seeing my mom win and enjoy herself and the splurging a little by eating at the massive buffet. Otherwise, I intend to avoid going back. The machines devoured all the money I put in, it smelled awful, it was loud, crowded, and did I mention it smelled awful?

Obviously, my dad could not join us because God only knows what kind of germs lurk in a casino, and he may have still been vulnerable to infection. It was a lovely mom/daughter trip, though! We went back home on Sunday morning and took advantage of the tax-free shopping sales in Beaumont before I brought her back to Fannett. I wish she could have had a more exciting birthday celebration, but we had a lot to be thankful for. Keeping it low key this year was the best option.

I will admit that my eating has not been as great as it needs to be, and that I have been "stress eating" more often than not. But by some miracle, I have been able to more or less maintain the same weight since my last weigh-in. It has been fluctuating between 136 and 139 over the past 2 weeks, but it has not gone any lower than 136. I have about 10 - 15 more pounds to go before I reach my true goal bracket, and I know I need to get back on track with my eating and my regular workouts.

My weight August 20, 2012
My apologies for the blurriness.
Now that things are (hopefully) beginning to settle down a bit, I intend to get back on track and shed these last difficult 10 pounds. Now, more than ever, I understand that maintaining my health and my weight are so important. Life is short, and you never know when some surprise situation might take away everything... 

Why not make the most of it by taking good care of what you've been blessed with instead of waiting until it's too late? There are times, if you are fortunate enough, to enjoy and savor the rich flavors and indulgences that life has to offer, but what makes those things special vanishes when you make them available to yourself all the time. 

Since I am still playing catch-up both at work and at home, I have decided to reduce my posts to weekly entries rather than daily. I am a little more than halfway there, and it's down to the wire. I truly need some inspiration to keep going, friends and followers. If you have any words of encouragement, they are welcome! I know it sounds kind of selfish to ask for words of love, but well...I could use some! 

Here's to a good rest of the week. Be healthy! Be happy! And hug your parents often. Oh, but if the front half of their body is burned, hug their back. ;)