Yesterday Brooke burned her finger. I had just pulled a pot of boiling water off the stove when I saw her reach out and touch the burner. Initially she hardly reacted. She carefully pulled her hand away and just stood there. No crying out or jumping around screaming in pain. For a second I wondered if she was one of those people whose bodies don’t register pain signals.
Finally, after several seconds of nothing, I said, “Did that hurt?”
Brooke: “Yeah. Really bad.”
Me: “Here, put your finger under some cool water.”
Brooke moved her stool over to the sink and let the water run over her now-blistered finger. Still no crying.
I was really impressed by her composure which continued all evening. Her finger hurt when it wasn’t in water, so I gave her a small container of water to put her finger in while we had dinner. As we were eating, Brooke lamented her new fate.
Brooke: “I can’t take my finger out of the water because it hurts!”
Me: “I know.”
Brooke: “So I just have to keep my finger in water forever?”
Me: “Well, until it feels better.”
Brooke: “When will my finger get better?”
Me: “It will take a while.”
Brooke: “Like lots of days?”
Brooke then mourned the things she would no longer be able to do because she could only use one hand. The amusing thing about this was everything she listed off were things that she only needed one hand to do anyway.
“I have to take a drink with only one hand!”
“I have to scratch my head with one hand!”
And, with lip quivering, “I can only hold bear with one hand!”
To the relief of all, the cool-water therapy worked and by the evening she was able to go to bed without a cup of water for her finger. Let’s hope she’s learned her lesson and will be able to resist the urge to touch the hot stove in the future.
After all — we wouldn’t want her having to drink one-handed for the rest of her life.