Happy Burn-iversary!

Today is the anniversary of my ill-fated climb up the kitchen stove, according to the best research source I currently have — my blue baby book. Without evidence-based confirmation from a verified medical record, which I may or may not ever find, I rely on my mother’s elegant script in the baby book, where she marks this date in an eerily understated entry, “My oh my. Another big scare with Anne……”. This is the first year in the more than 40 since that I’ve even known the date — the first time I’ve looked in that ole baby book to check it.

Parents Notes- Mom's description of accident

Putting on my detective hat and with the not-so-clever use of the Internet, I see that November 24th way-back-when was a Tuesday just two days before Thanksgiving. I wonder so many things — what were their Thanksgiving plans that week? Who was cooking? Did their plans change when I went into the hospital for a 2 1/2 month stay? Did they visit that day? Was I in surgery on Thanksgiving? Did they cry when it happened?

To date, I’ve interviewed a number of my parents’ friends and relatives and no one remembers that specific week, those specific activities. In the end and in the big picture, I know it doesn’t matter so much but it is still a nagging curiosity even though I feel more like a voyeur to my own story than its main character. Is that how I cope? I’ve always been expert at compartmentalizing and I wonder if this is why.

In all of this, the most important piece is that I’ve found resolution and peace. In the most fortunate of ways, I heard my parents own words many years later. That they wished they had spoken of this earlier. That they loved me. That it changed their lives far more than mine. I’m lucky this way. Many people for many reasons don’t open this door. Have you?

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Why I Want Those 1965-1966 Medical Records

My research thus far has included requesting medical records (from doctors, hospitals and rehab centers in Green Bay), talking with brothers/sisters/relatives, friends of my parents (who died in the 1990s) and even a smattering my own friends about their thoughts, remembrances, perceptions, misconceptions. “Didn’t you get burned on Halloween when the lantern you were carrying dropped and you caught on fire?” one relative queried. “No, not at all,” I responded. And that is the most exasperating thing — trying to prove out what I thought happened with all the other red herrings. This is why I so want to see the 1965 medical records. In my mind, they will confirm the story imprinted on me since youth or they will enlighten me with new information. Thus far, the most complete written record of the story has been found in my blue baby¬†book when my mother wrote out an account of some of the details she chose to share in an eerily upbeat way. I’d like something a little more evidence-based but I understand that may be¬†something that never comes my way. I also understand that whatever I may find may not answer some of the questions I have — like how did I get from home to the hospital? Or, how many “debridement” procedures (peeling off of the dead, burned skin) did I have before the plastic surgeries? My questions do indeed range from the basic to the macabre. Does anyone out there have additional ideas on who, what or where I should invest some of my research efforts?