Monday, January 29, 2007

The Day I Blew Up

A lot of people have seen my charred body on our "pictures" link and have been asking a lot of questions about what happened. For some reason it is very difficult to explain in e-mails, so I drew a picture and will try to explain using it as a reference.

In the early morning on September 25th, Corwin and I were at work with our Dad in Fontana, California. We were all in the rear electrical room at Wal*Mart where I was working on a 480 volt panel. Suddenly everything around me turned white and became very loud (eerily similar to when the nuclear bomb went off on last weeks "24" episode).

In the back of this panel were three buss bars, each of which carries 277 volts of electricity. Something, probably made of metal, crossed over the bottom of the two left most buss bars and caused an arch. The same concept is used to super heat metal when arch-welding, but obviously that is more controlled. I was on my knees when it happened putting me level with the explosion.

Normally this arch would cause a breaker to shut off the power running to these three buss bars, but something malfunctioned and the searing heat kept shooting at me for about 5 to 8 seconds. My dad, seeing the flames had just about stopped, jumped in front of the panel and pulled me out of the way. Corwin avoided the blast. I thought I was toast (get it, toast?).




I did not get electrocuted like Frank Grimes did. That would have killed me like it killed him. Poor Grimey, as he liked to be called.

When My eyesight came too, I saw that the burns weren't as bad as I imagined. In fact I got up and walked around for a few minutes while my Dad took care of the panel. When the ambulance got there, they introduced me to this stuff called morphine and the next 10 days were a blur.

For those who haven't had the stomach to look at the pictures, I had 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my left arm from my wrist to my elbow and on my left leg from my ankle to my knee. I had 2nd degree burns on my right arm, 1st degree burns from the left side of my face (from the corner of my eye to my ear) and a 2nd degree burn on my ear. I also had 1st and 2nd degree burns on the outside of my right hand and on the lower portion of my right palm. I was holding a drill when it happened, so if you make like you're holding a drill and look at your hand you can see how that happened. This is the least graphic picture.



At some point during my 10 day high, I had skin grafting done in surgery. They took skin from my left thigh and covered the deep burns on my right leg and right arm. Everyone who has seen the grafting, Doctors and regular humans alike, have been very impressed with how good it looks. Most burn victims have to wear what they call compression garments for 12 to 18 months. I wore them for three months.

Most people cringe when they think about the pain associated with 3rd degree burn. But The whole ordeal was not unbearable. That is mostly because they kept me so well medicated at the hospital. I want everyone to know that the pain I experienced was very minimal compared to the other people I met in the burn ward at the hospital.

We appreciate every one's help and concern during this time. Nicole is such a trooper, she was 7 1/2 months pregnant while all of this was going on. She went through quite the ordeal simply trying to get down to California to be with me. We moved into our new house a few days after I got home. My family put a lot of work into painting the house before they helped us move in. It is really nice to have people that close to rely on in these types of situations.

And that's that. I am doing great now. Feel free to see the "pictures" if you don't mind the gore.

2 comments:

lady said...

when we were in utah for christmas we saw brett and meghan and brett told us that you were in a small explosion. sounds intense, but since you're all right, at least it makes a cool story after the fact.

dallapozza said...

geez dusten. so glad you're ok. tell the wife and kid hello!