THESE ARE SOME WORDS THAT THE YOUNG ADULTS WE WORK WITH USE TO DESCRIBE WHAT IT CAN FEEL LIKE TO LIVE WITH A BURN INJURY.Transition Stories
Burn injuries, can be a life changing experience. They can involve long stays in hospital and further treatment after discharge for many years. Treatment over the long term can involve scar management, physiotherapy and further surgery.
Apart from transitioning to a new burns service, it is likely that you will be making some other transitions as well, for example, to college, university or employment. This can be an exciting time, but also fairly daunting too as it can mean getting to know a whole host of new people.
“One of my biggest fears about going to University is my new roommates seeing my feet. I am worried about how to explain my burns scars to them.. people can jump to conclusions when they don’t understand”
Charlotte (17 years old)
Most people feel worried about job interviews, but it adds an extra challenge if you feel you may need to explain a visible scar.
One of the key things you can do to help cope with these new situations is to try to be prepared. Think about what questions people might ask you, and then think about how you might respond. Think about how much information you want to give. For example:
Q: What is that mark on your face/arm/feet? How did you get that?
Be brief and reassure that you are ok with them asking, then move the conversation on.
A: “Oh that, it’s a scar from a burn I had when I was a child. I have to go to the hospital every so often, but I am ok now. Are you going to the cinema later?”
Or maybe, it might feel right to give a bit more information and ask if they have any other questions?
A: “This is a scar from a burn I got as a child. I stepped into a bath when I was a toddler and the water was too hot. I am OK to talk about it, it’s been with me for a long time.. is there anything else you want to know about it? What about you, have you ever been in hospital for anything?”
The Changing Faces website (www.Changing Faces.org.uk) has lots of resources about how to increase your confidence in new situations. There is also a special section on ‘work’ which highlights your employment rights if you feel you are being discriminated against because of a visible difference. They have information and advice for employers too.
Just because you have a burn does not mean that you cannot go on to achieve great things!