I may tend to portray my life as easy going free flowing without much conflict, but nothing could be further from the truth. The following are some of the things that bother me about being burned, though it may appear such would be listed under the Physical annoyances, believe me, they are more of an emotional issue than physical.

Almost every day I look in the mirror while shaving and wonder what foolishness I must go through to be careful not to nick a scar, and that a real man doesn't have this problem. It makes me, for the briefest amount of time, question how far from the norm I am and how can I possibly function with people that can use an electric razor without worrying about shaving off a layer of scar tissue.

And then every month or two I must let my beard grow out for two days so I can pluck the hairs that grow in the scar bands. They grow long and the razor tends to push them down, or for some reason just doesn't shave them very well. Some of these hairs are in crevasses that the razor cannot reach anyway. And, of course, there is the occasional hair that cannot break through the scar tissue and grows and grows and grows under the scar swirling around making the skin slightly inflamed. Eventually the skin burst or I cut open the scar to get at the hair to pull it out. The longest hair I've pulled was close to three inches. But one thing is for sure, it feels so good once that hair is pulled free.

Tight Skin

Hair growing where hair usually doesn't grow

Sticky eye lids

Elbows (no feeling easy to damage)

Finger nails that separate way too often


Experiencies with discrimination:

Discrimination is one of those quirky things in life. Sometimes it happens without one being aware that it took place, and other times it is so blatant it doesn't seem like discrimination, but in all situations it affects a persons psyche. Discrimination against a burn victim is usually very subtle and descrete; it is usually not confrontational, but then again most discrimination people experience is discrete and more damaging than overt actions.

My experiences with bad job interviews where it is difficult to not think being burned was a factor.


Articles touching on the topic of living and working post-burns:

"Burn survivor finds job in helping others recover," by Kathleen Lavey, Lansing State Journal, 06-25-06

"Outgoing burn survivor resists pressure to hide away," by Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 12-20-2004.

Copyright 2006-2016 Christopher Fitts. All rights reserved.