Rob Buckingham's Blog

Hot Water Bottles are Evil

The service went very well.  The congregation embraced the message with enthusiasm; people committed their lives to Jesus.  I went home feeling very encouraged.  About 11pm we headed for bed.  I have a few ways that I like to demonstrate my love for Christie.  One way is to take her a cup of tea in bed most mornings.  Another way is to make her a hot water bottle on cold Melbourne winter nights.
That Saturday night was particularly cold so I boiled the kettle, filled the water bottle and popped it into Christie’s side of the bed.  I got into bed first while Christie was hanging some clothes.  We were talking about the kids and I was feeling the cold more than usual so I reached out for the hot water bottle thinking I’d warm myself up before Christie got into bed.
The next thing I remember is the most excruciating pain on my side, back and left arm.  I went from drowsy to wide-awake in less than a second.  I don’t remember getting out of bed.  I was told later that I’d probably had some assistance from residual electricity because Christie’s electric blanket was also on.  I hit the floor and tried to get my pyjamas off as quickly as possible.
By this time Christie had realised what was happening and Gigi, our eldest daughter who had heard my screams, had come into our room as well.  They got me to the shower and stood me under the cold water to try and stop the burning.  Meanwhile Christie phoned for an ambulance.  I stayed in the shower the whole time – freezing and in so much pain – but I was still able to give instructions for what needed to happen at our two church services the next morning!
Thirty minutes later the ambulance arrived and took me to the Alfred Hospital.  I passed out along the way so I don’t remember the journey at all.  That began a nine-day stay in hospital followed by recovery at home.
I’m glad to say that I am now recovering well and feeling stronger by the day.  I’ve seen a few miracles along the way – not least the fact that I don’t need to have any skin grafts.  The Alfred staff told me I was the first burns case from a hot water bottle that they knew of that didn’t need grafts.  I am so thankful for that.  I’m thankful for the amazing support I’ve had from Christie and my girls, from the amazing community of God’s people at Bayside Church, for the prayers of thousands of people around the world, and for the medical expertise of the staff at the Alfred Hospital as well as Antoinette the nurse who visited our home each day after I was discharged from hospital.
This has been a horribly traumatic experience to go through and one in which I’ve had to draw on my patience message on more than one occasion.  I never want to go through anything like this ever again.  And I’d love to prevent others from going through this as well – that’s why I’m writing this blog.
One of the staff at the hospital told me about 200 people a year are admitted to hospital because of burns received from a hot water bottle.  That’s 200 people too many – plus hundreds of people who receive burns that don’t need hospital care.  Why do we think that pouring very hot water into a perishable substance is ever a good idea?  Hot water bottles are evil.  If you have one please throw it away.  There are better options for getting warm.
One thing I am grateful for is that this happened to me and not to Christie.  If I hadn’t reached across the bed that night for the hot water bottle Christie would have been burned by it instead of me.  We have now thrown away all our hot water bottles.  I encourage you to do the same.

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