Elise Morris: My Story, My Words
December 24, 2012
I was eight years old, my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter at the time had lice and she kept giving them to me so we had to keep getting rid of them with lice shampoo. One morning on Christmas eve, we noticed that I had lice again but we realized we had no shampoo left to kill the lice so we used rubbing alcohol instead.
There was a candle in the same room and we didn’t realize that my hair caught on fire because of the alcohol so when I felt the burn, I got up and started running around and my mom was chasing me around the room with a towel. I remember falling because I was running down the hallway and I tripped but my mom was yelling at me to jump into the shower.
I was airlifted to the burn center in Community Regional Medical Center. I was there for a few weeks, they let me go home for about a day but I had to go back to get some skin grafts and I was there for another few weeks but I’m done with treatments now.
I have first, second and third degree burns so I have skin grafts on my right arm, the right side of my face and on my back but I was burned on my arms, my neck, my ears and my back. I had physical therapy when I was there and they offered laser but I didn’t do that. One time they were talking about doing a treatment because I have a very sensitive keloid that sometimes feels like a needle is going through it from how sensitive it is but I don’t think I’m going to do the treatment.
My life has changed drastically, it gave me my passion in life, since I was so young, it kind of changed my perception of life and I want to be a nurse for burn survivors to work in the burn unit. I also want to be a tattoo artist for burns.
I don’t notice my scars much anymore because they have faded but when I was younger, I did get bullied. People would say I did it on purpose for attention or they would call me Freddy Krueger or stuff like that. I was picked on a lot but not very much anymore. Not a lot of people stare at me either anymore but they did when I was younger and it’s funny because it’s either little kids or full-grown adults but I just thought of them as being curious or if they were being judgmental then that was on them because I’m just here living my life.
I think my favorite scar is the one on my arm because it’s the one I can see the most. I guess when I was little, I wasn’t really focused on looks at the time, one time I saw myself in the mirror right after I got burned and I just thought “woah, that’s what I look like right now” but I learned to love my scars. I feel good with them now, I never want them to go away because they’re a part of me and I feel like they spice me up. I wouldn’t change anything that happened, if I did then I wouldn’t be able to be a part of the burn foundation or the camps that I still go to, they make my life so much better.
Something I would say to someone starting out their burn journey is don’t look at it in a bad way, look at it as a good change, something that is changing you for the better and will change your mental state as well. Get through the hard times, I remember I used to want to give up when I came to physical therapy because it was so painful to have my skin stretched out or having to wear pressure garments but you just have to get through it. It’s all for the better, it all just helps you in the end.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.”