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Brandon Smith Burn Recovery

$25,335 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 222 people in 12 months
Created August 15, 2018
Brandon suffered a very serious and traumatic burn accident at his home in St Louis, MO on Friday August 10th, 2018. The burns are extensive and involve his stomach and upper chest area, neck and chin, as well as his right arm. He has 2nd degree burns over the entire area with some 3rd degree burns on his chest and arm area.

He has been in the Barnes Jewish Hospital since the accident last Friday evening (8/10/2018). He has undergone very painful debriding sessions to the rid the affected area of dead skin material and weeping. Today (Wednesday 8/15/2018) he will be undergoing surgery to remove skin from his upper thigh to graft into the most severely burned sections.

He is still undergoing treatment and hospitalization as well as a long recovery once he is able to leave the hospital. We anticipate that the health care costs and time without the ability to work will exceed $50,000. Brandon and Hannah are such loving and giving souls. We wish to help them in any way possible.

His mother and I are raising money for Brandon and Hannah to allow them to get all the help and support they need during this difficult time. The recovery time will be slow and there is a significant risk of infection. He will need physical and occupational therapy as well as plastic surgery consultation and care to reduce scarring.

The funds will help with normal bills and living expenses as well as the health care. It will pay the hospital, physicians, medicines and therapists.  All funds will go directly to Brandon and Hannah. Any amount donated will help and we ask for prayers for his recovery.
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Brandon drafted up this message and asked me to post it on the GoFundMe site as an update to get the word out. Here is the message in his own words:

Friends and family,
I’m sorry to have been so silent throughout my recovery process. Every day has been a rollercoaster ride of varying degrees of discomfort. I wish I could have been able to be visited after the hospital, but even leaving the hospital and its resources was difficult to navigate for some time. My pain is at a manageable enough level for me to get back to work to some degree. I’ve never experienced such a low tolerance for endurance before now which is difficult but understandable considering the time I spent recovering stationary. My pain turned a corner this last week. I can now say besides a portion of still recovering space on my chest, my pain is mostly specific to my graft sites. I’m sure the next phase of this recovery will be painfully training my new skin to fit and stretch as it used to but I know it will take time. The other difficulty I face is psychological. Not so much the PTSD of the whole thing, even though I’m sure I’ll contend with it in various ways, but the lifestyle change has been rough. My brain and body are accustomed to working long hard days and my recovery has proven to focus most of my energy into healing such a large portion of my body.
I’ve retold the story enough that I suppose I’d prefer to eliminate that task in the future by telling you my experience briefly here. I never hoped to be a cautionary tale but I know I need to focus my embarrassment into something more productive. A five minute trip to the store for lighter fluid or new self light charcoals would have saved me and my family a lot of pain and anguish. Perhaps it was fatigue or just pure laziness that led me to make a very poor decision. I decided to start the grill because I knew we had some self-light charcoals left. Given that I bought self-light charcoals I had not bought lighter fluid. When I went to light the coals they would not catch no matter where I focused the charcoal lighter. After focusing the lighter right in the middle down low in the pile of bricks for some time I decided they had taken on dew and was not going to light without an accelerant. That’s when everything went wrong. I decided the only thing I had was gas… Thank goodness it occurred to me that using the whole can was a bad idea but I should also have listened to my intuition next as I approached the grill with a very small container thinking “this is probably a bad idea.” Unbeknownst to me, my final efforts to light the coals were enough to light a small ember that didn’t smoke or really flame up. This small ember was enough to immediately light the gas before my slow poor container we emptied, which resulted in a blowback from the container which then poured flaming gas on my chest and arm. I was on fire for approximately 20 seconds or so flailing about the backyard. I will spare the details by saying simply that if Hannah hadn’t realized what was happening and told me to take my shirt off I could have been a lot worse off.
I’m grateful for many things throughout this experience. First, I realize how fortunate I am that my injuries were not worse than they ended up. Since this has happened I’ve heard numerous horror stories regarding burns from so many of you that have put some perspective on my trauma. I’ve always been lucky and in this instance you might think that’s not so true but I argue that it was luck that has minimized my injuries and allowed me to heal quicker than doctors expected. Secondly, it has been unbelievable to see the amount of support, generosity, prayers, and outpouring of love from all of you. I’ve been absent from social media for so long for various reasons that I didn’t realize its power in moments like these. I must admit I personally would not have had the gumption to start a GoFundMe page. I’m not keen on asking for help even when I should. I must thank my Dad and Mom profusely for doing it for me and for keeping it up to date while in the hospital. I can’t think of a better way to keep people updated and to help us out financially. As it turns out your donations have been extremely beneficial to my recovery and to our personal finances which have never been so tumultuous. Lastly, I need to thank my unbelievable wife Hannah. I’ve really pushed the boundaries of “for better or worse" and “in sickness and health.” She has been put into a position of being nurse and caregiver as I had been left pretty helpless. She has been the most amazing help through my recovery process. Not to mention her trauma has been just as difficult in different ways. If she has been slow to respond or also as silent as I have, please know she very likely tending to my wounds or taking any moment she can to do for herself as she deserves. She’s had so many roles to fill throughout this process from helping me rip my flaming shirt off to hopefully soon helping me apply my last wound dressing, she has been there for every step. I don’t know what I did to deserve this angel in my life but I know I’ll spend the rest of my life finding a way to repay you for the selfless devotion you have shown to my recovery. I’m not always the best patient and I will also work the rest of my life to ensure I won’t have to recover from anything again. I know that’s unrealistic but I hope you know I would and will do the same for you.
Thank you all again for the support you’ve shown. I don’t know how I could have gotten through this without my friends and family. I couldn’t possibly thank everyone appropriately for their contributions to my recovery in this thread. As I make efforts to see you all in the coming months I hope to thank you on a more personal level. Don’t let me stop you from asking whatever you might need to wrap your heads around what happened. While I am getting a little tired of this topic dominating my life I know I owe you all some amount of explanations and I will oblige if you feel that way, just don’t expect me to bring it up. I love you all! I love you all. I love you all.

Love,
Brandon
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9-10-2018 7:15pm :

It has been a few days since I provided an update and I have had a few people reach out to ask how things are going.

First, let me say that Brandon is doing really well. It was just a huge boost to him to be able to come home and get out of the hospital. That by itself has probably done as much as anything to aid in his recovery.

He has had a few bumps along the way. A day or two after coming home he had a fainting spell. We attributed this to a low blood sugar and/or not eating enough rather than anything to do with his recovery. Shortly after this small fainting spell, he had his first post release check-up and the doctors concurred. In terms of that checkup, overall they are pleased with his recovery. The skin grafts have all been effective and his donor site has finally begun to heal over nicely and does not provide him nearly as much pain as it did early on. They are a little concerned with a couple of areas. One area is on his chest and the other is on his upper arm. There was some initial concern that he might need an additional skin graft but after some consultation, his doctors felt like these areas would heal without that but may require some additional time.

Cynthia continued to stay with Hannah and Brandon once he got back home, but after just a few days it was clear that Hannah had everything under control and they really were anxious for their lives to get back to some semblance of normal. Cynthia is now back home and she and I are stopping in a few times a week to check on progress and provide anything Brandon and Hannah may need.

Just a couple of days ago, Brandon had a goal of walking around the block with his dogs and was able to do that. He also felt good enough that he was able to ride with Hannah (and drive himself a short distance) to get his hair cut and allow Hannah to grocery shop.

His pain is much much better, but now it affects him in different ways. As the skin grafts heal, they tend to pull inwards and now the exercises to keep them stretched causes him pain in a different way. It is not the mind numbing pain he had during the hospital, but it is still notable.

Brandon has another post release follow up on Thursday and I will post another update after he gets the update from his doctors.

Once again each of you should know that the prayers, good thoughts, and donations have done so much to help. Your donations will REALLY start to help over the next few months. He received the initial hospital bill, and it is significant. He is still waiting for the bill from all the Doctors and the entire tally of charges for drugs, hospital, doctors, and follow up care. It will be a month or so before he and Hannah know whether they will qualify for any kind of aid to help offset costs but all of your contributions have helped and will continue to help as they get a clear picture of the overall costs.

We are looking at other ways we can help raise funds and many people have reached out with ideas and/or plans to help with that. If you have any suggestions or ideas, please feel free to reach out.

We are all so happy that he is healing and that he will be able to be back to 100%. It will just take some time to get completely healed but the overall outcome is so much better than it could have been. All of us are so grateful and humbled to everyone who has jumped in to help and offer prayers.

We are all so thankful and blessed to have such a nurturing and loving community supporting us. From the depths of all our hearts. THANK YOU!!
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Monday 8-27-2018 7:25am

Brandon was released from the Hospital on Saturday. They had told him that they would come in Saturday morning pull the rest of his staples, watch/advise Hannah as she unwrapped and rewrapped his wounds, and get his release order in place.

As luck would have it, there were a number of emergencies that took precedence so they weren't able to get to him until around 4:00pm. He was so happy to be released I think he would have skipped out of the hospital if he had been able to.

He has been home since his release. I think the fact that he is in a comfortable place with Hannah and his big dog Oliver is just the balm he needs to continue his recovery.

Although he is still in pain, it is tolerable and gets better every day. He is still hobbling around because of his donor site, but it is healing with no signs of infection.

Cynthia and Hannah are there to attend to him as needed. Cynthia is staying with them for a few more days and I'm coming into town and helping around the house and his business where I can.

He goes back for an outpatient checkup in about 9 more days, but I'm predicting that his walking will be back to normal and all wounds healing nicely. He knows that it will be another few weeks or so before he can get back to work and even then it will be only light stuff for a while, but he is doing great.

Brandon, Hannah, and the family can never tell you how much all of you have helped with Brandon's recovery. From prayers and well wishes to donations and acts of kindness we all know how blessed we are to have friends, family, business partners, employees, and colleagues that care so much. Words can never express the thanks we all hold in our hearts for each of you. It is completely humbling and we are so struck by this outpouring of love.
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Really great news and progress today! Yesterday the doctors wanted Brandon to allow the donor site and burns to be exposed and dry out a little. They removed a few staples yesterday and the pain was very bad. They returned today to evaluate his progress and told us that he was doing well enough to go home tomorrow.

They removed a large number of staples today and his pain was much reduced from yesterday. It seems that they are finally able to get his pain level down to a 4 or 5 out of 10 with only oral medications. It was so exciting for us to hear that he can go home tomorrow. His mother, Hannah, Brandon, and I are sooo excited!
This is the best news we have had in a while.

The doctors and nurses will be showing Hannah and Cynthia how to dress the wounds, how to change the dressings, and how to care for him from home. Cynthia is planning on staying at Hannah and Brandon's home for a while to help where she can.

Thanks for all the prayers, donations, and love all of you have sent his way. We are so thankful for everyone and everything. God is good and he watches over his children. Brandon and Hannah are such wonderful souls and so are all of you that have kept them in your prayers!
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$25,335 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 222 people in 12 months
Created August 15, 2018
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