'Screaming': Mum's heartbreak over burnt baby's nightmares
ONE THING frightening a Rocky mum more than anything as her baby boy leaves a Brisbane hospital is the way people will look at his burnt face.
Hunter Hall has already had nine surgeries since a boiling kettle fell on him, burning 12% of his body, but the pain and disruptions of years of surgery does not frighten mum Kerrie as much as "the way people will perceive him".
At only 18 months old, Hunter is not old enough to realise that his face, chest, and legs look different to two months ago before the accident.
But his mum vows to never allow him to worry about his scars.
"We are going to tell him and show him that it doesn't matter what other people think," she said.
"He's beautiful no matter what.
"But no matter what, he will get other people who judge him."
Kerrie and husband Mick were on the trip of a lifetime with their four children Haedin, 12, Cody, 10, Joel, six, and Hunter, 17 months, travelling from Rockhampton to Tasmania in a caravan.
They stopped at Gladstone, then Bundaberg, and Gympie, but it was at the Sunshine Coast's Landsborough on March 26 that the accident unfolded.
"We are never able to fix his face or the chest," she said. "But the hair will cover his head when it grows back."
Despite magazines and newspapers across Australia bombarding Kerrie with calls since the ordeal, there's parts of herself and her baby boy that are too traumatic to share, one of which is a photo of his severely burnt legs.
"I just don't feel that it is right," she said.
"It's just a photo you wouldn't want to put out there."
"It looks like a mown crater, bumps up and down."
Women's magazine That's Life asked her for a photo of Hunter sitting on her lap.
"I said, 'no', because this isn't a happy family right now," she said.
"We are getting happier."
"I think it's the way that hunter is reacting (that makes it difficult)."
Kerrie has slept by Hunter's bedside every night since the accident and is there to comfort him when he wakes up two to three times each night screaming. Kerrie said last night was particularly tough for Hunter as it was his first night out of Lady Cliento Hospital in the caravan.
"They think his dreaming, but they don't know what his dreaming about," she said.
"He just screams and makes sure someone is there, then he goes back to sleep. But, of course, last night mummy wasn't there beside him.
"I just hold his hand, give him his dummy back, and he goes back to sleep."
Stress of the ordeal has kept Hunter's average heart rate at about 140, well above the average for an 18-month-old of about 90. During his nightmare last night, Kerrie said it reached 180 and during surgery it was 220, but doctors have assured Kerrie there is no risk of a heart attack.
Burns on Hunter's face and chest redden in warmer temperature, which Kerrie said is happening more frequently as he is out of the air-conditioning of the hospital.
"But we are not going to keep him in an air-conditioned room for the rest of his life," she said.
"Everything can be overcome.
"If it doesn't break you it makes you stronger."
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