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Through the Fire and Flames (Literally): A Fan Story

After the last week of new weekly Rock Band DLC, we asked fans to send us their stories about Rock Band to share with the community. This story is from @RockBand Twitter follower @julissajm about using Rock Band to recover from a terrible injury.

It was an early December morning in 2008 when a grease fire ignited in my parents’ kitchen. Since the fire was coming from a frying pan I figured it was safe to carry the pan (while it was on fire) outside and let the snow put out the flames.

My thought process was, “Well, people do stupid things with fire all the time on YouTube and they end up being OK. I’m just trying to save my parents home, so I’ll be just fine."

Good news: I saved the house. Bad news: As I carried the frying pan (remember, it’s on fire) outside, my left hand and feet suffered 2nd degree burns from the hot oil and fire.

Have I mentioned that the fire was my fault? Yeah, never leave a pan full of hot oil unattended.

I came back from the hospital traumatized. I couldn’t sleep knowing what might’ve happened if the fire had spread. So what did I do on those long, sleepless, winter nights - play Rock Band.

My skin’s texture was not unlike that of a crispy slice of cheese pizza. There was no elasticity and if I tried to bend my knuckles a deep sharp pain traveled all the way to my upper arm. This made playing the guitar in Rock Band a very excruciating experience (imagine getting stabbed in your hand every time you played a correct note on the guitar).

My left hand had to relearn how to play the plastic guitar. I started out on Easy, slowly tapping the notes with my fingers. My song of choice was “Rebel Girl.” There is just no greater line than “In her kiss, I taste the revolution.”

And that’s how those nights went. I’d play a song on Easy, stopping to dip my damaged hand into a pot of cold water to numb the pain. I’d shake it off and continue.

Slowly, I started regaining strength back in my hand. I moved up to Medium and finally made the triumphant return to Hard. It still hurt to play but as my dead skin fell off and my new skin grew in, I knew I had to keep my hand moving if I wanted to improve elasticity of my skin.

Along with my physical health returning back to normal, so was my mental health. What started out as playing 15 or 20 songs in a row before I could sleep turned into 3 or 4 songs. The thoughts of the fire didn’t haunt me as much as it did in the beginning.

My hand was finally back in action! I was rocking it on Hard and even felt comfortable playing the drums.

This incident was the first (and only) major injury that’s happened to me. I am glad I had Rock Band to rock with me through the healing process.