It was near death by chocolate.
An Illinois woman feared she’d never see again after molten chocolate exploded in her face during a confection-making session gone awry.
“Going from having the perfect vision to the next day being told I could be blind for the rest of my life was the scariest thing I have ever been through and I couldn’t wrap my head around it,” Samantha D’Aprile, 19, told Jam Press of the freak accident.
The coco-filled catastrophe occurred in December 2021 while the Illinois student was baking cookies with her mom. However, her cooking attempt literally blew up in her face: without warning, the pot of boiling chocolate exploded, leaving her with severe burns all over her face like napalm.
D’Aprile said it felt like someone had put fire to her eyes, which had, by that point, started to swell shut. Hoping to quell the agony, the pained scholar ran to the sink and poured water over her peepers, but to no avail.
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D’Aprile’s mom rushed her to the hospital, only to discover that they didn’t specialize in burns, after which she was forced to endure two hours of agony sans any help or painkillers.
The burn victim was eventually transferred to another facility in Chicago. “I was in so much pain that my body started to shut down, they gave me morphine which helped the pain and I could breathe again,” the terrified college student described. “When I arrived at the hospital they rushed me right away to a room and did all sorts of treatments and tests on me.”
She added, “At this point, my eyes were swollen shut, I couldn’t open my mouth because that was also burnt shut, and I was very high on all these medications.”
D’Aprile’s first night was especially “brutal” as she couldn’t sleep. On the rare occasion that she did manage to get some shut-eye, nurses would wake her up to apply eye drops, a process the poor gal described as “very painful.”
In order to make sure she could still function with her eyes swollen shut, the hospital enlisted a blind specialist to teach her how to walk around, use the bathroom, and do other simple tasks she previously took for granted.
While she was still unable to see, D’Aprile was sent home after two days, although she still had to go into the hospital for regular tests.
Nonetheless, the Illinois resident wondered if she’d ever be able to see again. “Each day went by with me sitting in bed with my eyes shut,” she said. “I was going crazy on the fact that I saw blackness and there was nothing I could do to fix it.”
On the third day of being effectively blind, D’Aprile underwent an eye exam by her doctor, who wanted to see if she could still see.
That’s when the physician dropped the bombshell. “He described my eyes as if someone took a razor and slit both of them,” D’Aprile described. “I also had an 80% chance of being color blind because my cornea was so damaged.”
She was devastated by the news. “When I found out my vision was almost gone, I said to the doctors I didn’t want to live anymore,” she said.
“I was in such a dark place and I was going crazy for the few days I couldn’t see,” lamented D’Aprile. “I couldn’t picture the rest of my life like that.”
Thankfully, there was light at the end of the tunnel. After five days of darkness, D’Aprile woke up on Christmas day and pried upon her eyes, whereupon she discovered that she could finally see again — a development the doctor deemed miraculous.
“The doctor said that what saved my vision was me running to the sink and splashing my face with water immediately after the explosion,” D’Aprile described. “He also said that the fact I could see colors was a miracle, he couldn’t understand it.”
Two weeks after the incident, the patient was able to read, drive, look at electronics, and all the other sight-based activities she used to be able to do. Her eyes were also less and less painful each time she opened them.
Now, more than a year on from her ocular near-death by chocolate, D’Aprile says her vision is completely back to normal — even though her mental scars remain.
“I get panic attacks about the accident but have learned to cope with it and what certain triggers are,” she said. “I used to be super rebellious and never an overthinker, but now I don’t usually do anything out of my comfort zone and I am a lot more grounded.”
Ultimately, D’Aprile says she is a “work in progress.” All it takes is time to heal so I know it will get better with the mental factors but the accident is still relevant and I just need to be easier on myself and realize that this is all normal and a part of the healing process,” she said. “My plans for the future are to finish school and get a good job in marketing, but mainly to live each day to the fullest and make the most memories with my friends and family.”
In July 2021, a UK woman’s attempt to cook eggs using a viral TikTok hack backfired horribly after the experiment egg-sploded in her face, leaving her with a “poached face.”
This article was originally posted by The New York Post.