Nine Months More

Dripping Wet

I didn’t sleep. I kept turning over the possibilities. The angst mounted. The baby bag was packed and waiting. The clothes for the next morning were laid out. It was an early start the next day and I wanted to be ready, in control.

Dripping wet

The Royal Children’s Hospital was a labyrinth of intimidation. Finding the right department and then the right room required GPS navigation. It felt like there was no air as we walked the halls. Each step we took made me feel more suffocated.

We were there for AJ.  At six months old, he was attending the eczema clinic.

The office we were ushered into was very small. The walls were lined with posters of children; swollen, red, disfigured from eczema reactions. Part of me couldn’t look. The other couldn’t turn away. AJ was red, raw and itching. But at the same time, he was excited about crawling on a new floor, in a new place.

The doctor who helped us was a thin, young, frail woman. Yet, her presence was only a shadow of her knowledge, conviction and confidence. Very quickly into the consult, I realised that this was more about us, than it was about AJ. Yes, she looked AJ over. Yes, she asked lots of questions. But this was about how we could help him. How we could change our ways to make this better for him.

Our appointment at the allergy clinic was in two weeks’ time. So she was happy to leave that part of his diagnosis to them. Then it began. The training. The advice. The do’s and do not’s. It was a barrage. I didn’t dare breathe. We had stepped onto a spinning merry-go-round and she was spinning it faster and faster.

Dripping wet

We had to dress him in less. Eczema babies were always hot. He needs to wear much less.
He can only wear cotton. Only cotton! Other fibres irritate the skin.
He can only use skin products that are fragrance free and natural. No soap.
He needs to be moisturised from head to toe, as often as we can, all day.
He cannot be dried after a bath, his skin needs all that moisture.
He will need steroids to call down the eczema.
He will need antibiotics to calm down the infection that has come from the eczema.

The list was endless.

“He’s not sleeping,” I muttered somewhere along the way.
“Of course he’s not,” she replied, smiling. “He is in pain and uncomfortable and going crazy from the itch.”

Then she stripped him. She asked me for another set of clothes, a romper if I had one. I pulled one out of the baby bag and handed it to her. With horror I watched. I watched her soak the romper in warm water and QV oil. Wring it out only a little, and promptly dress AJ. My jaw hit the floor! “What are you doing??!”

She almost laughed at my shock. “Once upon a time,” she said to me, “right here in this hospital the treatment for children with eczema was to tie their hands down so they wouldn’t itch. This is not as bad as that.”

Dripping wet

There was method behind her madness. AJ’s skin needed to be moist and cool and this was the best way to go about it. She expected us to keep doing this at home.

So as quickly as we came, we left. I wanted to find a toilet and throw up. Instead, we needed to find the Equipment Distribution Centre, somewhere in the basement of this labyrinth. The list of supplies we needed was long. My mind was in overload.

He is so wet.
He is going to catch a cold.
I am so wet.
How are we going to put him in the car?
How on earth was all this going to work?

Dripping wet

There we were, hubby carrying the baby bag and me carrying AJ. It was as if a bucket of water had been thrown over the three of us. There we stood dripping wet.

How do you cope with hospitals?

  • Workingwomenaus

    I’ve spent a lot of time in the RCH both as a patient and with my daughter. If you have to be anywhere, it’s a good place to be. Both of my children suffer eczema (a mild form) and I can feel your pain. Sometimes it’s the old-fashioned remedies that help them the most xx

  • Poor little fellow. I had really bad eczema one year and it was hell. I’ve never heard of this treatment. I hate going to hospital. The waiting, the sterile smell, other people’s pain…

  • Sophie Allen

    It is very intimidating when it all new, but luckily it does get a bit easier once you have it managed. We still have flareups, but it is mostly due to diet more then anything. I was told to dress him as normal and then always take one layer off, including bed sheets. Also to smoother with cream, two diff types, one for when he comes out of the bath to lock in the coolness, and another for during the day to get him cool.

  • BossyMummy

    It must be so tough for a baby (and his Mumma) to go through this. Hospitals – particularly outpatient departments aren’t the mos inviting places. I think staff forget how initimidating the places can be – the smells, the noises and the over medicalised manner of some of the staff can make them seem quite a cold place. . I have worked in several, so have no problem with them, but would rather not have to visit them 🙂

  • Poor little man. :(. I hate hospitals, the smell gets me every time. They make me feel sick. Though I did manage to have both kids in a hospital, but it felt different being there for that reason rather than visiting someone who is I’ll.

  • Rhianna

    Oh my goodness, you poor thing. I have never had to cope with hospitals in terms of my children. Thank goodness. I spent enough time there with dad in his last years that I hope never to need spend that much time there again

  • Oh there is nothing more worrying than if there is something wrong with one your kids. It must have been very scary being bombarded with information and then seeing him dressed in wet clothes! My first thought would have been that he’d catch a cold too! Lots of information to absorb. How can you dampen clothes though in winter? So confusing for you. I hope all the tricks and tips work for you and AJ. xo

    • the wet clothes was something we had to do for a long time – regardless of the season 🙁 Winter was especially hard, for me more so than AJ I think xx

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    G’s first trip to hospital was by ambulance after having convulsions. I was much calmer in the hospital than I was at home, at least there were people there who knew what they were doing. They’re con comfortable places, but I am so grateful to live in a country where medical care is easily available xx

    • that must have been horrible!! we have only done one ambulance trip and I hope we don’t have to do another! I agree wholeheartedly, living here is the best possible place to be for medical care xx

  • I’m rare in that I actually like hospitals, don’t know why, I just do. Anyway, just wanted to say that it’s great that you and the wee one are being well looked after and are getting the latest treatments. I’ve had eczema but the children haven’t and for that I am bloody grateful. Hope the allergies appointment goes well.

  • littlebirdlittlebee

    That sounds like a lot to take in in one trip. We’ve been fortunate enough not to have to take many trips with the kids. The worst by far was my poor asthmatic daughter waking me in the middle of the night gasping and sobbing that she couldn’t breathe. Mostly, I am calm in the middle of a crisis.

  • Oh wow! I had no idea that they would do something like that.
    Maybe you just need to move to Darwin? The weather is always moist here 🙂

  • Oh love that must have been so hard, I’m sure you’ve been to eczema.org.au and googled like a madwoman. I hope you find the right combination to soothe your poor little man.

    I cope ok with hospitals, depending on where in the hospital I am. I can’t do emergency with all the sick, undiagnosed and possibly contagious people but wards and specialists offices are ok.

  • Kevin

    Hang in there. It’s hard when there really is something wrong and you realise the impact it is going to have on you everyday. Though not nearly as bad, we had to modify things for eczema – was a nightmare initially but became ‘normal’

  • Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    Man that must be tough to live with, for all of you. But I bet you have got it all worked out now right?! I’ve spent time in and out of hospitals as my son had/has a kidney issue, nothing serious we hope, and something he will grow out of. But they are such an emotional place to be and when I’m there I’m so grateful my son is not like those poor sick children who are being treated for major illnesses such as the big C. Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    • Thanks Emily, AJ seems to be right on track with his eczema – rocky start – but all worth it now xx

  • Kate

    I hate hospitals, I hate the way they smell and the way they feel. But I deal with it by knowing that the people who work their know what they are doing. But that must have been so hard, your very strong! xx

  • I hate hospitals, the smell, the sounds, the food, everything about them.

    Gorgeous pics Josefa, perfect way to illustrate a very hard story.

  • Housewife in Heels

    My 2 year old is affected by eczema, although we’ve not had to resort to wet clothes yet. I’ve always looked to the diet to help manage it, although it’s hard trying to identify problem foods. Unfortunately, it’s worse now with the heat- and even worse now that he can articulate the discomfort. I hope you find your cure (and then please tell me what it is) x

    • I’ll be sure to keep writing AJ’s story and how we all learnt how to cope – not sure about a cure though – that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

  • bodyandfeetretreat

    I am so sorry to hear that you, hubby and AJ are going through this – my heart goes out to you all. I don’t do hospitals very well and thankfully we didn’t have to go there too often when K was little.
    Wishing you good results !
    Have the best day that you can.
    Me

  • Loreee

    That must have been a terrible experience. I don’t think I cope very well in hospitals. My first instinct is to run.

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