I first realize Amir’s rosy cheeks when he was 3 months old. I thought it was cute. A small pinkish patch on both side of his cheeks. It seemed so harmless at first. But after a few weeks, he started to get red patches on his cheek, then the back of his head, then at his legs and soon patches of red appeared on his entire body. I could tell that he was very itchy. He will always try to scratch himself every chance he gets. We tried putting mittens on but sometimes the mittens will come off on its own by the constant rubbing against his skin.
Apart from that, he can’t really sleep at all. He will wake up every 1 or 2 hour screaming and crying. We tried our best to console him, singing to him, holding him until he gets too tired to cry anymore and falls asleep again. Only to wake up hours later. The following morning, he’ll be too grumpy to play. To moody to do anything and just cries at times. It was even hard to see a glimpse of smile from him.
The situation got worst when he scratches himself till he bleeds. It could bleed even with his nail already cut short. This usually happens while he was sleeping. Or when we’re not watching him closely enough. So we decided to swaddle him hoping that his hands can’t reach his face. But this only made the situation get worse. Swaddling the baby makes him warm. Children suffering with eczema can’t get too warm or his eczema will just get worse.
We put on moisturizers after moisturizers on him. Different brand different creams, alternative organic medicine on his eczema. But it’s just a temporary relief for him. It flares up from time and time again. We blame it on the dry weather. Our asian genetics. Our everything. We basically felt like the worst parents of the year. Nothing we do seems to work.
We went to the GP a few times. They prescribe us with some steroid base products to be put on his face and body. We were reluctant at first but we had no choice but to use it. At first, things got a little better but it could only suppress his eczema momentarily. By the time we’ve used this, Amir already has scratch marks/scars (sometimes fresh cuts) at the back of his head and on his legs. This in turn soon made Amir’s condition heading towards a steep downturn.
It appeared as rashes or little bumps first seen on his knees and on the back of his bad, it looked like baby acne. I even googled looking at pictures and thought it was the same harmless thing on my baby son skin. Convincing myself that it’s not something that I should be worried about. But I totally got it wrong. One morning, while changing his nappie, Ayu realized that these little rashes spread all over his legs and some at the back of his head in an overnight. Sensing something wrong, Ayu told me to immediately go the emergency department. And so we went.
We arrived at Royal Childrens Hospital on a Thursday morning. I must say that it was a long wait. Amir was getting really restless as the time goes by. When we finally got called, it was to meet the triage nurse. A triage nurse in my understanding is someone who assesses the level of medical attention that is needed for a patient. Whether it’s an urgent case or otherwise. Apparently, she didn’t think it was an emergency situation. What she did though is applied wet dressings to Amir’s arms & legs and even his body (for his eczema). Up to this point, I thought it was normal to wrap up ones body with wet dressings with bandages and what not. But to my dismay, when we finally met a dermatologist, she quickly got into a fit asking who wrapped up this poor baby’s body? You just have to put on a wet t-shirt on it. Putting bandages over the body only aggravates him.
They took swabs of the rashes from his head. Sent it to the lab. And made us wait into a small cubicle in the emergency department. And so we waited and waited and waited and the results was that those little bumps were infact were growing staph. In layman terms, it’s an infection. It’s where the normal bacteria from our skin enters the wounded area and grow. Remember I told you about Amir’s scratch marks? Yeah, that was ground zero.
Again. We felt like the worst parent of the year if not of the century.
Poor little Amir had to be warded for a few days. Applied wet dressings on his head, body, arms and legs every 6 hours. Been given antibiotics 4 times a day. I have to say that it’s the most saddest, upsetting experience seeing your child sick and unwell. Ayu mentioned that things could get worse if the infection transmit into the bloodstream. By then, it could be too late. I shudder even to think about it.
But while we were in the hospital. I could see that Amir personality change a whole deal. Suddenly, I could see this little angel of mine smiling at me. At us. His mom and dad! I could see him looking at us with full of curiosity again. We hear him tries to talk to us over and over again with his cute baby talk. It’s like a different baby altogether. “This is the real Amir,” Ayu said. I couldn’t agree more. I am happy seeing him recovering not only from his infection but his whole joyful personality as well.
The other thing that I would to say is I would like to thank Ayu’s friend especially Aliya, Sue, Wahyuna, Intan, Albi & Ainis for visiting us. Seeing Amir. Cheering him up. Cheering us up. For taking the trouble cooking our food. Even cleaning our house while we were in the hospital (Thanks so much Aliya & Sue). Everything was too overwhelming for us but you guys were there and help us lessen the burden. We will never forget what you guys had done for us. We’re lucky to be friends with you. I wish we could one day return the kindness that you have shown to us.
We got out from the ward on Saturday afternoon. The doctor gave us prescription for antibiotics and some creams for Amir’s eczema. Wet dressings, bandages the whole lot. At this point, we were told that the eczema was cause by external core factors. Implying that it could be house dust mite, detergent or anything that comes contact with the skin. So as soon as we got home, I immediately went out to to buy those hypoallergenic mattress protector, pillow, pillow case, quilts and new bed sheets and even bought a new vacuum(with HPA filter) to clean the house free from dust. Believing that this was the answer to everything.
We really really thought that it was the end of our woes. But little that we know…