So after the emergency dash to A&E, and subsequent half a pharmacy worth of drugs, ointments, creams, gels and so on, you would forgive us for thinking that would be it, no more trouble, no more suffering, and the journey ending there. Hahaha yeah right!
The thing about eczema is it fools you into thinking you've cracked it (excuse the pun), beaten it, kicked it to the kerb, call it what you will. The truth, you can never truly beat eczema, you just have to learn all the possible ways of working alongside it to reduce the trauma (yes it really is trauma) to the skin, and hope for as little damage to be done with each flare up. The more damage, the longer it takes for the skin to recover, and the greater chance of severe infection. It is a huge learning curve (more like a line that goes straight up and never seems to curve over) and a monumental amount of trial and error, with no certainty with each experiment that it will actually work.
Every time you think you've found something that works well, there'll be something to unbalance the apple cart and set you back to square one. For anyone out there reading this, and thinking 'yes, I'm living this hell right now', please, don't give up hope! It seems like a huge black tunnel with absolutely no end in sight and a baby getting more sick as the days go by. I know how hard it is, and my god is it hard, but you will find a solution that does work better than all the others.....eventually!
Hang in there, you will always find support here. Just knowing that someone else is living/ has experienced it will help. We were pretty much on our own, with only family and friends supporting us. They were all beyond fantastic (thank you each and every one of you!!), and we simply couldn't have done it without them, but if you're not living the truly awful hell that we were experiencing, you can't truly appreciate how bad it was and still is.
There was one particular episode that sticks in my mind more than all the others..... it was 2 weeks after the horrific A&E experience where Callum's skin was red raw, the multitude of drugs had initially worked, but the eczema was creeping back and causing an increasing amount of discomfort in spite of everything we were doing. It was a whole life style change that we were going through, and somewhat bewildering!
This day in my mind, Callum had fallen asleep on our bed and had a half hour nap. When he woke up, he broke out in a massive reaction, weeping face, inconsolable, extreme discomfort, awful to witness. We immediately started running though every possible thing it could be in our heads.... were the sheets the ones now washed in fairy powder? (the gels/ liquids were no good and still caused a reaction) Was it dust on our clothes? Our deodorants? Aftershave? Perfume? Make up? Had the cat sat there? Was it actually us he was allergic to?
I can't even begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of pure guilt at it being our fault that he was reacting again, it was immense! Were we ever going to fix our poor boy or would it always be this bad?
We couldn't even change Callum without pinning him down to stop him scratching, just simple tasks that you take for granted with your baby became utterly heartbreaking!
The one bit of advice that we were initially given by Callum's dermatologist consultant was controversial but extremely effective. He suggested introducing a dummy as a means to help with distracting away from the constant itching/ wanting to scratch. Suddenly, instead of 10-20 minute power naps being interrupted by excessive scratching resulting in bleeding, Callum was able to sleep for longer stretches as he was distracted from it. This in turn gave him the much needed relief from the torture of his sore, raw,damaged skin, and he could finally begin the healing process.