Monday, January 31, 2011

The eczema trail continues...

Last weekend, Max and I watched the snowstorm of the winter from the hospital window, the sky white around the fuzzy yellow lights, the cars sliding and spinning their wheels in the parking lot, the plows worked away through the night. Max had been admitted for a skin infection. His eczema we have been battling had apparently made a freeway for a germ, making his rash exponentionally worse over the couple weeks since Christmas.

Maxwell last week.
My last post, starring our boy Max on his 'half-birthday', was taken despite the whole-body rash, as I decided this might be our new normal. It was a bit of an odd pick for my this moment post, but he had just learned to sit up that day and was enjoying a happy moment, something that had been so rare through the last few weeks. The poor guy was so sore and upset, despite our best efforts only his little nose was rash free. We were feeling at the end of our rope, not sure what to do to help him. Two days later, after nearly two weeks of sleepless nights for both Max and us, feeling like the appointment we had made with our family doctor would never arrive, we went to emergency. There we happened upon a pediatrician who sent us to the pediatric wing of the hospital an hour away that afternoon.

Four days and nights of cream dosings, antibiotics, tylenol, and wet dressings later (a technique I had never heard of but am now a huge fan of, where baby gets moisturized then put to bed in wet jammies, waking up in the morning to dry jammies with lovely moist and more clear skin), we brought home a relatively rash-free and much happier and well-rested Maxwell. Mommy was also much happier and well-rested. 
A much happier Max this week.
I have pictures of the whole event on my cell phone (happy pictures, of a really cute baby in hospital pyjamas making steady progress), but unfortunately the cell phone has sprouted legs (perhaps 2 year old legs named Claire?) and walked off at the moment. Hopefully, those pictures will follow. (Found it! In Claire's toy puppy kennel of course, why wouldn't that be the first obvious place to look?)

Starting to look so much better!

Calling Doctor Max...

Now that he was really starting to feel better, we got downright bored. With all the lotion in it combined with his hair that had rubbed off on the sides, Max had one mighty fine mohawk.

Rocking the do.
I stayed with Max, of course, which was strange and good all at the same time. It took three days for the nurses to realize the hospital feeds moms of breastfed patients, making my life a little difficult. It took two days for me to stop being an anxious jerk. And it was so quiet, Max and I missed everyone and our busy house very much. But at the same time, as the fourth babe, Max has never enjoyed so much of my undivided attention. And having a bit of quiet time was undoubtedly good to remind myself that although it's my baby so it's a huge deal to me, it's comparitively a very small, manageable health issue we're lucky to be dealing with and I would do well to be thankful. Around day two, I felt my shoulders begin to relax as Max showed signs of improvement. I tried (am still trying) to shoo away my admonitions about the drugs being used on my baby, with a dose of realism that I don't have a better answer, that Max couldn't live the way things were, that the chemical cocktail was the very thing making my baby feel better, sleep, play.

Back home, enjoying his built in entertainers, an act we appreciate all the more now.

As we were bringing Max out of the hospital though, I couldn't help but feel nervous. I was reminded of the day we emerged from the hospital with our newborn Thane, our firstborn, the anxious moment of taking this delicate bundle away with us. Would all the strides Max had made be undone at our house? Our dusty wood-heated renovation project with cats and a busy mom who doesn't clean enough?

A little Vitamin D and Grammie love can make a guy feel better.
My awesome mom and sister and a friend came to the rescue to help me clean the house from top to bottom and catch up on laundry (which prompted Troy to point out there was a strong argument for polegamy), attempting to at least start from a good, hopefully healthy environment. We're so lucky my mother-in-law came up this week as well, helping us a great deal in getting back in the swing of things. We reluctantly returned one cat (the one that is twice as big and sheds like crazy) to the vet where we had originally got the two cats from in the fall. I know, sacrilege to the pet owners out there. And we took notice of the humidity in our house (or lack of rather, not registering on the barometer) and installed a humidifier on our furnace. The central vac is on it's way soon, to make dustbusting easier and hopefully therefore more frequent. Max now sports a new hazelwood necklace, supposed to bring his skin from acidic to alkaline (a state that doesn't support disease). In the very least, it's cute as hell.

Even before the hospital visit, I had upped my vitamin B's, omega 3's, water, and probiotics intake, hoping to help Max's skin recoup. We've addressed soaps and laundry detergent already, and didn't use scented or extraneous products to begin with. We had begun acupuncture appointments for Max before the hospital visit (a non-needle kind of allergy therapy).

Despite all this, there have definitely been flare-ups. The rashes on his little face especially, where I don't put as much hydrocortisone, will flare up and go away several times a day. If I stop applying the hydrocortisone twice a day, it comes back all over quite quickly, although with close care it's definitely a thousand times better than before. It's quite mysterious.


My ray of hope that we won't have to just wait until he grows out of it or settle in with it for the long run?


I hold on to the belief that we are what we eat. While I definitely took an unhealthy nosedive in the food department this week (I'll chalk it up to stress?), I've called to make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor recommended to me. While a little slow to get to this step, not sure of who to call since we haven't had to make that connection yet here, I had a hopeful conversation with a couple of new friends about the success they've had with this doctor and diet changes. One had a similar story with her breastfed baby boy, eczema from four to seven months, to be cured in one week by eliminating wheat from her diet, a success story I've read so often. Food allergies, candida overgrowth, ph imbalance - I'm not sure where the problem lies, but I'm hoping we can pin it down. To quote a facebook friend of mine (I'll give her the indirect credit because I'm not sure who she was quoting), "The evidence for nutritional therapy is becoming so strong that if the doctors of today don’t become nutritionists, the nutritionists will become the doctors of tomorrow."

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'll also keep searching for that cellphone with my pictures that's gone MIA? 

For good measure, I'll leave you with one more picture of my boy who's wrung my heart out so often lately. Sleeping in Mommy's arms, because nowhere else will do when you're not feeling so good.

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