Skin part one

My baby had a respiratory infection so in a minor panic I took him to the hospital. I had been alone with the two boys for the first time and after 4 days when his breathing went bad, on a Sunday (so typical), I packed my 2 year old and my almost one year old in the car and went to Accident & Emergency.

Yes, respiratory and here, we’ll give him this medicine and you take this script and he’ll be ok till you see the doctor on Monday. We went back home and that is when the trouble started…

A neighbour came to visit and see how I was going. This is when we still had the fabulous man living in the house next doors and we used to help each other out with the shopping and all that “neighbourly” stuff.

“Oh, your little fella seems to be getting spots love” I looked and saw in utter disbelief, massive welts starting to form all over his little body. My heart fell to the floor as I was fighting the urge to scream “WHY ME!” and my brain went into overdrive. OK, too hot to take my 2 year old out again, he will be cranky and I can’t cope with two at the hospital again. One year old, still happy and playing but looking like he is going to explode out of his skin….

“Look, I’ll stay with your boy and you take the little tyke to the Hospital” my dear neighbours voice pushed its way through my befuddled mind. “Are you sure? Thank you so much! He’ll show you what he needs…”

“Go get him better!” And off I went.

The triage nurse spotted the problem before the sliding doors opened at A&E. She swept us straight in past the waiting crowd and settled him on a bed as she grabbed the Doctor away from what she was doing.

“What caused this?” She said as she looked him over, some of the welts already turning into bruises. I told her we had been in not an hour before and that the other doctor gave him an antibiotic called Cephalexin. “Well, he is obviously allergic to this” and off she went to treat his reaction. I watched in total relief as there were no more welts forming, but his poor skin….

The doctor left me with the words still ringing in my ears to this day ” This is the best baby rash I’ve ever seen!”.

I don’t “hear” this as an insult or a jab at my parenting though. I see it as having provided this Doctor with a valuable lesson about the unusual. Every new doctor, nurse or health worker we can educate just by being present and explaining, is someone who can potentially diagnose another ED child. Just think of the anguish we can alleviate for others, yet un-diagnosed, by educating the people who might see them after us.

With love & support

Tarja Kelly

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3 Responses to “Skin part one”


  1. 1 DIANE MORRIS HOLSTON 27/03/2010 at 11:31 am

    My son was in and out of ER for so many things the first 2 yrs…the rashes were only a small part. Xavier dont get painful rashes but turns a purpley splochy color, or a splochy red rash, or small welts that dont seem bothersom.
    At anyrate…..what i got OVER AND OVER with rashes,fevers,siezures,constant respitory infections….was the same answer…………VIRAL!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH i wanted to scream from hearing that damn word everytime!! I knew it was more than viral,but they wouldnt listen to a mom!!!!! GRRRRRrrrr

    • 2 tarjakelly 27/03/2010 at 12:13 pm

      Yes, that is the biggest grudge I hear over and over, WHY will they not listen to the mother? Well, once I really thought about it, I realised that I am only one voice of 2000 who walk in the door at the hospital day in and day out. After a while all complaints would start to sound the same and the brain can turn it into white noise. What I did then (and it took me 4 long and frustrating years to perfect) was find a way of telling the “profession” what I felt was wrong, in a language which was respectful to them. A language which showed I had understanding for their information overload. A way of getting through to them that I want to assist them by filling in the gaps rather than relying on them to do the diagnosing from scratch. Patience and calm were the key and now the hospital and our family have a mutual respect for each other. I wish you all the best Diane. xx Tarja

      • 3 DIANE MORRIS HOLSTON 27/03/2010 at 1:24 pm

        Well, I am in medical profession,I know how to talk with them and the plain fact is…..they didnt want to think “outside”the box. I was actually asked why I wanted my kid to be sick. guess that is small town for ya.
        I love this voice you have given everyone. This is so great to talk with others and hear their stories….thanks so much


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