WARNING* Photos included in this post are medically graphic and may cause you to freak the fuck out. Proceed with caution.
I’ve chatted a little bit online about what Minty has been through this year, but I haven’t shared images of her head until now.
Everything started January 31st this year. The reason I’m chatting about it, is people often ask why I haven’t blogged for a while and why I’ve not been online as much.(Plus Instagram doesn’t show my posts anymore THANKS IG) The truth is, It’s a combination of things. Minty’s infection was pretty severe. And I don’t think even I realised the amount of pressure it put on us all. It’s something that she(and us) will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Her hair won’t grow anymore than it has now, and the scaring has left the spot very dry and very bumpy and uneven. It’s very sensitive to touch and even her hair not on the spot is now sensitive.
Just last week we went in for a quick appointment because her ‘patch’ as she now calls it(she used to call it Rhondo), started to form little pus spots. I took her straight to the dermatologist(who BTW are amazing, and have been so helpful through all of this) and they took some swabs and scrapings as well as hair from the area for testing. She has to have some cultures done which apparently takes a month but the dr called to let me know that she has a staph infection which is not too serious right now, but because of what she went through, we have to treat a bit more seriously with antibiotics and a prescription cream. Originally Her patch started with pus spots and what looked like cradle cap, so my anxiety is sitting under the surface buzzing and trying not to break through and I am trying to remain calm. The pain she went through was unbelievably bad. I don’t ever want her to go through that again.
I want to share what she went through, because it might help you understand where I went and where my brain went. Steve and I also separated this year in March, so we have been dealing with all of this as well as the separation and even though it’s not really an important issue compared to everything else, my laptop that was like 1-year-old died of a mysterious liquid, so blogging was the last thing I was going to be able to do. But I am hoping to write more now I have finally got a new laptop because you guys help me get through so much even though I have never met most of you. Some of you have been here since I was pregnant with Minty, and I know that I am super connected to people I follow online, and like any relationship, we are all in this together and you really support me in times when I have needed it most and for that I am grateful and want you to know you helped me though all this.
Jan 31st 2017….The day I spotted her patch.
Minty and Iggy went to the beach and they were sitting on the couch having an icy pole and I noticed Minty’s hair was missing. I asked her if she shaved it, she replied with “i don’t even know how to shave” haha fair enough. I even posted to my Instagram asking people if their 4-year-old had ever got cradle cap, because that’s what it looked like. everyone’s answers were all so different so I took her to the dr. He said it looked like psoriasis and gave her some clear gel looking stuff that just stung the shit out of her head.
Her head started to get quite sore to touch, and I just stopped the clear stinging liquid and about 4-5 days after her head started to form little pus spots. She was a bit low on energy as well .
The next day the pus spots started to leak and she had a temperature because her little body was obviously trying to burn off an infection. I took her back to the doctor and while we waited to see a dr., I saw a friend and as we chatted Minty fell asleep on my lap. It was 11am. Minty hasn’t had a day sleep for ages so I knew she wasn’t feeling well.
We went in and the dr took one look at her head and took her temperature and gave her antibiotics to take right away and sent us straight to the hospital. We had a note to give to the hospital but a nurse saw us straight away and before we could even sit down and wait, a Dr had come out to get us. I knew it was serious when the hospital saw us that quick. The dr was so lovely and told us it appeared to be both a fungal and bacterial infection, but the type of infection it was, wasn’t super common, especially in kids. It took him quite a long time to find a medicine that he could give to her. There is only one liquid available for this infection and it cost $200 a bottle. She would need about 2-3 bottles before we see any sort of improvement. She had to stay on antibiotics until our gp had results from his swab test.
We were instructed to keep Minty away from everyone. No kindy. No trips to the grocery store. No dog cuddles. No human contact apart from myself and Steve. And every time we touched her or she touched us, we all had to wash hands and use hand sanitizer. I had to wash the sheets and pillow cases and doona cover every single day. We had to keep the house sterile. And being the hottest summer ever, the dogs coats were shedding more the ever before. She practically lived in the bath. I wasn’t allowed to put anything on the infection apart from water, and I had constantly wash any puss away. About 4 days later she woke up to her head just leaked pus constantly and I couldn’t keep it clean enough, so we went back to the dr. He saw us immediately and when he saw her head he rang the dermatologist for an emergency appointment and they said she could come in the following day after hours because it was a full house of appointments. Dermatologists are notoriously hard to get into to see straight away so we were so grateful they took her in that quickly.
The difference in a day was quite severe. And even the dermatologist looking over her photos said it was becoming infected quite quickly. He read over her swab report and funnily for how bad it was, there was no sign of bacteria. It was purely fungal and seriously contagious. But he took more sample and all he did wa a gentle swab test, and Minty still to this day is traumatized by it. The pain was that intense a cotton swap was painful. He asked if we had any small animals like guinea pigs or rats or bunnies…I kinda laughed because we have two giant dogs and Coco has eaten possums and bandicoots who are silly enough to fall in our yard. He stopped me, and said “seriously? the dog eats possums” and I replied with “I’m not joking, the big beast will kill any small animal or bird or anything that gets in her way” he asked us to get the dogs tested for fungal infections, and Steve took them to the vet, but they were checked over and the vet said if you hadn’t mentioned Minty’s infection there would be no way we would think they had any sort of infection like that, but they took samples to send off but it would be 2 weeks before the results came back. The vet was pretty sure they didn’t have anything though. His thoughts on where the infection came from is that maybe Coco ate a rodent or possum or something that was carrying the infection and has licked Minty and transmitted it that way. We had to cut all Cocos fur off, because she was shedding so much I couldn’t keep the house sterile enough. Luckily we were about to leave her wooly double coat about an inch of fur on, so she remained cool in summer.
We asked all our local chemists if anyone had an infection like this and no-one in our area had anything like it. They had to special order her medicine because it was so uncommon. The dr got her to have steroids along with her fungal medicine. He wanted her to come back in a week. I had minty in the bath about 3-4 times a day to wash the pus off and to keep her clean. Each bath would take about 45mins-1 hour to clean. I had to try to get the hair out of all the gunk and i had to do it 1 strand at a time. The pain was horrific for her and she was so brave. She would cry the entire time in pain, but she would never move. She let me do what I had to do, and I had her trolls soundtrack on so we could sing, but it was so horrible for her. My pain was not good. She would only let me wash her and her patch because Steve was a bit too rough with man hands, and I am excellent in emergencies and medical issues so it didn’t gross me out and I was able to make her smile and keep her distracted while I cleaned it. Her head seemed to be forming a scab, and I thought it was getting better. I took her to her appointment, and the dr said ‘the scab’ was not intact a scab. It was hardened hair with pus and it had to come off. He told me I had to cut all her hair off because the hair was just getting stuck in the infection and it wouldn’t heal if she didn’t get all that hardened hair off. He said I wouldn’t be able to take her to a hairdresser because the infection was too contagious so it would be up to be to cut it all off. Luckily i did a year of hairdressing 😉 He gave us some strong pain killers to give her and said I would have to get her to soak in a warm bath for a while and I would just have to gently get the hardened hair off. It was pretty crucial the hair came off the infection.
The pain she was in was horrible. Just me gently pouring water on the spot would make her cry and scream in pain. So I knew it was going to be a very intense night for her. I cut all her hair off. Short enough that it wouldn’t reach her patch. Around the infection I cut it super short. Like it was shaved. She looked gorgeous of course, but it’s quite hard to cut someones hair off when they didn’t ask you to cut it off. It’s just hair of course, but I did have some quiet tears alone in my car about everything she was going through and even as I write this I am super emotional about it. I took a photo of her with her short hair and she looked so beautiful but I knew that, that night when I had to soak off the hair to clear it all up it would be so horrific for her.
WARNING…THIS NEXT IMAGE IS CONFRONTING.
After we had dinner that night, I chatted to Minty again that Mummy had to soak off all the yucky stuff on her patch and that I was going to be as gentle as I can but we had some medicine for her to help make it not hurt too bad.
She got in the bath and I closed the door. I popped her tolls music on and gave her the strong pain killers. We sang some songs while she floated in the bath soaking her head. The doctor had given me some fungal wash to pop on to help soften everything and it did really help to make the area soft. after about half an hour I changed the water in the bath so it was all fresh and warm. Every bath, 3-4 times a day, I would always have to clean the bath making it sterile as well as wash her towels after each wash in boiling water and fungal laundry wash. So once her head was nice and soft and her pain killers seemed to make her drowsy, I knew I had to started wiping away everything. She just cried non stop for about an hour. I gave her little breathing times when it became too intense for her, but even though the pain was just so full on for her she barely moved once, and let me do what I needed to do. Resiliance is strong in this kid. No one would have handled this like she did and I will never forget it. It took me about an hour and a half to wipe everything off. The pain I had in my back from leaning over for that length of time was so full on yet I just pushed through it because her pain was so bad. Its funny how much your own pain just gets a back seat when your child is in so much pain.
I called Steve in to show him what was revealed underneath it all and in the mirror his words were ‘wow Minty it looks so much better now you’re so brave’ but his face went white. He had to leave straight away because it was confronting and he didn’t want her to see his reaction obviously.
I got Minty out of the bath and she was exhausted and couldn’t even walk her little legs were shaking. My back was gone. My pain has always meant its hard for me to lift the kids, but I just couldn’t bare to see her so pale and shaking so much and simply lifted her up for a cuddle. Steve appeared out of no where and took her from me because he knew I would not be able to walk with her even though she is super light and tiny. We came out to the couch and got her in her pj’s and she really wanted to see what her patch looked like. I told her its very very red but thats exactly what its meant to look like. She looked at photos of her head each day. I would always hesitate showing her because its super hard for us to look at, so I would stress it would fuck her up, but its her head and she wanted to see it and not once was she wigged out about it. But showing her this was a whole different ball game. I showed it to her ready for her to break down and she said “oh wow it looks so much cleaner now” fuck man what a hero child. This kid didn’t even flinch looking at it but when I text it to my mum she couldn’t stop crying and when I showed my dad he rang me in a panic and told me to go back to the hospital.
I sent a message to the dermatologist to make sure that this was all normal because it was so full on and they assured me it was meant to look like that and that I did a great job getting it so clean.
Within 3 days her patch started to shrink, the steroids really helped the inflammation. She had a little bit of a hiccup about a month later with what they think was a secondary infection and had to go on some adult medication which was horrible because they were tablets and didn’t come in liquid form, but she improved a lot.
She went back to kindy about 2 months ago. Not seeing her friends was probably the hardest thing for her. She is a social little thing so her excitement about going back to kindy was the best. Her dogs became her sole companions for months and even though they are assholes sometimes, they got her through. She played with them every day and chatted to them about everything like one of her kindy buddies. Its been so cute watching them play and we are so lucky she had them through all this.
So you can imagine my worry about the slightest issue with her patch. She’s been through so much. Plus her Mummy and Daddy splitting up has been emotional for her. Minty is not a crier. She never really has been and even kindy have only seen her cry once and they all freaked out because she just doesn’t cry. But since all of this she is so sensitive. She cries very easily but the last month Ive noticed she isn’t getting upset at things easily again. She is just the happiest little human and its so lovely to see her bright little soul come through so much more.
I just need to breathe in….she got though the worst with smiles and laughs. She will be ok I know it.