My Journey with Eczema

It was the morning of April 1st 1977… I’d had very little sleep the night before my hands were so painful… when I woke that morning and saw the state my hands were in ~ I was frightened… I called out to my mum asking her to take a look at them ~ “Will they cut my hands off “?  I asked terrified “look at them, I think I have gangrene”!  “Don’t be silly” mum said “gangrenes black” ~ she smiled at me then added “but they have to be seen to straight away”…
The previous evening Mum and I had been to a club to watch a live band ~ the place was packed and very warm…I’d covered both hands in crape bandages ~ they were so unsightly…Midway through the evening my hands became too hot ~ and they began to itch…The sudden intensity of this itch feels like a million maggots wriggling under the skin ~ and I just wanted to scratch my hands to the bone!  In desperation to stop the itching I’d took my hairbrush from my bag and let rip onto my skin digging the brush in deep to stop the itch and kept going until both hands were bleeding ~ and still they itched… I ran cold water over them and they began to sting…By the time we got home my hands felt like they’d been dipped in hot chip pan fat!  So painful…But not itching!  I’d slept with my right hand hanging over the side of the studio couch that night because it was dripping a clear substance ~ that smelt like sweaty feet…
Mum and I set off early that Friday morning for St Marks Annex ~ this was where the skin specialists were based at the time… I’d laid my jacket over both hands so nobody could see them ~ they were pretty frightening to look at…
We arrived there at around 9.00 am and was met at the reception by a nurse ~ “can I see the specialist please I asked politely”… “Do you have an appointment” the nurse asked… “No” I said…
“Do you have a letter of referral”?  she asked ~ again I answered no… Afraid I’d be turned away I asked “will these do” and dropped my jacket… “Oh my goodness stay right here” she said and disappeared she reappeared after a couple of minutes and asked me to come through into the doctors room…
The waiting room was full of patients waiting to be seen ~ I felt terrible jumping ahead of them and yet grateful at the same time…
As soon as the doctor saw my hands he asked for swabs to be taken ~ then asked me a series  of questions about my treatment and care… I was shocked when he asked me “how quickly can you be ready to go into hospital”?   Because now I was scared…”Why do I have to go into hospital” I cried ~ “they’re not going to cut my hands off are they”?  “No no don’t worry… you need specialist care because your hands are infected”  By 11 am the same morning I was on ‘sage ward’ in Gulson Road Hospital about to undergo a weeks intensive treatment on both of my hands…
In the next bed to mine was a young girl ~ so pretty ~ she was covered in  polythene from her neck to her feet… She had psoriasis and was allergic to sunlight ~ I felt so sorry for her and realized at that point how lucky I was that the eczema was only on my hands…
I was diagnosed with acute combination eczema whilst in hospital ~ up until that point I’d been treated for non specific dermatitis…
It was a relief to know what I had but I’ve never been sure of what bought it out in the first place when I was just 16 years old… working with cardboard was initially blamed, then the changing hormones that occurs when you are pregnant…which I was…Life from now on in would become a daily challenge…

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s