Plague House

plague mask

These things are sent to try us …

The youngest’s teacher has given her a journal for writing down her thoughts each day. It’s to help with her spelling/reading/grammar/everything.

Yesterday’s entry included this tragi-comic line: “I had a goodish weekend because the good thing is I went to skolpcher by the sea and the bad thing is I got galloping impetigo.”

Oh no, she didn’t!

Oh yes, she did.

Poor little sprite.

(If you have spent a fortunate life blissfully unaware of impetigo, Better Health Channel says: Impetigo is a skin infection caused by the Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria. It is also known as school sores because it commonly affects school-aged children. Impetigo is more common during the warmer months. Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria can live harmlessly on and inside various areas of the body, such as the skin surface and nose. However, cuts and abrasions or eczema may allow the bacteria to cause infection to deeper skin tissues … Impetigo looks unsightly, but it isn’t dangerous and doesn’t cause any lasting damage to the skin. However, it is highly contagious.”)

I vaguely recall her mentioning something about lumps on her leg while we were touring Sculpture By The Sea. But she was so busy complaining about being hot/cold/tired/thirsty/hungry that it got lost in the white noise. By Monday she was showing Husband the lumps had spread to her arms too. Yesterday they reached her face and she burst into lusty tears at the idea of going to school with a disfigured face. So Husband took her to the doctor and got the heart-sinking diagnosis.

My gawd she’s crammed a remarkable lot of skin trauma into her eight short years on this earth.

In August last year I wrote a blog called “My poor little girl.” Back then her skin looked like this …


And my sad blog went like this …

How much can one little person’s skin take?

When she was two, the youngest developed the most bizarre, angry-looking rash. The doctor informed me there were actually two problems at play – eczema AND molluscum (the terribly infectious childhood plague NO-ONE talks about). The next two years of her life were ones of constant itching, interspersed with awful pain whenever a molluscum blister became infected.

And yet she’s always been the most cheery of my offspring. So relentlessly positive and upbeat.

Which is why it was so cruel when she became agoraphobic and eating disordered after a series of traumatic – for a four-year-old – events. A blue-bottle wrapped itself around her thigh, she choked on a piece of squid at a restaurant and a boy bit her so badly in the school playground that she carried a full set of his teeth marks on her arm for hours.

She lost the plot pretty badly after that. I’ve never felt so scared and powerless in my life.

But she fought back and three months later – after extensive and expensive treatment from a therapist – she was on the road to recovery. She went from being the most shy kid in her kindy class to the one who got an award for getting the whole class skipping. According to her teacher she actually has a vast chunk of year 2 skipping.

But her challenges weren’t over. A walnut allergy kicked in and she became one giant hive after eating a brownie. And the eczema continued to ravage her skin.

So I can’t quite believe she was cursed with chicken pox too. And not just any chicken pox – she’s the extremely rare case where, despite vaccination, she developed hundreds of pox all over her body.

She was a MESS. They were in her hair. They were in her mouth. They were in her armpits. They were on her palms, her lips, her eyelids.

Poor, poor little baby.

And now bloody impetigo. But she continues to put me to shame with her indomitable joy.

I love her to bits. But I declined one of her gorgeous never-let-you-go hugs last night. As Better Health Channel says impetigo is VERY contagious.

PS DO NOT Google “plague” while looking for images to illustrate blog posts. Very, very disturbing.

PPS The main image on the blog is of a “plague mask”. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some doctors wore beak-like masks filled with aromatic items, designed to protect them from putrid air, which was believed to be the cause of infection.

Song of the day: Neil Finn “She will have her way”


8 thoughts on “Plague House

  1. Aw..poor little poppet 😦 Have never had to deal with impetigo (touch wood!) …but one of my boys has had molluscum. They seemed to hang around forever. Hope this clears up a lot faster and she’s back in action in no time!

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s