Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good-Bye Nosebleeds (Hopefully)

Warning: Those who do not wish to read about my son's bodily fluids might wish to abstain from reading this post. 

Never had to put a warning on a post before but I thought it might be appropriate here since some people can get squeamish at the mere mention of blood or other bodily fluid. I'll try to keep it tasteful. However, there are only so many ways to describe this. That being said, here we go.

Since Sean was about 2 or 3 he has suffered from nosebleeds. We used to call them bloody noses but we were informed last year that "Miss Michelle says a nosebleed is one you just get and a bloody nose is one that is given to you." He had plenty of time to discuss it with her since it took over a half hour to stop that day, so nosebleeds they are. For those of you who think a nosebleed is no big deal, let me give you the scenario of what a bloody nose (before they were called nosebleeds) entailed in our house. When he was young it wasn't so bad because he didn't talk yet and therefore didn't place blame. He could, and did, screech and howl and shove our hands away when we tried to touch his face to help him. As he got older and started talking he began laying blame. I was not aware that I alone am the sole cause for nosebleeds on the face of the planet earth and it is completely and 100% my fault when they happen and that they don't stop instantly. I have been informed of this numerous times at high volume which probably did nothing to help said nosebleed as it most likely just upped his blood pressure (and didn't do mine much good, either). Luckily, most of this seemed to have been frustration and he got past that stage. Lately he has been taking care of them pretty much on his own but not without telling me first and wanting me there in the bathroom with him for moral support and as a clock-watcher to see how long it lasts. Well, except for the one time earlier this summer when he didn't alert me and I went in there after the fact and found what looked like a crime scene. There was blood EVERYWHERE.  We had a nice, friendly discussion about announcing nosebleeds so as not to cause Mom to have a heart attack. Any nosebleed longer than 5 minutes or so results in a crime scene in the bathroom but since the warning system is now in place my heart no longer stops when I see it. This is not something that happens only occasionally. They are at least 3 or more a week and sometimes 3 in one day. They can come anytime, anywhere, day or night. I have found him covered in blood in the bed. I have been awakened from a sound sleep at all hours of the night to the dreaded words, "Nosebleed, Mom. Hurry!" Extremely frustrating for all concerned because we knew it didn't have to be this way.

When he started having them we took him to his doctor who didn't seem to think there was anything to worry about. Just put vaseline in his nose and run a humidifier. He'll outgrow them. Okay. Sure. Nine years later we're wishing we owned stock in the Vaseline company. Have I mentioned that he didn't outgrow them and they got worse? Not a doctor's visit went by that we didn't mention these and ask if something could be done about them. We were told that nothing could be done unless/until he got one that wouldn't stop and then they would cauterize it. Visit after visit, year after year. Sean was getting so unhappy. This was really starting to affect his life. He would get them in school out of the blue and be embarrassed. Granted, he may have rubbed his nose but, c'mon, people rub their noses all the time and they don't start gushing blood all over the place. There is also another fun (not) aspect to this whole ordeal. Nosebleeds have a little-known side-effect. (Little-known unless you live with someone who has chronic gushers, that is.) Nosebleeds cause diarrhea. The stomach cannot digest blood and no matter what one does the blood gets into the stomach, particularly with the longer-than-15-minute ones. There are a few things that my son will not do and put his hand anywhere near diarrhea is one of them. So that means Mom not only is nosebleed assistant she is also diarrhea assistant on a regular basis.

Is everyone enjoying this post yet? Don't worry, it gets better. I promise.

Over the years he has done much requesting of us to GET THIS FIXED. He's even enlisted Hoof to help him. (Mr. Hoof, for the uninitiated, is a large stuffed pink pig who has been his companion since he was four. Mr. Hoof also is the owner of Hoof Studios and sometimes thinks he owns the world. *grin*) So Hoof has, on many occasions, told Nosebleeds to GO AWAY! He figured it worked (eventually) when he told Pneumonia to leave and never return so he tried it with the nosebleeds as well. Sadly, he was unsuccessful.

About a month ago Sean asked us if he could go to our doctor instead of to the doctor he's been seeing since birth. We couldn't switch him earlier for a number of reasons. However, at this time we were able to AND our doctor was accepting new patients. So we got an appointment for him two weeks ago. Sean was very happy because he was "going to a new doctor who isn't a new doctor because I already know him." First thing Sean asked about was the nosebleeds. Dr. Chris looked into his nose and said, "Yep, that vein is close to the surface. No wonder it's causing you problems. I'll get you a referral to the ENT across the hall." WHAT?!?! He doesn't have to wait until his nose won't stop bleeding?! We don't have to listen to the "he'll outgrow it" spiel? Wow! So after his appointment while I was taking care of stuff at the front desk he and John went across the hall and made the appointment for August 2.

The appointment went well once we got there. Sean had been up since 5:15 that morning because of--that's right, you guessed it--A NOSEBLEED. When the doctor came into the room the first thing he said to Sean was, "When was the last time you had a nosebleed?" "5:15 this morning, Sir." (Yes, my son says Sir.) Sean asked him about why he gets the nosebleeds and inquired if it was because of the heat. The doctor told him that Tucson is "the nosebleed capital of the world" because of the dust and dryness. He also asked us if we had spoken to a doctor about this before. We told him we had been for years and that he kept telling us that he would grow out of it. I loved the doctor's response. He's very dry and he just quietly said, "He would have been right eventually" with a tone that indicated any time between now and 100 years from now. Then he looked into Sean's nose with a special light affixed to his head sort of reminiscent of Jacques Cousteau. He turned to us and said, "Yes. He's got a spider-web in there and one vein is quite large. It needs to be fixed." He proceeded to stuff two cotton balls with anesthetic on them up Sean's left nostril and said he would be back in about 10 minutes. He returned and took a stick that looked like a matchstick with silver nitrate on the end of it and dabbed it over the area of the spiderweb and then stuffed two more cotton balls into his nose and said he would be back. Sean did really well through all of this. He only reached to grab the doc's arm once and John corrected him and he kept his hands down. I was glad because I was expecting to have to hold them. All the while with the cotton balls in his nose Sean is trying not to sneeze because it's burning a bit. He did fine until the doctor came back and then he sneezed. The doctor took the cotton balls out and showed us how it looked white over that area and said that a scab would form and it would be healed within a week but that there would be a bit of a scar there. All finished. Nosebleeds (hopefully) are history. Sean was extremely excited to share the news with Hoof and there was a celebration in the studio. It's been two days and he hasn't had one. He just has some itching in his nose because of the healing and he thinks he inhaled the scab. Other than that his nose is great. And guess what--no diarrhea this week either.

It's been a good week in our corner of the world. I hope it has been in yours as well and I promise my next blog post will not deal with bodily fluids.


Karen said... glad it is going so well on the nosebleed front. I had no idea that the situation had gotten quite that bad and also no idea about the fun side effects of nosebleeds. The bodily fluids didn't bother me...I get them at home (occasionally) and at work (a bit more frequently) so am not squeamish. School talk has started around here, although we have 3+ weeks to go. Last night at dinner we learned about lunches at the high school level. J's appt. with the pain management clinic went well...we will be doing some work on pain management, including biofeedback techniques, and stress management as well. Doc stressed the importance of regular sleep for migraine sufferers, which did NOT go over well, LOL!

Wilma said...

Glad to hear I didn't make you squeamish. LOL Hope all goes well with J's headaches. School starts here on the 15th. I'll let you have the joy of telling Sean that his new school hours are 8:55-3:45 when he's used to 8:22-2:32. I'm not looking forward to breaking that news.

Beth said...

I can relate, except it's my husband who got nosebleeds. Nosebleeds that would last for four hours before he would let me take him to the ER. He's on Coumadin, a blood thinner, which doesn't help matters. After the third multi-hour nosebleed in a month, they cauterized the nostril that was the problem. It's been more than a year since then and he hasn't had another nosebleed. We keep joking that the ER people miss us.

(In case you're wondering, I "know" you from the Killilea group where I'm a constant lurker and infrequent poster.)

Wilma said...

Glad to hear that your husband's nosebleeds are gone after the cauterization. That makes me hopeful. Also, thanks for telling me how you found this. I was curious. LOL Feel free to stop by anytime.

Mel R said...

I feel for him. I had chronic messy nosebleeds until I was about 9. B gets them too but they seem to have slowed down lately. I have no advice but hope he outgrows them soon or you find a solution.