Friday, October 5, 2012

Bloody Tears Bring Fears

What would you do if your son woke you in the middle of the night crying tears of blood?  In my sleepy stupor, I heard him say, “Mama, my eyes burn.”  I was used to him waking me with a bloody nose, but I was not prepared for streams of blood running from his eyes down his cheeks and dripping onto my sheets. Within seconds my husband and I were up and fully awake.  In my panic, I didn’t know if I should call 911 or a priest.  It truly frightened me.  Our son, Anthony, had been having numerous nose bleeds and we were early into his diagnosis of Von Willebrand’s Disease.  We had not yet started factor infusions and were still green to the whole bleeding disorder community.  I was well versed in how to handle bloody noses, but what the heck do I do for bloody eyes?

Little Anthony and his big sister
I immediately called our doctor and was reassured there was no reason for great alarm.  He told me to treat it as a nose bleed. Pinch the nose, lean forward slightly, and close eyes tightly.  I guess it is not completely uncommon for blood to back-up into the tear ducts.  If you have ever cried hard, you know tears and snot start to run from your nose.  The reverse is true as well.  If you bleed profusely from the nose, the blood can run “upstream” to come out your tear ducts.  It makes for a very frightening scene, but not one for any more concern than a nose bleed. 
Brothers being goofy
Anthony has Type 2m Von Willebrand’s Disease and we now treat his bleeds with Factor VIII.  His nose bleeds are under control for the most part and we haven’t had an eye bleed for several years. However, we still keep our eye out (pardon the pun) for bleeding from his tear ducts.  Eye bleeds are not any more frightening than a nose bleed but anyone with a bleeding disorder must treat all bleeds with his/her prescribed protocol. 
Anthony, 2011
Now when he starts a new school year, I email his teachers to warn them that he is not possessed; he just needs to close his eyes tightly and have someone walk him to the nurse where he can get a dose of factor.  No exorcism, just factor.

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