January 18, 2011

Falls, Blood, Stitches--and Answers?

Yesterday was a very hard day.

I haven't blogged about this, but recently my daughter, A, has been falling. A lot. Flat on her face, right onto her forehead. In fact, she has had 4 falls all within the past 10 days or so.

The first fall was about a week and a half ago. We were outside playing with the neighbors, and she was walking on the sidewalk. All of a sudden she was flat on her face. While there was no blood, she had a HUGE black-and-blue goose egg in the midde of her forehead. I iced the knot down as best I could, and as she seemed ok, didn't think much else about it.

Four days later we were at the supermarket. I grabbed a shopping cart and turned to throw away the trash that was in the cart. In the 5 seconds I was turned, A managed to fall again---right on her forehead. There was a tiny bit of blood, just enough to put a band-aid on. My worry started to grow---why was she falling?

Four days after that, a huge accident happened. It was time to take D to karate. We went into the garage, and the kids got into my minivan (as they do all the time). My back was turned, as I was locking up the door from the garage into the house, when all of a sudden I heard a sickening thud. A had fallen from my minivan, facedown onto the concrete garage floor. I picked her up, and there was blood EVERYWHERE. I saw a huge, deep gash in her forehead, right where the goose egg had been. I left D with a neighbor (J was in Green Bay on business, so I was on my own) and spent 4 1/2 hours at Children's Hospital Emergency Room. A left that night with 6 stitches. They warned me to be extra careful with her---more falls could potentially cause brain damage (as any head injury could).

Well, yesterday, three days after getting stitches, A had yet ANOTHER accident. As it was a holiday, J had the day off, and we decided to go to a museum in Balboa Park. We were standing together trying to figure out what exhibit to go to next when BAM, A tripped over D's shoe and fell right onto her head on the marble floor. We were RIGHT THERE---there is no way we could have been any closer, yet she still fell. I picked her up, and saw that there was blood gushing from her her stitches. We ran to the car and took her back to Children's Hospital Emergency Room, where we spent the next four hours. Her previous 6 stitches had indeed ripped open, and she got 15 stitches time. They layered the stitches---3 on the bottom layer, 5 on the middle layer, and the rest on top.

Needless to say, J and I were thrown for a loop. Sure, A has balance issues. She always has and always will. She was born without semicircular canals, which are the part of the inner ear which help control balance. There are supposed to be 3 on each side, or 6 total. A has none. So balance has always been a problem for her. This is one of the main reasons why she didn't walk until she was 3 1/2....it's difficult for her.

But although she falls from time to time, it's never on her head. She often starts to fall, but catches herself. Or she'll fall on her tush. This is new for her--falling on her forehead, without even putting her arms out to catch herself. We've been racking our brains trying to figure out what's going on. We've even discussed getting her a helmet.

On the way home from the hospital last night, J came up with what we think is the reason: her new glasses!

Back in December, we had a wonderful visit with A's opthomololgist, where we discovered that A may not be legally blind in her left eye after all. In that same visit, her doctor said that A has a slight astigmatism. She told us that if she were a new patient, she wouldn't even suggest a prescription, but since A already wore glasses (non-prescription, just to protect her eyes) and we needed new glasses anyway that we should get them with a prescription for astigmatism. The timing was perfect, and I was excited to get a prescription that could help my daughter's eyesight.

She got her new glasses on January 5. Her first fall was January 6. And then, of course, she's had three subsequent falls.

Coincidence? I don't think so. She has NEVER in her life fallen on her forehead, and now she falls four times within 10 days, right after getting her glasses?

A cursory look online shows that astigmatism is linked to depth perception, which of course affects balance. I remember a few years ago when I got a prescription in my sunglasses--I normally have no prescription at all, and it took me quite some time to get used to them. I had a hard time walking...was scared to walk off curbs because I didn't know where my feet were and I felt distorted. Having had that personal experience, I know that having a new prescription can affect how depth perception. And A is just a little girl...she doesn't have the awareness or language to tell me that her depth perception is off.

So, starting today, she is back in her old non-prescription glasses. I hope that this ends the falls. We go back to her opthomologist next week for an eye exam to test her left eye, so I will discuss this with the doctor then.

In the meantime, I hope that our hypothesis is right. I am sick to my stomach about all A has gone through---all those painful falls, emergency room visits, and 21 stitches total. I am worried about the scarring she might have. And of course I am scared that the glasses AREN'T the reason she's falling and then we'll be back to square one.

But I'm 99% sure. And those glasses are gone for good.


  1. That just sucks.

    I hope you're right too.. I know about the depth perception stuff too.. my astigmatism is corrected with my glasses and NOT my contacts and the difference is huge.

  2. I'd bet it's the glasses! I have an astigmatism, and every time I get new glasses there is definitely an adjustment period of being extra careful. Things look turned and just not right. And I don't have to rely on just my vision for balance. I REALLY hope that solves the problem!

  3. Poor A! And poor Mama, that's a lot of stress and worry to carry around with you. I hope you get some answers pronto.

  4. I'm going with your 99% sureness. I think you're probably right on. Poor little girl. I know you're giving her tons of extra love and helping to heal those booboos!

  5. Oh my gosh...I'm sorry you both went through that!!
    I hope you're right about the new prescription. Sounds like a good hypothesis to me!

  6. Wow, I feel so bad for A!! Hopefully you figured out what is going on and she won't fall anymore. I always have a few days of asjusting to new glasses because of my astigmatism. Keep us posted!


I love to read your comments!